Varagu Millet Idli & dosa, popular and healthy South-Indian breakfast dishes made with millets. A fool proof recipe that yields soft and fluffy idli and crispy dosa.
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What are Millets?
A group of cereals which are mostly tiny in size, round in shape. There are about 6,000 varieties of millet throughout the world in different colors too. Millets are gluten-free and rich in B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. The bran layers of millets are good sources of B-complex vitamins.
Varagu or Kodo millet is a millet variety. Since millets are small grains, they are called as Sirudhaniyam, in tamil,literally meaning small grains
Many people have to restrict their white rice intake due to many health factors. Millets are great alternate to rice. They are low in simple carbohydrates and higher in complex carbohydrates, making it a low-glycemic index (GI) food. The low Glycemic index, increase the satiety by decreasing hunger and slows the rate of digestion.
Millets are rich in dietary fiber, and supports good bacteria in your digestive system. You can read more about its health benefits here .
Millets for Breakfast
I love using millets in our regular diet. Its been almost 6-7 years since I started including them in my day to day dishes. As a South-Indian, Idly, dosa, upma are common dishes at home.
Varagu Upma is another delicious dish to make with millets. As the texture of millets and rava/sooji are almost similar, the texture and taste of the upma doesn’t change much. I personally love this overnight porridge made of leftover varagu arisi. It is the best summer coolant and a hearty savory breakfast smoothie.
Varagu Ven pongal, a must try breakfast recipe with millets. As pongal almost look like a mash, your people at home, will have no idea of the grain you have used to make it.
I make this varagu millet idli batter often at home, since both my kids are dosa masters, they love home-made dosa, so anytime you come, I will have atleast ½ cup of dosa batter in my fridge. The ratio of millets and dal in this recipe is same as that of rice and dal, 4:1.
After the Mallige Idly, i m adding a handful of cooked rice to my idly/dosa batter to get that extra softness and fluffiness like that of a jasmine flower.
This is an easy, no fuss recipe and I guarantee 100% that your idly will be super soft and fluffy and your dosa will be crispy. Do try and let me know how it came for you.
- Millet, I have used Varagu arisi/Kodo millet in this recipe. You can use any millet like barnyard millet/kuthiravali, ragi millet, foxtail millet/thinai etc in this recipe.
- Urad dal, I have used both whole urad dal and split urad dal for making idly/dosa. The yield is more while using whole urad dal, but i dont find any change in taste.
- Poha or Cooked rice, as mentioned above addition of poha or cooked rice, gives you soft idly. This is purely optional, but if you are trying millet batter for the first time, I highly recommend it. With practice you will learn to adjust the proportion, soaking time and fermenting time, then you can totally skip adding anything extra for the softness.
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How to make Millet Idli Batter
Please check recipe card below for exact measurements of each ingredient used and also for the detailed instructions
- In a wide bowl, take together varagu arisi/kodo millet and urad dal together. Wash it once or twice with water. Soak in water for 4-5 hours. I some times do it overnight and grind it first thing in the morning. I feel this quickens the fermentation also.
- If you are using poha, then soak it along, i have used cooked rice, which can be added while grinding.
- After 4-5 hours of soaking, drain the excess water and grind the batter in a grinder.
- Remove the ground batter to a clean vessel. Let this sit for 6-8 hours and ferment well.
- Once fermented, refrigerate the batter. Remove only the amount needed to make idly/dosa. Add salt and gingely oil to it and make idly or dosa.
Some Tips before you start
- Grinding grain and dal together for idly/dosa might have less yield than grinding them separately and mixing it towards the end. Some good days, I soak and grind separately and some lazy days I do it together.
- Batter needs to ferment a good 6-8 hours during summer and 8-10 hours during winter. Winter here is just 4 months of normal cold, during which I keep my batter inside warm oven with the lights on.
- If you live in cold countries, please preheat your oven to 150C, turn it off and leave the batter inside the oven, with the lights on.
- Always refrigerate the batter and don't add salt to the whole batch. I remove the necessary amount from the fridge and add salt to it.
- Bring the batter to room temperature before making your idly/dosa.
More Millet Recipes
Varagu Idli & Dosa | Millet Idli & Dosa Batter
- Wet grinder or any heavy blender to grind the batter
- Steamer with idly plates
- Tava for making dosa
- 2 cups varagu arisi /Kodo millet
- ½ cup urad dal skinned black gram dal
- handful of cooked rice or Aval/poha/rice flakes i have used cooked rice in the recipe
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- Gingely oil for making idly/dosa
- Wash and soak millet and dal together in water for 3-4 hours. If using poha/aval/rice flakes then soak it together. I used cooked rice which can be added while grinding the batter
- After the said time, drain the excess water and grind the millet & dal along with cooked rice into a batter in a grinder. You can also use mixie to grind but then grind it in batches and use ice cold water to avoid excess heating of the mixie.
- Remove the batter to a clean vessel. Make sure the vessel is large enough to hold the batter when it rises. Leave it in a warm place and let the batter ferment for about 8-10 hours.
To Make idly/dosa
- Before making idly/dosa, Remove the required batter to another vessel, refrigerate the remaining batter. Add salt and a teaspoon of gingerly oil to the batter, give it a quick stir and let it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes to come to room temperature
- Grease your idly moulds with little oil. Pour a ladle of batter into each mould. Steam cook for 10-12 minutes or until done.
- Once done, remove the idly from the plates, let it sit for 5 minutes in the plate. Remove it using a spoon and serve it hot with chutney of your choice. I always prefer podi with idly. Idly smothered with podi and ginger oil is heaven on my plate.
To make Dosa
- Ground batter will always be thick. To make dosa, remvoe the required quantity of batter to another vessel. Add salt and required amount water to get the batter to pourable consistency and mix well. I usually add 1 or 2 tablespoon of water to every ladle of batter.
- To make dosa, heat a tava, wipe it well with little gingely oil, pour a ladle of batter in the center of the tava, spread it in to a thin circle, dot the edges with gingely oil. Let it cook until the edges turn brown & crisp. Flip and cook the other side for 30 seconds.
- Remove the dosa onto a serving plate and serve it along any chutney. I served it with vallarai keerai chutney.
- I use wet grinder for grinding my idly/dosa batter, it gives light and fluffy batter.
- If using mixie for grinding, use ice water for grinding the rice and dal. This will reduce the over-heating of the mixie.
- Do not add more than required water for grinding rice and dal. The batter shouldn’t be runny. Idly batter must be thicker than dosa batter.
- Bring your batter to room temperature before making idly/dosa.
- Poha or Cooked rice, as mentioned above addition of poha or cooked rice, gives you soft idly. This is purely optional, but if you are trying millet batter for the first time, i highly recommend it. With practice you will learn to adjust the proportion, soaking time and fermenting time, then you can totally skip adding anything extra for the softness.
I m not a Doctor or a Nutritionist The Nutrition information provided above comes from the plugin and is only an estimate.
Enjoy this varagu millet idly/dosa for breakfast. lunch or dinner. Some dishes fit all the 3 categories and idly/dosa is amongst those dishes.