Rice Free Idli of Bajra (Pearl Millet) & Jowar (Sorghum) Grains

Bajra & Jowar Idli

  • Difficulty: easy
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Bajra & Jowar Idli








These are the idlis we gorged on with my previous recipe of vegetable sambar.

They are made from bajra and jowar grains.

yes, it is possible to make yummy rice free idlis which are just as good as their conventional cousin

Grain idlis do not turn out as fluffy as the rice ones. Well, this is not strictly true. They do fluff beautifully in the idli cooker but as soon as they are out of the steam, they turn flat. But once you bite into them, you will find that they are just as soft.

To boost the nutrition value (as if they are not healthy enough!), I added some quick cooking oats to the fermented batter. It is just a personal preference, not necessary for these beautifully turned out idlis.

We got 25 idlis from the following. Really depends on the size of your idli moulds so this is just a rough indicator of the yield.


1 Cup bajra grains

1 Cup jowar grains

1 Cup urad dal (split black gram)

2 Tablespoons fenugreek seeds

3-4 Tablespoons quick cooking oats (optional)

1-2 Teaspoons ghee

Salt to taste


  1. Wash and soak the bajra, jowar, urad dal and fenugreek seeds for 8 hours. The water should be a couple of inches above the level of the grains.
  2. Grind the soaked grains, dal and seeds till you get a fine paste. The batter should have creamy consistency (you don’t want it too liquidy).
  3. Place the batter in a warm, dark corner to ferment. The fermentation process can take anything from 5 hours to 24-48 hours depending on the outside temperature.  Go here for tip on fermenting in cold weather.
  4. You will know that the batter is fermented when it rises a bit and the surface turns a couple of shades darker compared to the original batter. You will also see bubbles form on the top.
  5. When you are ready to cook the idli, mix the oats and salt to the batter.
  6. Grease the idli moulds generously with ghee.
  7. Pour the batter and steam for about 30-40 minutes.
  8. Once cooked, take the idlis out of the steam and let them sit for about 5 minutes before removing them from the moulds.
  9. Enjoy with some chutney and/or sambar.



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