Ragi Idli Recipe (Finger Millet Idli) / Ragi Dosa / Millet Idli / ராகி இட்லி

I am fascinated with millets recently due to its health benefits. Millets are one of the ignored super foods, probably due to its taste or texture or the preparation process. I have shortlisted this age old diet and have been experimenting with a lot of millets like Foxtail Millet (thinai/ தினை) , Barnyard millet (kuthiraivali/ குதிரைவாலி), Kodo millet (varagu/ வரகு) and Little Millet (saamai/ சாமை) for the last few months.

These millets are extensively cultivated and consumed by the rural folks because of its nutritional value and affordability.

In South India, Ragi Koozhu or Kanji were the prominent baby foods until the fake health drinks enter the market.

Having received great response for my Multi-Millet Dosa Recipe, I was asked by husband to try some varieties of Idli/ Dosa that are healthy, tasty and nutritious too.

Ragi Idli’s got my attention when I saw it on Skinny Recipes by Nisha Homey’s Instapage. Also, I do love the earthy color of ragi idlies. I did a bit of modification with the measurements to the original recipe.

What is Ragi?

Finger Millet (ragi/ ராகி) is quite rich in nutrients. This is now consumed world wide due to its health benefits across all age groups. They are Gluten Free, Rich in Calcium, Protein rich & Control Diabetes.

Since I made Ragi Idli from scratch, I thought of documenting each step with a lot of notes. A few pointers before I proceed to the recipe.

This Ragi Idli Recipe is not the instant version nor uses Ragi Flour. This is made with whole Ragi seeds alone and Rice is not been used. Ragi seeds are soaked, ground along with Urad Dal & fermented. You can use any millet available to prepare this healthy dish.

This is a multipurpose batter. You can use this batter to make Dosa too by adjusting the consistency with water. I usually make idlis for myself and then switch over to dosa for my husband.

These Ragi Idlis are fluffy, soft and spongy. Can be eaten for breakfast or dinner with a vegetable loaded Sambar or Chutney. You can also toss them with a tempering like Gun powder aka Molaga Podi/ Chutney Powder for an additional twist.

I was asked by few readers to post the fermentation tips too. I hope you’ll find this recipe useful, the next time you make Batter from any Millets.


  • 2 cups, Ragi
  • 1/2 cup, Urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 tbsp, Cooked Rice (If using Mixer Grinder)
  • Rock salt


  1. Rinse the Ragi, Urad Dal & Fenugreek seeds until the water turns clear. Soak everything together. Soaking time should be atleast 6-8 hours. Overnight soaking is also recommended if using a mixer grinder.

2. After soaking, drain the water & Grind everything with little water into a thick and fluffy batter. (If grinding in a mixie, add a tbsp of cooked rice and grind along).

3. Add salt & Mix with hands gently (clockwise and anti-clockwise) for atleast 5 minutes. This aids in fermentation.

4. Keep the batter aside for fermentation by covering with a plate. The fermentation time usually depends on the climate conditions.

5. Once the batter is fermented, mix lightly.

How to make Idli:

  1. Grease the idli plates with oil. Meanwhile, prepare the steamer by heating some water.
  2. Carefully pour the idli batter on to the plates and steam them for 15 minutes.
  3. Switch off & Allow it to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the Idli Plates and once they cool slightly, demould them with a wet spoon.
  5. Serve with Chutney or Sambar.

What if Idly Batter is too watery? Make Dosa!!!

  • If you accidentally add more water to the ragi mixture, you can make Uttapam, Paniyaram / Appe which serve as excellent after school snacks too.
  • If you still feel the batter is watery, add 1/2 cup of soaked and ground aval / poha / flattened rice to the batter.

Tips on Fermentation:

If you are in India, fermentation is generally not an issue. For people staying in colder countries, place the batter in

  • Instant pot (With the settings to ferment).
  • In an oven with light on.
  • In a clean pressure cooker with no water inside.

Additional Notes:

  • If your batter has still not fermented after 10 to 12 hours, add 1/4 tsp of Baking Soda or ENO (fruit salt) just before steaming.
  • Always pour little quantity of batter, allow it to naturally spread. Excess batter expand or rise while steaming turning idlis crack at top or harder.
  • Pour the batter only when the steamer is completely ready.
  • Do not open the steamer immediately. Allow it to rest for few minutes.
  • Mixing the ground batter gently with hands for 5 minutes, aids in good fermentation. Never skip this step.

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