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Ragi idli

Few days back when I posted a ragi drink, I got a few requests for dishes with ragi/finger millet flour. I have a very good article with many ragi recipes in it, but had never tried any of them. Then I read an article about the medicinal values of ragi and I thought it is the time to try few of the dishes. This article (from the Kannada weekly “Taranga”) had 3 types of ragi idlis. I tried the simplest one and loved it very much (except for the color).

Ragi is the major food for most of the villagers in Karnataka. I think this is mainly because it is very cheap and because of its cooling effects on the body, it is good for the people working under bright sun.

Note: Ragi has cooling effect on the body. So be careful while using it in winter(especially if you are eating it for the first time or eating after a very long time).

Ragi flour 1 and 1/4 cup
Urad daal 1/2 cup

Soak ragi flour and urad daal separately in water. (Urad daal should be soaked atleast for 1-2hrs, ragi flour can be soaked just 10-20mins before mixing).
Grind the urad daal to a very smooth paste. Mix the soaked flour with the ground daal. Add salt and mix well. Leave it overnight for fermentation.
Next day, grease the idli stand with oil and pour the batter. Steam it like idlis(without weight if using cooker).
Serve hot with chutney.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 15mins

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{ 56 comments… add one }

  • Vaishali September 21, 2006, 8:55 am

    Ragi Idli? That’s something totally unheard of. I too use Ragi flour often, but I have never tried making Idlis with it. Yes, the colour of anything that you make with them is not extremely appetising, but considering the goodness it has, it needs to be eaten regularly. Let’s not forget that it also has a good amount of calcium in it.

  • divya September 21, 2006, 9:56 am


    I used to drink ragi mixed with mix when i was in school. My grandma told it was very good for health. Hey, had never heard of ragi idli’s before. Shall try them soon and pass this recipe to my mom.



  • Asha September 21, 2006, 9:59 am

    YAY!! Ragi back again on the map in Idli form!! Never made idlis with ragi, grandma makes dosas, rottis and ragi malt and Ganji (porridge) with it but not idlis. Good job, atleast you made something with Ragi!! :)

    Stuffed Idlis are great too! Thanks!!

  • Hema September 21, 2006, 10:50 am

    A lot of people have been making idlis in the past week (including me). I didnt know you could make idlis using ragi. Nice recipe. Thanks.

  • ameeta September 21, 2006, 10:55 am

    Hey Shilpa. Thanks a lot for the post. I will surely try the ragi idlis. The ragi flour has been lying around for a while now and i have been wondering what to do with it. Had bought it for my son but he is not particularly fond of the ragi porridge and i had no idea of any other ragi preparations.

    Thanks once again.

  • Jayshree September 21, 2006, 11:52 am

    Read about this ragi Idli sometime back, been reluctant to try.. Now I will !! Thnx.

  • Aruna September 21, 2006, 12:41 pm

    Hi Shilpa………Never tried ragi idli anytime. Made dosa, roti, malt, nachane uddak and duddali. Maybe i will try it over the weekend, since i made masala idli today itself. Thanks for a different variety of idli.

  • Madhu September 21, 2006, 1:08 pm

    Hi Shilpa,
    Ragi Idly sounds delicious. First time I am seeing and hearing about it. Will have to make it soon. Thanks so much for thr recipe.

  • sudhavinodh September 21, 2006, 4:21 pm

    Shilpa this recipe sounds very interesting ..i think i will try this on saturday..just had a question can we substitute urad flour for urad dal??..thanks for sharing this recipe..

  • manjusha Nimbalkar September 21, 2006, 4:49 pm

    Hey Shilpa,

    Never tried this. But good to have variety of idli.
    Please check my blog, i tried your recipe for coconut barfi and it rocked.


  • prema September 21, 2006, 8:44 pm

    Ragi idli… A good recipe shilpa. My dad has sugar and they say it is good for sugar patients. i should pass on this recipe to my mom. thanks for the recipe.

  • Rochin September 21, 2006, 9:48 pm



  • Vani September 22, 2006, 7:21 am

    Never heard of Ragi Idlis – only dosas and rottis. Very interesting. Will definitely try it out.

  • mandira September 22, 2006, 8:04 am

    Shilpa- I have been following your idli series… good stuff. I especially want to try the stuffed idlis. Will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for sharing

  • Shilpa September 22, 2006, 3:15 pm

    Thanks a lot for all your comments. Please let me know if you like it.

    Sudha, I haven’t tried this with urad flour. Infact, never tasted anything other than dosa with urad flour. So don’t know if it would ferment properly or not. I am very sorry.

  • sharmila September 24, 2006, 11:38 am

    I will give these idlis a try. I made some urad dosas but instead of rice I substituted masoor dal . They turned out golden,crispy, and lighter than the ones with rice. The substitution works well especially if anyone is trying to cut carbs.

  • Anisha January 19, 2007, 8:19 pm

    Hi Shilpa…,

    I like Raagi a lot n lot…My Ammi makes Dosas,Vadas, Malt, Kheer, Puttu and sometimes kanji with that. I simply love it. But I dint noted down any recipe…hence just wonder….and this recipe of yours really made me happy once again. Thank you. Tomorrow morning, this wud be t breakfast for us….Happy weekend..!

  • shobha April 14, 2007, 10:45 pm

    hi shilpa
    we r new user of ragi but like it. it is very good for health so we use regularly it. i will try for idli i hope it is very tasty and good for health

  • Reshma April 23, 2007, 3:47 pm

    Hi Shilpa
    Just came across your website recently while searching some receipe on google. This is a awesome website.

    BTW i tried the ragi idli like above. My batter did not rise like u mentioned above, but still the idlis were very soft. I tried dosa’s of the half batter n that too was good. My husband just loved both of it…Reshma

    • Smitha December 12, 2012, 11:10 am

      Same here. Even my batter did not rise :( How many hours do you usually keep for fermenting?

    • Shilpa December 12, 2012, 9:51 pm


  • viji July 18, 2007, 3:10 pm

    I thought of trying your Raagi Idly. I have mixed the Urad dhal and Raagi flour. But only now I noted that I used Whole Urad dhal. I want to know whats the amount of Raagi I have to use now. Is it the same 11/4 Cup or some thing else.

    Shilpa: Viji, I haven’t tried it with whole urad any time. You can try same amount as mentioned in recipe and try.

  • priyanka August 27, 2007, 1:46 pm

    had never heard of ragi idlis… ur recipe seems like good one and I will surely try at home.. and shilpa, i had a question..
    for how much time do we need to steam it in the cooker..?

    Shilpa: Priyanka, the steaming time is same as normal idlis. About 12-15mins.

  • Reena March 1, 2008, 1:29 pm

    Thank you, I was in search of a good recipe of ragi for my baby and finally i got it. This is really a very healthy and nutritious breakfast for kids.

  • rashmi March 13, 2008, 2:49 am

    I wonder how ragi is cheap. No one knows what is ragi in north india. Then i got a south indian shop . It sold ragi cereal for Rs. 48 a K.g. Then I grinded the cereal in mixy to make flour. How is it cheap. I didnot try any receipe till now. Only i read and find very exciting

  • rama March 24, 2008, 7:32 am

    i have searching for ragi receipies. since my son aged 17years is a diabetic , i will try this . thanks

  • Viji May 12, 2008, 12:59 am

    Dear Shilpa,

    I have been browsing your website since some months. Let me tell you the truth I remember my Ayi (In Konkani its mother but we called for Granny ) when I read these receipees.

    My momy makes dosas, rottis and ragi malt and Ganji (porridge) with it but not idlis.I tried this Raagi Idli today (I never heard it before). Hmm it taste quite good. I just called up my momy and Shared this receipee with her. ;) its definetly get added in her breakfast menus.

    Thanks yaar. Keep up the good work.

  • Priti May 24, 2008, 6:26 pm

    Hi! Shilpa,

    Do you have a recipe for “Patoli”? (A sweet dish made in Halde Pan). I’m from Karwar by the way.


    Shilpa: Its on the site. Please check under “sweets” section.

  • Geeta July 7, 2008, 11:39 am

    I’m going to try this out…never heard/thought of Ragi Idli
    though I came up with my own version of Ragi Dosa and I love ragi porridge and ragi hittu.mudde, when I can have it.
    Please visit my newbie site:http://paytpooja.blogspot.com and leave a comment.

  • Rhesa September 1, 2008, 9:45 pm

    I love idli and can’t wait to try your recipe but how do I know how much water the urad dhal and ragi flour should be mixed with?

    Shilpa: It should be of same consistency as normal idli batter.

  • vini December 1, 2008, 12:04 am

    Hi Shilpa,
    I tried out this recipe..Idlis were good.But i also made dosas later..and they turned out excellent.
    You can say something like Ragi Paper Dosa.
    Thanks for sharing

  • sharmila February 4, 2009, 1:44 am

    thanks for bringing back memories, raagi idli and taranga. will get back after trying.

  • Prem March 6, 2009, 5:00 pm

    Amazing people are becoming very health concious these days. I am going to try for sure because I love Ragi.

  • Jo March 26, 2009, 12:47 pm

    Hi Shipla,

    I Like your recipes. I was very inspried by ur ragi idlis, which i never heard before, so i tied and turndout very well. Thank you so mcuh for sharing this recipe.
    As im a budding blogger i ususaly look at ur site and you really inspire me.
    Is it fine if i mention that i have adapted this recipe from you?

  • Desikan April 2, 2009, 11:58 pm

    Dear Shilpa,

    I am interested in your receipe. Though I live in Bangalore, we have not tried home made receipe. We buy the ready mix packets and make Idlis.

    I have a specific request. I am suffering from Psoriasis ( a skin disorder- genetic problem). I am taking Ayurvedic treatment.

    The Doctors advise me to avoid Urad dhal used to help fermentation.

    I am avoiding normal rice Idli/Dosa etc.

    Could you kindly suggest a receipe without Urad Dhal for making dosa and Idli from either Rava or Ragi.

    Thanks for your help.

  • Harini May 21, 2009, 12:19 pm


    I like your website a lot. You give excellent receipes, I have whole ragi, can I use that for this recipe?

    Shilpa: I haven’t tried it. But i think it will work.

  • Trix Wollen February 7, 2010, 4:37 pm

    Dear Shilpa
    I live in Melbourne and have been looking for eagi flour everywhere because my husband would love to eat ragi ball
    What I did het was KURUKAN flour I made the ragi ball from this flour but my husband said that although it was close it was not the same as he remembered from his child hood Could you tell me if Kurukan and ragi flour are the same and if so would you have a ragi ball recipy
    I certainly will try the idlys with this flour
    Than you
    Kind regards

  • satyasai February 20, 2010, 12:16 am

    thx. After seeing VikramDoctors peice in Eco times yesterday on RagiI started searching for ragi idli recipe and found ur website. It’s nice and what are the other two tupes of idlis which wecan try? I am fondof ragi sankati (is it same as balls or mudda?) but i never gor the same taste as I used to eat in Hindupur (karnataka border)?

    • Shilpa February 20, 2010, 9:00 am

      Sorry, I don’t know what is rago sankati

  • Ashwini Ananthakrishna July 14, 2010, 9:50 am

    Hi Shilpa,
    I tried this recipe.It was really good. Its healthy too. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I am from Udupi. I like your recipes.

  • Radha July 22, 2010, 4:18 am

    We tried Ragi Idly today with karappodi. It was really good.
    We used urad dal powder instead of soaking and grinding. So idlies were too soft.

  • babita July 28, 2010, 2:59 am

    hi shilpa,

    i was very much keen to make these ragi idilis after seeing ur recepie.made this for breakfast…..it came out well .my hubby who is very health conscious just loved it………thnks

  • Lima March 23, 2011, 12:09 am

    Hi Shilpa

    Can I use the Ragi Idli recipe given above by you to turn out Dosai. i am rather ignorant where cooking is concerned but I like the simplicity of your recipe. Do i have to do anything extra to the batter.
    Thank you

  • Savi October 13, 2011, 5:49 am

    Hi Shilpa,

    These idilis are fantastic. I used this with avarekalu masala sambar and it perfectly matched. Thanks for the recipe as I am looking for the ragi recipes for my family health issues.

  • Deepthi April 5, 2012, 2:48 pm


    Iam facing the problem of salty ragi idlis whenever I prepare them.How do I reduce the amount of salt once I prepare the batter?Iam not knowing what to do with the batter once it is fermented and all the batter and the ragi idlis are turning out to be salty.Pls suggest me if I can do anything with salty ragi idli batter…………………

    • Shilpa April 8, 2012, 6:08 pm

      Use less salt next time, it cannot be corrected if the batter is already salty. I would probably add some vegetables to the batter before steaming. That may help a bit.

  • Radha May 20, 2012, 11:40 am

    is salt needed? wouldn’t salt hinder fermentation?

    • Shilpa May 20, 2012, 7:03 pm

      No, I always add salt before fermentation to idli/dosa batters

  • Soumya March 27, 2013, 9:20 am

    wow….even i wanna give a try..can I use whole ragi instead of flour?

    • Shilpa March 27, 2013, 2:33 pm

      Yes, you can grind and add. I haven’t tried it, so you may have to do a little trial and error to figure out exact quantity

  • sowmya October 6, 2013, 12:38 pm

    i want to try with whole urad dal what would be the measurements

    • Shilpa October 6, 2013, 12:55 pm

      Sorry, never tried it. I would give a try with same amount as urad dal

  • sumi October 23, 2013, 8:54 am

    I followed your recipe for ragi idli. It came out well. With the same batter I tried dosa, it was awesome. Thank u

  • Shweta November 21, 2013, 4:38 pm

    Its good to know that Ragi has cooling effects also. I have been feeding my 13 month old ragi malt since she was 9 months old. Last couple of weeks she has had a runny nose. I wonder if it is because it has cooled quite a bit in california and she still eats her malt.

    • Shilpa November 22, 2013, 10:11 am

      I think it is better to hold off on ragi for few days if she has cold

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