Rava Idli ~ Steamed Semolina Cakes

Since the past few days I've been trying out new recipes for breakfast. Since we love to kick start our metabolism with something South Indian I usually stick to my usual recipes. However, on our recent trip to Oman my friend shared her recipe for rava idlis which she quickly made in the microwave. They were just so delicious! The term 'rava' is synonymous with semolina which is also known as cream of wheat or a fine texture of broken wheat. However rava is actually the term given to the texture of the grain (that is powdered to a coarse texture) and down South India, broken rice (also known as idli rava/rice rava) along with ground black gram (urad dal) is used in the preparation of rava idlis. This process is slightly longer as the black gram has to be soaked for at least 2-3 hours before being ground to paste and added to the rava which is then kept aside for fermentation.

Preparing idli batter using semolina, yogurt as the souring agent and soda bi carb (baking soda/meetha soda) or fruit salt (Eno) as a raising agent is a perfect way to eliminate the lengthy process and make healthy breakfast in a jiffy. This works perfectly well for those who are not looking for a gluten free option for breakfast (as semolina contains gluten unlike rice rava). It also works well for those who want to enjoy a nutritious and filling breakfast despite the mad morning rush as putting this whole thing together takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Since we are trying to eat healthy by cutting out excess oil as far as possible, I refrained from adding a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and chillies to the batter. I stuck to the original recipe that called for chopped curry leaves and a little grated coconut as an addition, steamed it for a few minutes and voila! delicious idlis were ready! They taste so yummy that you can eat them plain, and trust me, the rava does full justice to the name - cream of wheat. The taste is creamy, the texture fluffy and melt in the mouth. 

I served the idlis with Mangalorean hotel style sambhar. You can serve it with coconut or mint chutney too!

Thank you so much Roshni for the lovely recipe!

Love idlis? Scroll down to the bottom of this post to 

Rava Idli ~ Steamed Semolina Cakes
Prep time: 15 mins | Steaming time: 12-15 minutes | Yield: 12 medium sized idlies

1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk the mixture till smooth and without lumps. Keep aside for 10-15 minutes. Do not skip this step as it helps the semolina soak up the liquid.
2. Grease 12 idli moulds with a little oil. Divide the batter equally between the moulds.
3. Bring sufficient water to a rolling boil in an idli steamer. Place the idli stand inside, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes. * see notes
4. Be very careful while opening the idli steamer so as to avoid the steam droplets from making the idlies soggy. Remove the idli stand and let it cool. The slight moisture on top of the idlies will dry up.
5. When the idlies have cooled slightly, use a spoon or a knife to loosen them from the moulds.
6. Serve hot with sambhar or chutney of your choice.

1. You can quicken the process of making these idlies if you use pre roasted semolina. If you don't have it you can use regular semolina and roast it on a hot tawa for 2-3 minutes. Take care to see that it doesn't get burnt. In the UAE I buy Double Horse or Nirapara brand of pre roasted semolina from Lulu supermarket.
2. If you have an electric idli maker or a microwave please follow the instructions on the machine and cook the idlies as per the specified time. 

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