You can now easily make soft, fluffy idlis and thin, crispy dosas using homemade idli dosa batter, made in an instant pot!
You can steam idli right in the Instant Pot too. It’s so easy to do! I’m also sharing how to make crispy dosa with the batter.
Idli and dosa are often served for breakfast or brunch in south Indian homes, along with piping hot vegetable sambar. I myself am a north Indian married to a south Indian but have been eating idli and dosa since childhood.
Growing up, dosas were such a treat! My mom would occasionally make them at home, but it was mostly something we ate while out at an Indian restaurant. Now that I’m an adult, I can make idli and dosa as often as I’d like. My toddler loves eating them too, and it honestly makes me so happy when he “demands” dosa in the mornings (he’s 2, it’s cute for now, lol)! Thanks to the Instant Pot – this batter is so easy to make!
Why Should I Make Idli Dosa Batter in an Instant Pot?
Why should you use an Instant Pot to make this batter? Because it makes the fermentation process so easy! The instant pot makes fermenting this batter foolproof – even during colder months. With the IP, you no longer have to rely on an oven light to ferment the batter. With my recipe and proportions, you won’t have to worry about the batter overflowing either. I’ll also share how I make idlis in the instant pot – SO EASY.
What is Idli Dosa Batter?
You can store the batter in your fridge for about a week or in the freezer for about a month. Use the fresh batter to make idlis the first couple of days, then use the batter to make crispy dosas or savory “pancakes” the rest of the week.
Depending on which Indian mom/aunty/parent you ask, you may get different advice regarding ingredients to use or the “perfect ratio” of rice to lentils. I use a 3:1 ratio of rice to lentils – if you switch it up a bit, it’ll still turn out fine. Some people will also add a handful of something or other to the batter – like poha (flatted rice) or rava – I don’t do this, but you certainly can if you’d like!
One important note: be sure to use rice that is labeled “Idli rice” when making this recipe. Idli rice is short grain parboiled rice and can be easily found at any Indian grocery store or on amazon along with whole skinless urad dal.
You’ll also want to use a high powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec to blend the rice and dal well. I also suggest blending the two separately and then mixing them together (see my recipe below). This results in a nice and fluffy batter. Oh, and hold the salt! I always add salt at the end after fermentation because salt can sometimes affect the fermentation process. Just follow my simple steps written out below, and you’ll be good 🙂
Can I Double the Batter Recipe?
No. Here is why: all of my recipes are tested using my 6 quart Instant Pot, and I have never had an instance of my batter overflowing. I would not suggest doubling this recipe as there’s a chance the batter could overflow. So no, do not double this.
What is Idli? How to make Idli in an Instant Pot?
Idli (savory rice and lentil cakes) are typically served with sambar or chutney during breakfast or lunch.
While idli is typically eaten in savory applications, you can also top them with ghee and sugar (my husband’s favorite way to eat them).
My favorite way to eat them is dunked in hot sambar with cool coconut chutney on the side. I have a tasty coconut peanut chutney I’ve been meaning to share – hopefully soon!
What is Dosa? How do I make Dosa?
A dosa is similar to a crepe or a pancake and can vary in thickness. I prefer to make thin, crispy dosas using the recipe I’ve listed below.
You’ll see below that I like to add a few extra ingredients to the batter when I make dosa. I add some besan to make it a bit more crispy and a bit of sugar, which gives the dosa a bit more of a brown color.
You can stuff the dosas with spiced potatoes to make masala dosas! I made masala dosas for a girls’ lunch not too long ago, and it was really fun! I served the masala dosas with sambar, coconut chutney, and avial. I really hope to share my instant pot aloo masala recipe with you guys soon. It’s so close to being perfect! I tell you – there isn’t enough time in the day to recipe test, write these posts, AND do laundry. At least, that’s what I tell my family when they run out of socks to wear. 😉
You can also make Uttapam (a savory pancake) with this batter!
There is so much you can do with this dosa idli batter!
Sometimes spreading out the batter so that it’s thin enough to make dosas can be tricky. If you find yourself having trouble spreading out the batter to make thin dosas or feel like trying something new, then make something called uttapam! Uttapam is basically just a thicker dosa with toppings cooked into it (think: thick dosa pancake).
To make uttapam, follow my instructions for making dosa but instead of oil, sprinkle the flatbread with chopped onions, tomatoes, and green chilies before you flip it over to cook the other side!
Another idea: I’ve seen a lot of people in my facebook group (Instant Pot for Indian Food) make waffles with this batter. I have yet to try, but it’s on my to-try list!
I hope you enjoy making this batter and love all the tasty things you make with it once it’s done. Let me know what you make with it and how it turns out for you!
How to Make Idli & Dosa Batter:
- To prepare the batter, soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 5-6 hours. In a separate bowl, add the whole skinless black lentils (urad dal) and fenugreek seeds and soak in cold water for 5-6 hours. Drain the water.
- Put the drained rice in a blender and slowly pour in 1 cup of cold water while blending. Blend until the rice is mostly smooth. Pour this into the steel pot. Add the drained urad dal and methi seeds to the blender and slowly pour the in remaining 1 cup of cold water while blending. Blend until the dal is a fluffy, almost foam-like consistency. Pour this into the steel inner pot. Mix the blended rice and dal together.
- Press the yogurt button and set the time to 12 hours on normal mode. Secure the lid. You can close the valve or leave it open as it does not matter in this case.
- Once the time is up, you should see that the batter has doubled in size and looks light and airy. Gently fold the salt into the batter. Also add more water if needed – the consistency should be that of cake batter or thick waffle/pancake batter.
- Use the batter to make idlis the first couple days, then use the batter to make crispy dosas or savory “pancakes” the rest of the week. You can store the batter in the fridge for up to a week, or keep it in the freezer for up to a month.
How to Make Idli (Steamed Rice Cakes):
- To make idlis, spoon the fermented batter into a greased idli mold.
- Place 2 cups of water into the steel inner pot of the Instant Pot, then place the idli mold inside.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 1 minute at high pressure (the idlis will cook while the machine builds pressure).
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Serve with sambar.
How to Make Dosa:
- To make dosa, pour 1 cup of idli/dosa batter into a bowl along with 1 tablespoon of besan/chickpea flour and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix until well combined.
- Slowly add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the batter is slightly runny (you may need 3-4 tablespoons of water total).
- Heat a well-seasoned or non-stick crepe pan over high heat, then ladle the batter onto the pan and spread it around the pan slowly.
- The edges of the dosa will lift from the pan when the bottom side is done. Sprinkle a few drops of oil on top of the bread, then flip the dosa over to cook the other side for 30 seconds.
- Serve dosa with sambar.
- Soak the rice and lentils in the morning so you can prepare the batter in the evening and allow it to ferment overnight.
- You may need to adjust the consistency of the batter by adding a bit more water once it’s done fermenting. It should resemble cake batter or thick waffle or pancake batter.
- If you’re wondering where to buy an idli mold: you can typically find an idli mold at your local Indian grocery store – I suggest calling ahead to make sure they have them in stock. I also found this idli mold available on amazon – according to reviews it appears that it will fit a 6 quart.
- Sometimes I’ll add golden raisins and cashews right into the idli mold with the batter – this makes for sweeter idli with a bit more texture! My hubby enjoys eating these with ghee and sugar.