Masala rawa idli

Idli literally meaning rice cakes are a staple food in the Southern parts of my country of birth India. Traditionally these are made using a fermented mixture of rice and lentils. I however make them using coarse semolina (mota rawa/sooji). My husband is fond of spicy food because he comes from the northern state of Punjab. I come from Uttar Pradesh and do not have a very spicy palate.

So we normally find a middle ground. And this is our version of masala rawa idli or spiced semolina puff cakes.


1 cup coarse semolina

1.5 table spoon cooking oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds (raee)

1 tsp Chana daal

2 tsp grated ginger

1 chopped green chilli

2 table spoons of chopped coriander

6-7 curry leaves

1 tsp salt

1 cup yoghurt

1 cup of water

A pinch of aoesofotida (heeng)


Take oil in a pan and heat it on medium low flame. Add the Mustard seeds and aoesofotida. When the seeds start to crackle add the Chana daal and toast until the daal starts to look just slight brown. (See how the lentils have become brown). Slightly less done lentils are fine but if they get burnt it is better to start over again.

Now add the ginger, chili and curry leaves. Stir for a minute.

(apology for a poor picture there)

Now add in the rawa or semolina and roast it nicely until it becomes slight brown and gives a nice aroma.

Again the rawa must not be burnt. So when it starts to look brown then take it off the flame. Now add the coriander, salt and yoghurt, and water.

Let this mix stand for at least 15 min. The mixture will rise and you will most likely need to add another two or three table spoons of water depending on if you will make the idli in a microwave oven or on flame. Normally the microwave Method, which is what I use, need a slightly more water.

The final mixture has a smooth consistency and would be almost as fluid as a smoothie.

Now time to pour the mix into the idli cooker and microwave for 10 min on 800 watts. You might need to adjust this as per your equipment.

The final result should be well cooked puffed up cakes.

Happy cooking!