Rava Idli is an incredibly popular South Indian breakfast dish that can be served with either Sambar or Chutney for a satisfying and delicious meal. These Idli are made from semolina tempered with spices, mixed with yoghurt, and then steamed to reveal a scrumptiously light, fluffy and delicately spiced savoury ‘cake’.
Unlike the traditional fermented Idli made from Rice and Urad Dal, these Rava Idli are quick and simple to make. In-fact, you can have Rava Idli on your plate in less than 30 minutes! There is no overnight fermentation or grinding of batter needed. And despite the fact that they are so easy to make, Rava Idli have the most wonderful fluffy texture.
The story goes that Rava Idli were invented at MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Rooms) in Bengaluru, Karnataka during World War 2. There was a rice shortage in India at the time, thus regular Idli couldn’t be made. As a result the chefs decided to experiment and eventually produced Rava Idli which have been a huge success ever since!
Start your day off right with a hearty breakfast of Rava Idli and Sambar – you’ll thank me later!
How to make Rava Idli Vegan?
Traditionally Rava Idli recipes include yoghurt to make them lovely and light and soft. Unlike traditional Idli, Rava Idli aren’t fermented – so without yoghurt, they would also lack a little of that scrumptious sour flavour. Whereas traditional Idli are naturally Vegan (using only Rice and Lentils), Rava Idli is not.
Nonetheless, it’s quite easy to make Rava Idli Vegan! Simply recipe the dairy yoghurt used in the recipe with equal amounts of your favourite unsweetened Vegan Yoghurt. Instead of Cow or Buffalo ghee for the tempering, use either Coconut Oil (for the flavour), a Neutral Oil or even Vegan Ghee.
Are these Idli Gluten Free?
Unfortunately Rava Idli aren’t Gluten Free as the main ingredient, semolina, is made from wheat.
The best option if you are looking for a gluten free Idli is the traditional Idli which is made from a combination of Rice and Dal. You can also make Ragi Idli which is made from Finger Millet Flour. Both are healthy options but require soaking and fermentation time. Let me know down below if you would be interested in the recipes!
Can you make Idli without an Idli Steamer?
Yes, you can make Idli even if you don’t have an Idli steamer – don’t let that hold you back!
If you have a flat steamer pan insert, this is incredibly easy – simple add the steamer insert to your pan of choice, boil the water as usual and then grease small steel vati or other small bowls. Pour the Idli batter into the bowls and steam as usual. Do bare in mind that they may take slightly longer to steam as the Idli will be thicker than usual.
If you don’t have a steamer pan insert, then you can improvise by placing a heatproof bowl in your pot and then a plate on top. Scrunched up aluminium foil even works here rather than a bowl. You simply need to make space under your plate for the water to boil.
You can even buy microwaveable Idli steamers.
This Recipe Is …
- An authentic South Indian recipe
- Fluffy, soft and beautifully textured
- Full of flavour with spices, lentils and nuts
- Perfect to serve with chutneys or Sambar
- Easy to Veganise
If you’re looking for some more authentic Indian recipes to try, why not give some of these a go? The easy, healthy breakfast Sabudana Khichdi, Vegan Roasted Eggplant Baingan Bharta, Spinach and Iron packed Palak Paneer, Bharli Bhindi, or Maharashtrian Street Food Pav Bhaji.
How to Serve Rava Idli
Rava Idli can be served for breakfast or as a snack alongside any number of South Indian chutney recipes like Coconut Chutney, Groundnut Chutney, or Spicy Red Chutney.
Having said that, by far my favourite way to eat these Idli is with piping hot Vegetable Sambar. The hearty lentils cooked with spiced vegetables and the tang from tamarind combined with the soft and fluffy Idli makes for a healthy, hearty and delicious meal. Simply break the Idli into a few pieces, place into a bowl, pour hot Sambar on top, and devour!