Kushboo Idli (Spongy Idli)

June 11, 2020
Idli or idly are a type of savoury rice cake, originating from the Indian subcontinent, popular as breakfast foods in Southern India and among Tamils & Muslims in Sri Lanka. Some South Indian restaurants serve  "Kushboo Idli" due to it's spongy, fluffy and soft texture. "Kushboo" is a name of a famous Tamil actress in India. (Whoever named these idlis "Kushboo Idli" is a clever person as it does justice to those idlis. ) These idlis are originally called "Malligai Idli" which means "flower idli" in English.  Read the post fully if you are making Idlis for the first time. 

(Makes 24 idlis)


1/2 cup Uradh dhal
1/4 cup Rice flakes/Poha
1/4 cup sago (saw)
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cup Roasted rice flour
2 -3 1/4 cups water ( approximately)
1 tsp salt


  1. Wash Uradh dhal, well until the water becomes clear.
  2. Put the washed Uradh dhal, washed Sago (saw), rice flakes (Poha) and Fenugreek seeds in a bowl. 
  3. Now add 2 cups of water and let it soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. 
  4. Put the soaked Uradh dhal mixture and instant yeast and the soaked water in to a wet grinder and grind it into a fine paste and fluffed up. (there shouldn't be any grains in the paste. It should be very smooth) Add more water 1 tbsp at a time if needed. 
  5. Now pour the batter in to a large bowl and add the roasted rice flour and mix well. 
  6. Using a hand whisker, whisk the batter by adding salt and little water at a time. (around 1/4 cup at a time). This whisking is done to incorporate air bubble in to the batter. 
  7. The idli batter should have a nice flowing consistency. The batter should fall easily from your spoon but it should not be runny. ( check my video below for the exact consistency)
  8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or any lid.(if using a lid keep something heavy on top as the batter will overflow once fermented.)
  9. Let it ferment in a warm place for 8-12 hours. ( cool climate will take longer to ferment.)
  10. When it is fermented well, the batter should have increased in volume and you can see air bubble when you scoop the batter. 
  11. Gently and carefully mix batter. 
  12. Brush some oil in idli moulds and scoop batter to idli moulds. (Don't put too much batter. Fill only 2/3 rd of the mould)
  13. Now steam idlis in a steamer on high heat for 12-15 minutes. (Steaming time may differ on the type of steamer and idli size. Do not overcook as the idlis will be hard and dry, so keep an eye after 10 minutes.)
  14. Once the idlis are fluffy and cooked, take out of the steamer, keep it undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  15. Now remove the idlis using a spoon and serve hot with Vegetable Sambar, Tomato and onion chutney and Green chutney. Enjoy!

  • Always use a wet grinder to grind the Uradh dhal. Blender will not give a fine paste. 
  • The batter should not be too runny or too thick. 
  • If the batter is not fermented well, wait for more time to ferment. Otherwise the idlis will be hard if it is not fermented well. 
  • To remove idlis out of the mould quickly, hold the back of idli mould to running cold water (tap) quickly, so it cools down quickly. (This makes it easier to remove idlis.)

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