Millet Idli Dosa is a south Indian millet based breakfast dish. This is a healthier alternative to the regular rice based Idli, Dosas since it uses millet. Not only is millet diabetic-friendly but it is also rich in other nutrients. In this post, I will share how to make millet based batter that can be used for both Idli and Dosa.
Grinding Barnyard Millet batter or any millet based batter is a challenge for many people. So, this post is an attempt to understand how to grind millet based batters. Our outcome should be fluffy idlis and crispy golden dosas.
In this post, I will walk you through how to grind batter for idli and dosa using a wet grinder. I have an Elgi Ultra wet grinder and here, I m going to show you how to use the wet grinder and make batter using millet.
What is Barnyard Millet?
I have used barnyard millet to grind my batter here today. Barnyard millet is also called as Kuthiravali in Tamil, Samwat ke chawal in Hindi, Oodalu in Kannada and Telugu. Barnyard millet is also the only millet that is permitted for consumption during fasting.
Now, you can use the same proportions mentioned in this recipe and make batter using little millet ( Samai) and Kodo millet ( Varagu) also.
This post also has a detailed video that will guide you on how to grind Millet batter for Idli and dosa. You can even call this 2 in 1 millet batter because this batter recipe will give you both fluffy idli and crisp dosa.
Check out our complete collection of side dishes for Idli and dosa here:
Our Collection of Side Dish For Idli Dosa
To begin with, let us understand why millet batter is different from our regular dosa batter.
Millet are a great substitute for rice. However, they are not as soft and moist as rice and so behave slightly differently when used as a substitute in rice based recipes. This is particularly true for idli and dosa batter.
Many beginners or people who have shifted to using millet more frequently because of its nutrient profile feel that millet Idli is not as soft as our rice Idli. This is mainly because of the quantity of water that we use in our batter.
Millet tends to absorb more water than rice. So its important to add enough water while grinding and also adjusting the water: batter ratio before making Idli to get soft and fluffy barnyard millet idli. When you add more water than necessary, your Idli will fall flat and not rise. Less water makes Idlis dense and hard.
Why do we add rice to Kuthiravali Idli Dosa?
We do this because parboiled Ponni rice (Ukda Chawal) or Puzhungal Arisi gives that softness to our idli and helps in improving our dosa texture.
Adding fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek is another important ingredient for making the perfect idli dosa batter. Apart from its dense nutrition profile, fenugreek seeds aka methi also improves the viscosity in the idli dosa batter and helps better fermentation because they help hold carbon dioxide which is essential for aerating the batter. This aeration process is what helps getting soft and fluffy idli. Fenugreek seeds also gives a beautiful golden color in dosa.
Why didn’t my idli batter rise?
This is a question that most of my instagram followers ask all the time. There are two reasons for this. The first one is the climatic conditions of the place where you live in. Idli dosa batter does not ferment well and rise in cold weather.
If you live in a place that is extremely cold, then wrap the container in which you put your batter with a blanket and leave it in the oven with the light on. Also, grind your batter and allow it to ferment during the day time when there is sunlight.
If you are living in a tropical place or a place where the weather is hot, then grind your batter and allow it to ferment during the night time when it will be cooler. This way, your batter will not become too sour while it ferments.
So depending upon the weather of your place , this s how you should be going about your Millet Idli dosa batter process:
Soak millet/ rice+ urad dal + methi for 6 to 8 hours during the night. ( Soak before bed time. Its ok if the soaking time is longer)
Grind the batter early in the morning ( around 6 am)
Ferment during the day. Wrap the container with a blanket, leave it in the oven with the light on.
Weather: Hot or warm
Soak millet/ rice+ urad dal + methi for 6 to 8 hours during the day. ( Soak around 1 pm in the afternoon)
Grind the batter late in the evening ( around 8 pm)
Ferment during the night to prevent over fermenting and souring.
Another reason why your idli batter does not rise is because of the quantity of salt added. Salt plays an important role in fermenting your batter. The rule of thumb is 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp salt ( assuming 1teaspoon equals 5 ml ) for every cup (standard measuring cup measuring 250ml) of rice and dal used.
So you did all this and still the batter did not rise. What can be done?
Even after making sure you did all these steps, if your batter did not rise, then please wait for 6 more hours. If the batter does not rise even after that and if your batter smells sour, then add 1 tsp baking soda, mix well and wait for 1 hr. If you do not see any action in your idli batter even after all this and your batter does not smell funny or does not have any green spots indicating fungus in it, then just make dosa with the same batter. Your idli will be hard if your batter has not fermented well. But your dosa will still turn out fine.
Why should you grind batter in a wet grinder? How to use a wet grinder to grind Millet idli dosa batter?
While you can always grind batter in a blender, it doesn’t give you soft Idli. The reason for hard Idli from batter made in the blender is because the batter gets heated up while grinding.
Method for grinding Idli batter in grinder
The first step in grinding our batter is to soak our Millet, rice and dal.
We are going to soak urad dal and methi together and Rice and barnyard millet together. First, combine methi and urad dal in a large bowl.
Similarly, combine the millet and rice in a large bowl.
The next step is to wash all this.
Washing the millet, rice and urad dal is very important in making good quality Idli and dosa. What happens when you don’t follow this correctly? Your idli batter will smell musty and the color of your idli and dosa will be dull if you don’t wash the rice,millet and dal thoroughly.
How to wash rice, millet and urad dal for Idli dosa batter?
Once you combine the urad dal and methi in a bowl, place it in a sink. Add enough water, rinse the dal thoroughly and drain the water. Repeat this step until the water you use for washing is clear and you can see the urad dal clearly through the water. Once the dal is cleaned, add about 4 to 5 cups of water to your urad dal and methi and let it soak for 6 hours.
The next step is to wash the rice and millet. Combine the rice and millet in a bowl. Add enough water, rinse the rice and millet thoroughly and drain the water.
Repeat this step until the water you use for washing is clear and you can see the urad dal clearly through the water. Once the millet and rice are cleaned, add about 10 cups of water to your rice and millet and let it soak for 6 hours.
You can collect all the water used for washing and soaking for your batter and use it to water your plants.
Once the urad dal, methi, rice and millet soak, they will be soft. Urad dal and methi will be slightly puffy. You will also notice that the rice and millet becomes whiter and brighter.
Now the next step is to grind the batter.
We ll first grind the urad dal and methi. To do this, first drain all the water used for soaking the dal and methi. Now, add the soaked urad and methi to the grinder along with 1/2 c water. Grind for 5 mins.
Stop, scrape down the sides, add 1/2 c more water for grind for another 6 to 7 mins. Again stop, scrape down the sides, add 1/2 c to 3/4 c water and continue to grind for 7 mins. By now, our urad dal batter will resemble butter in texture. This s the right consistency.
To check whether your urad dal has been ground to the correct consistency, take a small blob of the batter and drop it in a bowl of room temperature water. The batter will float without disintegrating. This s the right consistency.
The total grinding time for urad dal is approximately 20 to 25 mins. The total quantity of water used for grinding urad dal is about 2 cups. This again depends on the quality and age of your dal. It s important to stop the grinding now and then and scrape down the sides. This is because the methi wont grind evenly otherwise.
Once the urad dal has been ground, remove the ground batter and transfer it to a big bowl. Do not wash the grinder. We are going to use the same grinder to grind rice and millet too.
The next step is grinding the rice and millet.
Apart from millet and rice, we are also going to add 1 c of cooked rice to our millet idli dosa batter for getting soft fluffy idli. You can add any short grain rice. Cooked basmati rice will not work well in idli dosa batter. I have used 1 c of leftover and cooled cooked Sona masuri in this recipe. Use the same cup that you used to measure your millet and rice to measure your cooked rice.
Can cooked rice be substituted in Idli dosa batter? What can be used in place of cooked rice in idli dosa batter?
If you do not want to add cooked rice, then you can add 1 c of poha ( red/ white will work). If you are using Poha ( aval/avalakki/ atukalu) in your idli dosa batter, then wash the poha well just like how we washed rice before soaking. Soak the poha in 2 c water for 10 mins. Drain the water completely. Now add the poha to the rice and millet while grinding and proceed.
Grinding the rice and millet is very similar to grinding urad dal batter.
Drain the water used for soaking rice and millet completely. Add this to the grinder along with 1 c of cooked rice. Add 1/2 c to 3/4 c water and begin grinding. Grind for 5 mins. After 5 mins, stop and scrape down the sides. Add 1/2 c to 3/4 c water. Grind for 6 to 7 mins. Again, stop, add 3/4 c to 1 c water. Scrape down the sides. Continue to grind for 6 to 7 mins.
Stop, scrape down the sides, add 1/2 c water and continue to grind for 5 mins. At this stage, your batter will be slightly grainy and flowing consistency. This is the right stage. Your batter should not be very thick. It should be slightly runny and slightly grainy. Rub the batter between your fingers to check the consistency.
The total time for grinding our millet rice mixture is approximately 20 to 25 mins. This depends on the quality, age and soaking time of your millet and rice. The longer you soak your millet and rice, the shorter time it takes to grind the batter. The yield will also be higher when you soak for longer hours. The same applies for urad dal too. So do not minimise the soaking time for your idli batter especially if you are using millet in your batter.
Now the next step is to combine the urad dal batter and the rice millet batter.
Combine both the batters in a large bowl. The proportions used in this recipe yields 3 liters of batter approximately. So i have used a 6 liter capacity pot to store my batter.
Once both batters are combined, add enough salt to the batter.
How to mix your batter?
Whether you are grinding regular rice idli dosa batter or millet idli dosa batter, use your hands to mix urad dal batter and millet mixture. The good bacteria in your hands will help in better fermentation and the batter also will be evenly mixed. It s also easier to mix the batter using our hands. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before you do this.
Next step is fermenting the batter.
Cover your pot and leave it in a warm place for at least 6 hours. After 6 hours, the batter would have risen and fermented. Now, mix the batter well using a ladle. You can see that the batter is aerated and has many bubbles while mixing. This step is also very important. If you do not mix the batter well after fermenting, your batter will continue to over ferment and rise, resulting in the batter becoming too sour too soon. Also, your idli wont be soft.
Millet Idli Dosa Batter
- Wet grinder
- Mixing bowl
- 3 c Barnyard millet Little millet or kodo millet will work well too.
- 2 c Idli rice
- 1 c whole white urad dal
- 2 tsp Fenugreek seeds Methi/ Menthe
- 1 c cooked rice leftover cooked short grain rice is used and is recommended for best results
- 4 tsp salt
- 5 to 6 c water Approximate quantity
- Combine urad dal and methi in a large mixing bowl. Wash thoroughly. Add 4 to 5 c water and soak for 6 hours
- Similarly, combine rice and millet in a large bowl. Wash thoroughly. Add about 10 c water and soak for 6 hours
- Once soaked, drain the water from the urad dal and millet mixture thoroughly
- First, let s grind the urad dal and methi
- Now, add the soaked urad and methi to the grinder along with 1/2 c water. Grind for 5 mins. Stop, scrape down the sides, add 1/2 c more water for grind for another 6 to 7 mins. Again stop, scrape down the sides, add 1/2 c to 3/4 c water and continue to grind for 7 mins. By now, our urad dal batter will resemble butter in texture. This s the right consistency.
- Drain the water used for soaking rice and millet completely. Add this to the grinder along with 1 c of cooked rice. Add 1/2 c to 3/4 c water and begin grinding. Grind for 5 mins. After 5 mins, stop and scrape down the sides. Add 1/2 c to 3/4 c water. Grind for 6 to 7 mins. Again, stop, add 3/4 c to 1 c water. Scrape down the sides. Continue to grind for 6 to 7 mins. Stop, scrape down the sides, add 1/2 c water and continue to grind for 5 mins. At this stage, your batter will be slightly grainy and flowing consistency. This is the right stage.
- Combine both the batters in a large bowl. The proportions used in this recipe yields 3 liters of batter approximately. So i have used a 6 liter capacity pot to store my batter.
- Once both batters are combined, add enough salt to the batter.
- Use your hands to mix urad dal batter and millet mixture. The good bacteria in your hands will help in better fermentation and the batter also will be evenly mixed. It s also easier to mix the batter using our hands. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before you do this.
- Cover your pot and leave it in a warm place for at least 6 hours. After 6 hours, the batter would have risen and fermented.
- Now, mix the batter well using a ladle. You can see that the batter is aerated and has many bubbles while mixing.
Making Idli and dosa
- To make Idlis and dosas, follow the same steps as you would for making regular rice Idli and Dosas
For Instant Pot & Air Fryer Recipes
Instant Pot timings may vary based on your geographic location. Air fryer settings and timings may vary based on the capacity and the model of the Air fryer.
Nutrition values are provided here as a courtesy and are only a rough guide. Please consult a health care provider if you have any concerns.
Once you have mixed your millet idli dosa batter well, it is ready to be made into millet idli and dosa.
How to make Kuthiravali Idli?
Your batter will be thicker than when you ground it. This s because millet absorbs water. So, to make idlis, we have to adjust the consistency of the batter. Add 1/2 c water to 2 c batter. Mix well. When you pour the batter from a ladle, it should fall easilyand uniformly.
Now, fill water in your steamer and get the water to boil. While the water is getting ready, grease your idli plates.
Fill each groove with a ladle of batter. Place the filled idli plates in the steamer and steam them for 9 to 10 mins. After 10 mins, switch off flame. Let it sit for 4 to 5 mins before opening. You will get beautiful, soft and fluffy millet idli if this method is followed.
After 5 mins, remove from the steamer, dip a sharp spoon in cold water and scoop out the idli using this wet spoon. Serve hot with chutney or sambar.
Things to remember before steaming millet idli:
Always allow your water to heat up and begin boiling before placing your idli in the steamer. Never place your idli in a steamer filled with cold water.
Do not over cook your idli. Instead, cook them on medium flame for the prescribed time. Switch off flame. Let them sit for 4 to 5 mins. By doing this, the idli will continue to cook well and fluff up in the residual heat. When you over cook the idlis, millet idli tends to become harder and denser.
Why does my idli have cracks on the top?
This s very normal. Generally, cracks on the top of your steamed idli means that more water can be added or that it was cooked for a little longer than required. The idli will still be soft and fluffy if the correct procedure for grinding the batter is followed. Cracks on the top of idlis are not a matter of concern. They are still good to eat.
How to make Kuthiravali Dosa?
For making dosa, combine 1 c batter with 1/4 c water. Heat an iron tawa. Make sure the tawa is not smoking hot. Pour a ladle of batter and spread in concentric circles to a thin dosa. Reduce flame to medium. Drizzle oil or ghee around the edges. Cook till the underside is golden and there s no raw batter on the surface. Flip and drizzle some ghee or oil around the edges. Cook for 30 secs. Once done, fold and serve hot with chutney, sambar or kuruma.
How to get crispy golden dosa?
Make sure you cook dosa on medium flame.
Sprinkle water on the tawa after every dosa, wipe it clean and then make the next dosa.
For golden dosas just like the restaurants, use ghee in place of oil.