Masala Vegan

Plant based recipes inspired by spices and green living!

Breakfast Vegan Recipes

Idli (Vegan, Gluten free Steamed Rice Dumplings)

Photo of Idli (Vegan, Gluten free Steamed Rice Dumplings)

Idli (Vegan, Gluten free Steamed Rice Dumplings)

My earliest memories of eating Idlis are as a toddler (if not younger) sitting on my mother’s kitchen bench top and nibbling on hot steamed idlis, as soon as they were taken out of their moulds. As a child I did not care very much for the traditional accompaniments of Chutney or Sambar (Daal) with Idlis. Now I find my little one doing exactly the same thing…. History repeats itself?!

To make these morsels of steamed goodness we need,

  • Rice – 3 cups
  • Black husked gram lentils (White Urad Dal) – 1 cup
  • Water to soak the rice and lentils separately, and approximately 1 cup for grinding the batter
  • Salt, scant half a teaspoon
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 teaspoon

Next steps are as follows,

  1. Soak the rice for 6 – 8 hours.
  2. Soak the lentils separately with the fenugreek seeds for 6 – 8 hours too.
  3. Grinding the rice and lentils separately for the batter is an important step and this is what my grinder looks like,


Any good quality strong blender will do, as long as the rice and lentils are ground separately with minimal quantities of water.

Mix the ground rice and lentil – fenugreek batter in a large mixing bowl. Add salt to taste (I tend to put in very little as, this inhibits fermentation of the batter), particularly in cooler temperatures.

Place the batter in a warm corner for at least 8 hours for a nicely risen, fluffy batter. During winter I often put the mixing bowl with batter into my oven with only the light on!

Steam spoonfuls of the risen batter in either well greased Idli moulds or small bowls in a large steamer vessel. Mine is quite old and looks like this,


Eat at least one piping hot and plain Idli to savour the fluffy, spongy goodness! The rest of the idli can be dunked into Sambar/ Dal or, Chutney.






I am an enthusiastic plant based home cook and baker who delights in sharing my creations on unsuspecting non vegans, when they least expect it! When not recipe developing, testing or making, I'm found organising and/ or writing, the two other passions of my life ❤️