Quinoa Idli

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High in protein and fiber Quinoa Idli. Pillow-y soft savory cakes made with a combination of quinoa and lentils, and no rice added. Serve these quinoa idli with some sambar and coconut chutney for a complete power packed, healthy meal. This recipe is gluten-free and vegan.

 

Quinoa Idli

 

WHAT IS IDLI

Idli or idly, is a type of savory rice cake, a popular dish from South Indian cuisine. Idli is made by steaming fermented batter made with rice and lentils. The fermentation process helps breakdown the starches, making it easy to digest. Pillow-y, soft idlis are served with some sambar and coconut chutney. Idli makes an excellent breakfast/brunch, lunch or even dinner for a complete well-balanced meal.

Idli, are served in Indian restaurants around the globe and are much loved by all ages. I grew up eating idli, my mom used to make it quite often. The batter consists of basic rice and lentils, soaked overnight. Next day rice and lentils were ground to a smooth consistency batter. Now, the batter was ready to be fermented. It took good 8-10 hours to ferment the batter. And finally, steam the idli. And there we had pillow-y, soft idli, which I could literally eat any time of the day.

QUINOA IDLI

There are several variations of idli. Traditionally, idli is made with fermented batter, made with rice and black gram lentil (urad dal). Rava idli is made by replacing rice with semolina (sooji).

Today, I am sharing Quinoa idli, made with combination of quinoa and lentils, and no rice added. This quinoa idli is light, healthy, fiber and protein-rich. Quinoa idli can be enjoyed simply with some coconut chutney or with some sambar and coconut chutney. Either way this quinoa idli tastes amazing!!

 

Quinoa Idli

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRADITIONAL IDLI AND QUINOA IDLI

The main difference between the traditional and the quinoa idli is of the batter. Idli is traditionally made with rice and urad dal. For quinoa idli, I replaced rice with 100% quinoa, and used combination of lentils.

Idli takes the color of the grains used to make the idli batter. White rice yields white idli and quinoa yields pale yellow color idli. Quinoa and traditional idli, both are equally soft and delicious.

Quinoa idli is high in fiber and protein and is much healthier option to the traditional idli.

WHY FERMENT IDLI BATTER

Idli are traditionally made using fermented batter. There are some recipes that do not require fermentation, where you can make instant idli. Instant idli batter does not require any fermentation. Leavening agents such as baking soda or fruit salt called Eno is used instead of fermenting the idli batter. I prefer to ferment the batter for good reasons.

Fermentation is a natural process. Fermenting helps breakdown of carbs by microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria. Fermented food has a distinct tart flavor.

Fermentation promotes good bacteria, known as probiotics. It helps improve digestive health and makes food easy to digest.

Fermenting the idli batter, improves its flavor and texture, makes it light and airy.

TYPES OF LENTILS USED FOR QUINOA IDLI

Quinoa idli is made with quinoa and combination of lentils – urad dal (split black lentils) and chana dal. Moong (whole or split, with or without husk), masoor dal (red lentils) or chana dal can be used. 

For this recipe, I have used 1 cup of quinoa, 1/2 cup of urad gota (black gram hulled) and 2 tablespoon of chana dal. Please feel free to use lentils of your choice. Make sure to include urad dal (whole or split, with or without husk).

I found this combination of quinoa and lentils add a nice flavor and texture to the idli. The idli comes out perfect, and pillow-y, soft every single time! Enjoy these healthy, quinoa idli with some sambar and coconut chutney.

INGREDIENTS FOR QUINOA IDLI

FOR IDLI BATTER

1 cup  white Quinoa 

1/2 cup Urad Gota (black gram hulled)

2 tablespoon Chana dal (split chickpeas)

10-12 Fenugreek seeds (methi dana)

ADD AT THE TIME OF MAKING IDLI

salt to taste

1-2 teaspoon of oil to grease

Pic Shown: Quinoa Idli served with some sambar and coconut chutney

 

quinoa idli

 

QUINOA IDLI BATTER

Making quinoa idli batter is similar to the traditional idli batter. Basic steps for preparing the idli batter remains the same. Soaking the lentils and quinoa for few hours, grind to a idli batter consistency, and fermentation process.

Here’s a step by step guide, for a fool proof idli batter, to help you make a perfect, pillow-y-soft idli. Enjoy!

PREP FOR IDLI BATTER

Soaking lentils and quinoa for few hours is required for a perfect idli batter consistency. Here are two ways you can soak the lentils.

CLASSIC SOAKING – Rinse the lentils thoroughly, discard any stones, or debris. Soak in double the amount of water for minimum of 4 hours. Soak one cup of lentils 2 cups of water, make sure there is enough water for the lentils to re-hydrate.  

Rinse the quinoa under water for few minutes. Rinsing the quinoa, removes it’s natural coating, known as saponin. It makes quinoa taste less bitter. After, the quinoa is rinsed thoroughly soak the quinoa in 2 cups of water for 4 hours.

QUICK SOAKING – I find this method very helpful. Here’s how I make idli batter: 

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat. Add lentil and cover the pot. Let it sit in hot water for two hours. After two hours, the lentils will be ready for idli batter.

Quinoa can be soaked for same amount of time as lentils, in simply plain water.

GRIND IDLI BATTER

Grind the idli batter, using water as needed, into a smooth consistency batter. First, grind lentils using just enough water to grind. Transfer the lentils batter into a bowl.

Now, add quinoa to the blender and using water as needed grind it into a smooth batter. Transfer the quinoa batter along with lentils batter.

Mix lentils and quinoa batter thoroughly.

The consistency of this batter is similar to a pancake batter.

 

quinoa idli

 

Pic Shown: Quinoa Idli

 

quinoa idli

 

FERMENT IDLI BATTER USING INSTANT POT

I have used Instant pot for fermenting the idli batter. Please refer to the post later, for traditional and oven method.

You can add batter directly to the inner pot or use pot-in-pot method.

Turn ON yogurt (less) setting, and set it to 8 hours. Cover the inner pot with a glass lid or any plate that fits on it and let it ferment.

TRADITIONAL METHOD FOR FERMENTING IDLI BATTER

In most homes in India, this is the method used for fermenting the idli batter. The batter is left on a counter top or in a nice warm place, away from any vent or direct sunlight.

If the weather is nice and warm, the batter ferments in no time. In summer, it only takes few hours for batter to ferment. In winters it may take up to a day.

OVEN METHOD FOR FERMENTING IDLI BATTER

I live in a cold place and with temperatures in single digits, I find this method quite helpful. Fermenting the batter in an oven is efficient and fail proof.

I warm the oven to the lowest temperature setting, and turn off the oven. Place the batter inside the oven to ferment.

Alternatively, if you have an oven light, you can leave the light on and batter ferments beautifully.

 

Quinoa Idli

 

HOW TO MAKE QUINOA IDLI

You will need an idli stand or mold to make the idli. 

Add salt to the batter and mix well.

To make idlis, grease the idli mold with some oil. I used Instant Pot to steam the idlis. To steam the idlis, any large pot or a regular steamer works just fine. Make sure that the container is big enough to fit the idli stand. 

Add 1.5 cups of water in the inner pot and select sauté (more). Cover the pot with a lid and allow the water to come to steam.

Fill the idli mold (cavity) with the batter, just up to the rim of the cavity. Do not overfill the cavity. 

 

quinoa idli

 

Carefully, open the lid and place the idli stand inside the inner pot. Place lid and cover the pot.

Note: I used a glass lid that fits, to cover the inner pot. You can use the Instant Pot lid, with pressure valve in venting position.

Cancel the sauté and select steam setting and set an EXTERNAL timer for 10 minutes.

Note: When the pressure value is in venting position, the Instant Pot timer does not work.

For any other steaming option (not Instant Pot), steam the idli for 10 minutes.

Press Cancel, once the timer goes off. Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Carefully open the lid and take out the idli stand. Remove plates from the idli stand and allow the idlis to cool down for 5 minutes. Run a spoon or a knife around each idli and remove it from the cavity.

Enjoy pillow-y soft, piping hot idlis with some sambar and coconut chutney.

 

quinoa idli

 

HOW TO STORE BATTER AND IDLI

Fermented Idli batter stays good for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Store it in an airtight container. You can freeze the batter for up to 2 months in freezer.

Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and use it to make idli.

Leftover cooked idlis can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Store it in an airtight container.

Idlis freeze beautifully for up to a month. Freeze it in a freezer safe container, defrost, and reheat.

To re-heat the idlis, simply place few idlis in a microwave safe bowl. Sprinkle some water and microwave for couple of minutes.

You can reheat the Idlis in an Instant Pot. Place the idlis in a oven safe or steel insert. Add a cup of water in the inner pot, add trivet. Place the bowl on to the trivet. Close the Instant Pot lid with pressure valve in venting position. Set external time for 5 minutes. Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release.

Pic Shown: Quinoa Idli served with some sambar and coconut chutney

 

quinoa idli

 

TIPS FOR PILLOW-Y SOFT QUINOA IDLI

It is important to soak the lentils well. Soak it for 4 hours or overnight. You can easily crush the lentils between the fingers. 

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Rinsing the quinoa helps remove it’s outer coating, thus making it taste less bitter.

Grind lentils and quinoa separately. Lentils must be grind to a smooth paste. Grind quinoa slightly coarse, this helps with a nice texture of idli.

You can use wet/dry stone grinder or a simple mixer grinder to grind the lentils.

If using mixer grinder, work in small batches. I prefer to grind the batter in batches. This helps maintain the texture of the batter. Use water as needed to grind the batter.

The consistency of the idli batter is similar to a pancake batter. It is not too thick or too thin.

Ferment the idli batter well. Fermentation process, produces gas molecules or air pockets. A well fermented idli batter has lots of air pockets and smells sour. This well fermented batter is the key to pillow-y-soft idli.

Use external timer for steaming idlis in an Instant Pot. Instant pot timer does not work in venting position. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT TYPE OF QUINOA TO USE

Quinoa comes in different color – white, red, black, tricolor. I have used white quinoa, as it is least bitter of all.

CAN I USE RICE

Yes, you can use white or brown rice along with other ingredients. 2 tablespoon of uncooked rice or 1/3 cup of cooked rice, is good for this recipe.

Poha (flattened rice) can be substituted for rice. Take 2-3 tablespoon of poha. Rinse and soak the poha for 10 minutes. Drain the poha and grind it along with quinoa. 

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE IDLI BATTER IS FERMENTED WELL

The fermentation process takes good 8-12 hours. Keep checking the batter in-between to make sure that the fermentation is going well.

A well fermented batter will almost double in size, will be thick, fluffy and will develop small bubbles or air pockets. It has a distinct tart flavor, batter starts to smell slightly sour.

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE BATTER HAS GONE BAD

Fermenting the batter longer, can result batter going bad. You will notice change in color of the batter, from pale yellow to light pinkish in color. It smells unpleasant and may develop some black spots (mold). Discard the batter, it is not safe to use.

HOW LONG DOES THE IDLI BATTER STAY FRESH

A good fermented idli batter lasts for up to 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

You can freeze the idli batter for up to a month. Store it in a freezer safe container. Defrost the batter in the refrigerator or on a counter top. And your idli batter is ready for some delicious homemade idli.

WHAT TYPE OF IDLI STAND TO USE

I used this stainless steel Idli stand from Amazon. Link below:

 

Pic Shown: Quinoa Idli

 

quinoa idli

 

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Love South Indian food? Try some more South Indian recipes from the blog.

Quinoa Mysore Masala Dosa

Red Chutney (Mysore Masala Dosa Chutney) 

Potato Stuffing (Masala Dosa)

Mixed Lentils Dosa (no-rice dosa)

Tiffin Sambar 

Coconut Chutney

Cranberry Sambar

Instant Rava Idli

Cranberry Coconut Chutney

How To Make Ghee

 

 

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5 from 2 votes

Quinoa Idli

High in protein and fiber Quinoa Idli. Pillow-y soft savory cakes made with a combination of quinoa and lentils, and no rice added.
Course Breakfast/Brunch
Cuisine South Indian
Keyword idli, idly, no-rice idli, quinoa, quinoa idli
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking / Fermenting Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes
Servings 16 idli
Author Jyoti Behrani

Ingredients

FOR IDLI BATTER

ADD AT THE TIME OF MAKING IDLI

  • salt to taste

Instructions

PREP FOR IDLI BATTER

  • Rinse the lentils thoroughly, discard any stones, or debris. Soak lentils and fenugreek seeds in 2 cups of water for 4 hours.
  • Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under water for few minutes. Soak the quinoa in 2 cups of water for 4 hours.

GRIND IDLI BATTER

  • Grind the idli batter, using water as needed, into a smooth consistency batter. First, grind lentils using just enough water to grind. Transfer the lentils batter into a bowl.
  • Now, add quinoa to the blender and using water as needed grind it into a slightly coarse batter. Transfer the quinoa batter along with lentils batter.
  • Mix lentils and quinoa batter thoroughly.
    Note: The consistency of this batter is similar to a pancake batter.

FERMENT IDLI BATTER USING INSTANT POT

  • You can add batter directly to the inner pot or use pot-in-pot method.
  • Turn ON yogurt (less) setting, and set it to 8 hours. Cover the inner pot with a glass lid or any plate that fits on it and let it ferment.

HOW TO MAKE QUINOA IDLI

  • You will need an idli stand or mold to make the idli.
  • Add salt to the batter and mix well.
  • To make idlis, grease the idli mold with some oil. I used Instant Pot to steam the idlis.
  • Add 1.5 cups of water in the inner pot and select sauté (more). Cover the pot with a lid and allow the water to come to steam.
  • Fill the idli mold (cavity) with the batter, just up to the rim of the cavity. Do not overfill the cavity.
  • Carefully, open the lid and place the idli stand inside the inner pot. Place lid and cover the pot.
    Note: I used a glass lid that fits, to cover the inner pot. You can use the Instant Pot lid, with pressure valve in venting position.
  • Cancel the sauté and select steam setting and set an EXTERNAL timer for 10 minutes.
    Note: When the pressure value is in venting position, the Instant Pot timer does not work.
  • Press Cancel, once the timer goes off. Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Carefully open the lid and take out the idli stand. Remove plates from the idli stand and allow the idlis to cool down for 5 minutes. Run a spoon or a knife around each idli and remove it from the cavity.
  • Enjoy pillow-y soft, piping hot idlis with some sambar and coconut chutney.

Notes

  1. I have used Instant pot for fermenting the idli batter. Please refer to the post earlier, for traditional and oven method.
  2. I used Instant Pot to steam the idlis. To steam the idlis, any large pot or a regular steamer works just fine. Make sure that the container is big enough to fit the idli stand.
  3. How To Store Batter And Idli
  4. Tips For Pillow-y Soft Quinoa Idli
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

 

quinoa idli

 

Jyoti Behrani

Hello!! Welcome to my blog, my journey Living Smart and Healthy! Cook with me easy and authentic Indian food and around the globe. Will be sharing tips and tricks on easy authentic cooking, without spending hours in the kitchen or comprising on authentic flavors. Keeping things simple and healthy is what I am all about. Life is simple, so lets keep cooking simple too!!

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. ami

    5 stars
    Hi, I tried your recipe today and it turned out so good. My hubby who does not like quinoa couldn’t tell the difference. He said these are so good that he could eat it everyday. Thanks again for such an amazing recipe 🙏

    1. Jyoti Behrani

      That’s wonderful! I am so glad you like my recipe 🙂

  2. Sara

    5 stars
    Love love love this recipe💕 Tried it and it was just WOW!! Huge hit with my family. Thanks for all the details and step by step pics, very helpful. I would definitely recommend your recipe! 👍🏼

    1. Jyoti Behrani

      I am so glad you liked my recipe 🙂 Thanks for sharing your feedback! 💕

  3. Vidula Kagal

    Hi, thanks for sharing. Can you please advise which grinder did you use to grind the batter to a fine consistency?

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