Crispy Fried Idli

crispy fried idli

Idli or idly are a type of savoury rice cake, originating from the Indian subcontinent, popular as breakfast foods throughout India and northern Sri Lanka. It's a traditional South Indian breakfast.

The cakes are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice. The fermentation process breaks down the starches so that they are more readily metabolised by the body.

Idli have several variations, including rava (semolina/suji) idli, which are made from semolina, poha idli, oats idli, ragi idli etc. I usually make crispy fried idli with rice idli.

Crispy fried idli is an easy to make snack which can be made from leftover idlis, but you can also make this dish from fresh idlis. It's crispy, crunchy and tastes so good and goes very well with Indian tea (chai).

One day we cooked idlis, but I wanted to have something different, so my husband made crispy fried idlis, we both liked it and I shared this recipe with my mother and sisters, they also loved it.

This dish can be served in breakfast or as evening snacks.

  Recipe Servings: 6
  Cooking time: 40 Minutes


To make Idlis

  • Parboiled Rice (ukda chawal) - 1 cup
  • Regular Rice - 1 cup
  • Urad Dal (Split Black Lentils) – 1/2 cup
  • Thick Poha - 1/4 cup
  • Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil - to apply on Idli moulds
  • Water - for soaking and grinding Rice
  • Water - for soaking and grinding Dal
  • Water - for steaming idlis

To make Crispy fried idli

  • Oil - 1.5 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chillies (finely chopped) - 2-3 or as per your taste
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/3 tsp
  • Salt - if required (as idlis already have salt)


  • Take Parboiled rice and regular rice in a bowl and rinse them a couple of times.

  • Rinse the poha and add it to the rice.

  • Add approximately 2 cups of water into it. Mix well and sock for 4-5 hours.

  • In another bowl add urad dal (Split Black Lentils) and fenugreek seeds and rinse them a couple of times.

  • Soak urad dal (Split Black Lentils) and fenugreek seeds in approximately 1 cup of water for 4-5 hours.

To make Idli Batter:

  • Drain the soaked urad dal (Split Black Lentils) and fenugreek seeds and reserve the water.

  • Grind it in a mixer or a blender with 1/4th cup of reserved water for few seconds. Then add the  remaining 1/4th cup of water and grind it till you get a smooth and fluffy batter.

  • Keep the urad dal (Split Black Lentils) in a separate bowl and keep aside.

  • Add the already soaked rice in a mixer or a blender and blend it to a slightly coarse paste. Use water as per the requirement.

  • Mix both the batters together in a large bowl. Add salt into it as per your taste and mix well.

  • Cover the batter with a lid and keep aside to ferment in a warm place for 8-9 hours or more if required.

  • Once the fermentation process is over, the idli batter will become double in its quantity and rise. Mix the batter well once again.

Steaming Idlis:

  • Grease the idli moulds with oil.

  • Pour spoonfuls of the batter into each of the greased idli moulds.

  • Take a pressure cooker and remove the vent weight (whistle). Fill it with a cup of water.

  • Place the idli trays in the pressure cooker and cover it with the lid and cook. Steam the idlis for about 12 minutes. Remove the idli trays from the pot, let it cool down for a couple of minutes.

  • Repeat the process with the remaining batter.

To make Crispy Fried Idli:

  • Cut each idli into 4 pieces and keep it aside for later use.

  • Heat oil in a pan or a kadai on a medium heat. Normally I prefer a non-stick kadai or non-stick pan. As it requires less oil and food did not stick to the bottom.

  • Once the oil gets hot, add mustard seeds and let them crackle.

  • Once they start to crackle, add finely chopped green chillies into it and sauté them for 1-2 minutes. Stir occasionally.

  • Then add turmeric powder and salt (if required - as idlis already have salt) to taste. Mix it well.

  • Now add the idli pieces into it and turn the flame to medium low and cook till they gets slightly golden brown and little crispy and crunchy. Stir in between so that they won't burn.

  • Hot crispy fried idli is ready. Serve it with hot with Indian tea (chai).