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How to make Soft Idly/ Spongy Dosa batter at home / Homemade batter for Crispy Dosa & Soft Idli

Idli/ Dosa are a common breakfast dish and street food in South India. It is rich in carbohydrates, and contains no sugar or saturated fats. As it is made of rice and lentils it is gluten free and contains protein. The fermentation process increases vitamin B and C. 

Making a soft idli, soft dosa or crispy dosa is a challenging task for beginners. So this post will definitely help beginners to make crispy dosa/ soft and fluffy idli.


Method 1:(Makes Soft Idli and Super Soft Spongy Dosa)

Rice - 3.5 cups
Urad dal - 1.25 cups
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tblspn
Salt - to taste

Method 2:(Makes Crispy Dosa)

Rice - 4 cups
Parboiled Rice -1 cup
Urad dal/ Uzhundhu   - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds/ Vendhayam - 2 tsp
Poha/ Rice flakes – fistful (optional)
Water - as required
Salt to taste  

1.Soak rice and urad dal separately for 3 to 4 hours. Add fenugreek seeds to the urad dal while soaking.

For Method 1:

2. Drain water from urad dal. First grind the fenugreek and urad dal to smooth consistency. Add water as necessary.

For Method 2:

2.Drain water from urad dal. First grind the fenugreek and rice flakes to mushy consistency. Add water if necessary.

After grinding the rice flakes and fenugreek, add urad dal. Sprinkle some water to get a smooth and frothy paste. To  check the batter for desired consistency, add a drop of batter to a bowl of water. It should retain consistency and float on the water. 

3.Remove the ground batter into a wide and large vessel. Then grind rice into a fine paste by adding water. It is always better to stand near and check for water. Make sure the grinder doesn’t get stuck due to lack of water.

After grinding, mix together salt, urad dal and rice paste. Add some more water if needed.

Allow to ferment overnight and use it next day. Now the batter is ready to use for idly or dosa preparation.

  • To keep the dosa or the idli batter from getting sour, do not add too much salt to the batter. This way it can be stored for 3 more days without getting sour. 
  • For fermenting batter in cold places, preheat oven for 5 minutes and place the batter inside. And double check that your oven is switched off.
  • Cold batter will yield hard idlies and rubbery dosa. So make sure to bring the batter to room temperature before using it.
  • Fermenting batter in stainless steel or glass bowl is much appreciated. Avoid plastic bowls.
  • Idli will be hard either because of cold batter or less urad dal.
  • To get crispy dosas, add rice flakes (poha) to the soaked urad dal.
  • Add fenugreek for soft idlies.
  • The texture of the batter depends purely on the quality of urad dhal. Also the volume varies each time when bought from a different store.

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