Rava Idli (Steamed Semolina Cake)

Rava Idli - Steamed Semolina Cake | Playful Cooking

One of the most common complaints my mom had about me was that I don’t take breakfast seriously. Truth is, I love breakfast food and it’s my favorite. I am just extremely lazy in the morning to get my creative juices flowing. And I was definitely not a morning person. My morning ritual involved tea and sometimes, a slice of bread would tag along. Reaching to office on time was more vital than stuffing my belly. The routine didn’t change even after marriage. Arvind was no better. My mom was not happy with this pattern of ours and she was determined to bring a change. After listening to her numerous long talks week after week, I finally pushed my lazy bones. We started with a bowl of cereal or oats. After few weeks, we added bread toast along with boiled eggs. It was surely an additional effort, but it soon got built into our system. It felt nice and Mom was proud too!


Rava Idli - Steamed Semolina Cake | Playful Cooking


Rava Idli - Steamed Semolina Cake | Playful Cooking


While proper breakfast became a regular thing, the menu didn’t change much for weekdays, until I found this Idli recipe in a small booklet. I didn’t grow up eating Idly everyday; hence to discover a recipe that could get ready in less than 15 minutes was a you-got-to-be-kidding moment for me!

For people who are not aware, Idli is a famous traditional South Indian breakfast. It’s steamed, savory cake served with condiments like coconut chutney and/or a lentil soup called sambar. The most common type of Idli is made with rice and lentil batter that needs to be fermented before you can start steaming the cakes. It’s not a lot of work but it definitely needs planning. The Idli that I am sharing with you today is called Rava Idli. It is prepared with semolina and it needs no planning at all. Fits perfectly in my busy life!

Unlike rice Idlis, these don’t rise  on steaming, but it’s still soft and pillowy.

Rava Idli - Steamed Semolina Cake | Playful Cooking


Rava Idli - Steamed Semolina Cake | Playful Cooking

Rava Idli (Steamed Semolina Cake)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes


  • 2 cups semolina
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • handful of fresh curry leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Brush Idly moulds with oil. Pour about 1-1/2 tablespoon of batter on each mould. Then, microwave it for 3.5 minutes to 4 minutes. If you were steaming it on a stovetop, it would take about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the Idly moulds.


  • You can make the batter in advance, even the night before and let it rest in the refrigerator.
  • Unlike rice Idly, these semolina Idlis will not rise. However, it will still be fluffy and soft.
  • Once steamed, remember to take out the Idly from the microwave. I had kept it inside for a longer time once and eventually, it got dry and hard.


Rava Idli - Steamed Semolina Cake | Playful Cooking

Did you enjoy this Rava Idli (Steamed Semolina Cake)? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Rosa
    November 17, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    A beautiful breakfast dish! I’d rather prepare such a wonderful dish for supper as I’m not a breakfast person… 😉



  • Joyti
    November 17, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    I’m still not a breakfast person.

    BUT this idli looks delicious – so perfectly fluffy – and I’m happy to see you blogging again.

  • Annie
    November 18, 2014 at 4:08 AM

    I’ve never made semolina cakes before but these look divine. Beautiful photography!

  • Erin
    November 18, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    Your pictures are divine. I made this this morning for breakfast. Very simple and easy. I made 1/8 of the recipe just for me and then placed a poached egg on top of one. So good! Thank you for continuing to write and post even with all the wonderful changes in your life!

  • Nandita
    November 19, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    Rava idli looks so perfect. It’s been ages since I made them myself. After looking at yours I am tempted to make them for breakfast:)

  • myriam | rhubarb!x3
    myriam | rhubarb!x3
    November 19, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    idli! i love idli. this recipe looks much simpler than rice idli, and just looks soft and warm and gorgeous.

  • JayanthiSindhiya
    November 19, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Rava idli looks so cute

  • Nishu Beswal
    Nishu Beswal
    November 21, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    It’s so good to see you blogging again! I came across your blog few months back, would check it everyday to see if you had posted a new recipe or not. Your work is exceptional. Totally in awe with your photography. Makes me really proud as an Indian to see blogs like yours,Cook Republic,Sinfully Spicy, A brown table, Kiran&Tarun.I am a budding blogger and I blog at http://www.fascinatingfoodworld.blogspot.in. Inspired from you. Keep up the great work!Your kid is adorable 🙂

  • indugetscooking
    November 23, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    I’ve grown up on idlis but this 15 minute rava version is new to me! Though I have eaten the idli at my office canteen, didn’t know it was so easy to make. Quite a helpful recipe especially since the son loves idlis.

    Love the pics as always, especially the second one.

  • anusia
    November 24, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    Very quick and simple recipe. Looks very tasty.

  • Sandhya Hariharan
    Sandhya Hariharan
    November 24, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    These idlies sure feels like a bunch of pillows. I am tempted to makle them too..

  • nipponnin
    November 25, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    It’s been a while but I’m so happy to visit your blog again. How’s everything? I bet your boy is walking and talking by now, right?

    What a nice presentation! I’m a big fan of your photographs. And this idlies are very neat looking.

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