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Craving for an Indian breakfast – Sooji Idli (Steamed Semolina dumplings) -

The past 2 weeks have been crazy for me. Deadlines at work and preparing for a management course has kept my days busy, and my mind occupied. Having crossed a point where I can apply myself diligently to study, I found it really hard to remember high-level management jargons and repeat them verbatim. While I understood the concepts and how to implement them, remembering the answers to the tricky questions became a bit of a mental stretch.


Especially because I was away from my home, my kitchen and my bed in moody Melbourne. It did not help that from sunny Sydney I was in freezing Melbourne where it did not stop pelting crisp sheets of Ice on your ill prepared back as you ran to the university without an umbrella to shelter you from its onslaught.While I am happy to travel and can eat about anything, the pressure of the exam and the crazy cold weather in Melbourne made me crave for Indian food. Because I have an intolerance to Eggs and Avocados, my breakfast choices when eating out in Australia becomes strictly restricted to Baked Beans, Bacon or Mushrooms on toast. Mind you I am not complaining; I love eating a good American breakfast. But having it every day for breakfast can make it lose its charm very well.


I craved and obsessed about a piping hot Indian breakfast to start my day. Something that did not include Beans or Meat or Mushrooms. So the does what a girl has to do, I daydreamed all the way on my journey home and gave my impending weekend breakfast some serious thought before zeroing on Rava Idlis (steamed Semolina dumplings).



Unlike Rice Idlis that need to be fermented, Rava idlis can be prepared under an hour without any fuss.  These fluffy idlis are loaded with Cashewnuts that give them a very distinctive bite and flavor and taste great with a spicy chutney and chai. The recipe I use is from Amit Dassana’s blog Vegrecipesofinida. Her blog is a treasure trove of wonderful vegetarian recipes, and this Idli recipe works for me all the time. Please visit her amazing blog for detailed step by step recipes with pictures or see the recipe below. The only small addition I make to this recipe is adding Carrots to give the idlis a little healthy twist.


A euphoric breakfast to come home to. Don’t you agree?


Recipe from Vegrecipesofindia– Cooking time 45 minutes including prepping the batter. Serves 4


Ingredients – For the Batter

1 cup Semolina (You can also use the special Idli Rava that you get in Indian stores)

½ cup Yogurt

½ cup Water

1 – 2 green chilies finely chopped

½ cup freshly grated Carrots (you can also use Zucchini)

1 tsp freshly chopped Ginger (Do not use bottle ginger)

Pinch of Baking Soda

Salt as per taste

1 Tbsp. Vegetable oil or Ghee

Freshly chopped coriander, just a handful


Ingredients for the tempering

2 tsp vegetable Oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds

2 tsp Chana dal

Pinch of Asafoetida

8/10 Curry Leaves


Prepare the Batter:

Heat 2 tsp Vegetable oil or ghee in a pan and add the Semolina, roast gently on a low flame till the Semolina changes color. Remove the Semolina from the pan and let it cool.

Heat the remaining oil and fry the cashew nuts till they have evenly browned. Keep them aside to let them cool.


Prepare the Tempering:

Heat 2 tsp oil in the same bowl and add the Mustard seeds, Asafoetida and Chana Dal and cook for a few seconds till the dal has browned. Add the curry leaves and turn off the gas.


Preparing the Idli:

Place the chopped Ginger, Green Chilies, Carrots, Baking Soda, Salt, Coriander, Cashewnuts and Semolina in a bowl.

Add the yogurt to this mixture and stir to make a smooth batter. Add the water to ensure that the batter is not too thick or thin.

Keep the mixture aside for at least 30 minutes. You may need to add some more water as the Semolina soaks up the water making it thick and stodgy.

Grease the idli molds with a little oil, so you can quickly remove the idlis. Add water in the idli steamer and heat it.

Add Baking Soda to the Idli mixture and using a ladle put the mixture in individual molds. Make sure that you do not put too much batter as when cooked the Idlis will increase in size.

Steam the Idlis for 12 – 15 minutes.

Use a toothpick to check that the Idlis are done. If the toothpick comes out clean, the idlis are ready. Remove the mold from the steamer and let them cool a little before unmoulding them. If you try and unmould them immediately, they will break.

Serve with your favorite chutney.