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  • Culinary Aromas

Little Millet Idli | Soft & Fluffy

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

We try to include millets in our diet as much as possible as millets are a nutritional powerhouse.

Little Millet is extremely healthy and nutritious. It is also known by other names: Sama, Saame, Saamai, or Kutki. Little millet idlis are very close to rice idlis. My younger son, like many young kids, never enjoys any type of idlis but rice ones. Oddly enough, when I gave him Little Millet Idlis and told him they were made completely of rice, he gobbled them down without noticing any difference and I had joy running through my mind.

Some of the benefits of Little millet include:

  • Boost of Immunity

  • Low to Medium Glycemic Index. Hence good for Diabetics.

  • Very high fiber and Iron content

  • A high number of antioxidants

  • Essential amino acids

  • A very close taste to white rice

I highly recommend watching the video to get a feel of the batter's consistency.


  • 3 cups unpolished Little millet

  • 1 cup whole Urad dal

  • 1 tsp methi/fenugreek seeds

  • ¼ cup poha

  • Water as needed

  • 2 tsp Salt (used after grinding the batter)

Video Instructions

Written Instructions

Making Batter

  • Add urad dal, methi, and poha to a bowl. And rinse well.

  • Add about 4 cups of water to it.

  • Add little millet to another bowl and rinse well. Add 2 cups of water to it.

  • Soak both for 6 - 8 hours.

  • Drain most of the water from urad dal, methi, poha, and transfer to a wet grinder or a mixer. Add ¼ cup water after 10 mins of grinding. Grind for 30 - 35 mins or blend to a smooth batter. Transfer to a deep bowl.

  • Drain most of the water from the little millet and transfer it to the grinder. Grind for 15 - 20 mins to a little coarse batter. Add ¼ cup water after 5 mins.

  • Add little millet batter to the urad dal batter, add salt, and mix really well with hands. Mixing with hands greatly helps with fermentation by making air pockets. The batter should fall like a ribbon. Please check the video for batter consistency.

  • Cover and leave in a warm place for fermentation for 8-12 hours. Fermentation time depends greatly on the weather.


  • Don't throw away the nutrient-rich water. It can be used for making rice, khichdi, or watering plants.

  • I usually leave the batter overnight in the oven with just the oven light on. It provides enough warmth for the fermentation process to work well even during winter.

  • I recommend watching the video for getting a feel for the batter consistency

Making Idli

  • A well-fermented batter is important to make soft idlis. In winters, the batter may take up to 12 hours to ferment.

  • Do not mix the batter as air pockets in the batter helps to make soft and fluffy idlis.

  • Grease the idli plate with a drop of ghee (optional)

  • Add one ladle batter to each idli plate.

  • Steam for 12 -14 minutes.

  • Wet the spoon to help remove the idlis easily.

  • Super soft little millet idli is ready.

  • Enjoy with hot sambhar and your favorite chutney.

Tips for soft and fluffy idlis:

  • Batter consistency is important for making soft and fluffy idlis. The batter should not be very thick or runny. Add just enough water to make the batter fall like a ribbon. [Please check the video]

  • If the batter is runny, it will result in flat idlis. If the batter is too thick, the idlis may be hard.

  • A well-fermented batter is important to make soft idlis. In winters, the batter may take up to 12 hours to ferment.

  • Mix the batter really well after grinding with hand to create air pockets and to avoid mixing after fermentation.

  • Do not mix the batter after fermentation as air pockets in the batter helps to make soft and fluffy idlis.

Fermentation tips:

I have never had problems with the fermentation of the batter, be it summers or winters. I always get a perfectly fermented batter. Here are a few tips I have learned from my mother, mother - in - law and overtime.

  • Methi helps with fermentation and also methi has great health benefits and is good for digestion. Hence, I always add methi to my idli/dosa batter. Just take care not to add too much to prevent the batter from tasting bitter.

  • Poha helps with fermentation. Hence, adding it in winter will help the batter ferment well. In summers, it may be skipped and still get the same soft and fluffy idli as long as batter ferments well.

  • Adding salt before fermentation always gives a better quality of batter than if salt is added later. Moreover, since I do not mix the batter for making idli, I always add salt before fermentation.

  • In winters, If you have an oven, you can place the batter in it with just the light on. This will give enough warmth for fermentation.


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