Jul 18, 2013

Weekend Herb Blogging : Instant Oats & Spinach idli

I might not be really South Indian in my dinner preferences (if you ignore the constant craving for coconut oil), but when it comes to breakfast, idli is an ever-favourite.

Instant Oats & Spinach Idli

I remember how I craved and dreamt about idlis during my stay in Hong Kong and heaved a sigh of relief once I spotted a Udupi hotel (and chitchatted with a waiter in Tulu and beamed with happiness talking about it with Dad, but that’s another long story) , which then became our weekend breakfast spot for as long as we were there! And only after spotting Idlis and Sonamasuri rice did I extend my trip to a month … such is the love for idlis!

This is a brilliant recipe I found online and saved in my Must-Try Onenote page long time ago, which I tried just now. I made one minor modifications to this – I did not use baking soda , coz in my opinion, sour curd is a good enough fermenting agent. And since I’ve had success using sour curd to make Rawa idlis, I was pretty sure this would work without soda also.

Instant oats & spinach idli

If you do not have an idli cooker, then you MUST get one. Idlis are one of the healthiest and tastiest Indian breakfast dishes , not to forget the easiest. If you do not want the mess of the traditional idli cooker, a microwaveable one will work just fine. You should just keep an eye on the time it takes for your MW to cook them. Over-cooking will harden the idlis and they aren’t half as fun. Mine takes 4.30 min to cook 8 idlis, that’s what our regular breakfast serving is. If am cooking for a large crowd, I use the traditional idli cooker which will make 16 idlis in 10 min.

 Idli batter & cooker

While the MW Idli cooker also works with the steam method, some friends have told me that they use silicon muffin cups for making idlis in the MW. Though I have never tried this method myself, this is what they do – Grease the muffin cup and pour a spoonful of batter to it. Place muffin cups in the MW and cook for a 1-2 min depending on the wattage of the MW. If you do not have any form of an idli cooker, then do try this option, but test first.

Microwaving idlis

Also the accompaniment for the idlisidlis can be paired with almost anything you wish to pair it with – pickles, Sambar, chutney etc. My favourite pairing is Idli served with Hindi (a Mangalorean Mango pickle) with coconut oil drizzled on it generously. If you are choosing Chutneys , then there are a million varieties of these that you can make - Protein packed nut-based chutneys, colourful greens-based chutneys or chutneys based on mixture of vegetable & greens. I’ll be making varieties of these soon and posting.

The spinach puree in this recipe can be replaced with any greens puree, or can be completely replaced with equal amount of thinned yogurt. The sourer the yogurt, the faster the idli batter sets and softer the idli is. I generally leave a cup of yogurt out the night before I am making these idlis. But if your yogurt is not sour or you live in a country where yogurt doesn’t get sour fast, I guess you could use a pinch of baking soda to yogurt to ferment the batter fast.

Also, I used Millet Rawa in this recipe to up the health quotient. You can substitute this with regular sooji or rawa, or use a mix of millet and bajra rawas, which is what I intend to do next.

I am submitting this recipe for the Weekend Herb Blogging event hosted by Siri this week.

Instant Oats & Spinach Idli

Instant Oats Idli
Serves – 32 Idlis
Level – Easy
Preparation time – 20 min, and time taken to cook the idlis
Recipe courtesy – Sharmi’s Passion

Instant Oats - 1 C
Millet Rawa - 1/2 C
Curd - 1/2 C, beaten and sour, if available
Water - as required
Spinach leaves - 1/2 C, washed and chopped fine
Salt - To taste
Coriander leaves - finely chopped

For the tempering
Green chilli - 2, finely chopped
Mustard seeds - 2 Tsp
Hing - 1 Tsp
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 Tsp
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece, finely grated
Curry leaves - 5-6, washed and finely chopped
Peanut oil - 1 Tsp


Dry roast the oats and the Rawa separately and let it cool.
Grind the oats to a fine powder in a mixer/grinder.

Prepare the tempering by heating the oil in a small pan, and adding the mustard seeds, jeera, green chillies, curry leaves and ginger to it. Once the mustard starts spluttering, take the pan off the heat and add hing to this. Mix the rawa and powdered oats with this tempering. At this point, this mixture can be used right away or stored for future use. This stays good in an airtight container for a week or for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Mix the spinach puree and the curd and add required amount of water to this. Add this to the rawa + oats mix to form a smooth batter. Let this batter sit for 5 min. Check for consistency and add more water or thinned curd if required.

Prepare idlis by pouring one spoonful of batter into each greased idli mould and steaming them.

We generally use the microwave idli cooker which takes 4.30 min to steam 8 idlis. This is dependent on the wattage of your microwave, so please check this before you try.

If steaming in a traditional idli cooker, steam these idlis for 10 min and let it sit for another 5 min before serving.


  1. As I read this post, you sound like Srini who never ever gets bored of those idlis.. man, he eats them all seven days of week.. this variation will make his happy, am sure. will make on a Sunday.


    1. Heheheh... all of us are a chip off the same block! :)

  2. What a beautiful recipe! The idlis look delicate but also tasty and I like how you made them nutritious. I will add it to my to-try list. (I will need some type of mold first, so thank you for talking about the various options.)

    1. Simona, you could also try steaming them by placing a spoonful in small cups, and using a water steamer. That is very close to the original method of idli-making.


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