Idli are an all time favourite for many of us. I love making this one, as they are soft and supple. There may be a variation in other recipe as this is modified by me.They make an ideal breakfast with sambar and chutney. Why is this named as “Chennai Idli” ? Chennai is a place in South India,it is the capital city of the state of Tamilnadu. It is here, they were first made  and  was very famous for these soft and supple idlis. Hence the name as “Chennai Idli”

Ingredients :

soft idlis
ideal breakfast

Procedure :

  • Soak the rice in hot water for 4 hours.
  • Soak urad dal seperately  in cold water for two hours.
  • Grind both of them seperately with adequate quantity of water. Later ,mix both together.
  • Now, rinse the semolina in water for sometime. Mix into the ground batter.
  • Keep in a warm place to ferment for 8 hours.
  • Add salt, mix and  and make idlis the usual way, in a steamer.
  • Serve with coconut chutney and sambar and a dollop of butter if you wish !

Just a note :

Idli rice is a different kind of rice, which is used in making idlis and dosas. It is partially brown and  smaller in size. Here, in south india, it is called as salem rice.

My other idli recipes on the blog:

Chennai Idli

Soft and supple idli make ideal breakfast, chennai idlis are that kind. 

Course Breakfast, healthy, lunch box
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Author jayashree


  • 1 cup urad dal
  • 2 cup idli rice
  • 1 cup semolina (idli)
  • salt
  • water


  1. Clean and wash the rice. Boil water in a pan. Put the rice in it and soak it for four hours.

  2. Soak urad dal in regular water for two hours.

  3. Grind both of them separately to a smooth batter. Later, mix them in a wide bowl.

  4. Wash the semolina and soak it for ten minutes, mix it in the batter and keep it in a warm place to ferment, preferably overnight.

  5. Add salt to the batter and mix it well.

  6. Take the idli stand, put the batter in each of the cavity, steam it for fifteen to twenty minutes.

  7. Once, it is done, let cool, then remove and serve with coconut chutney and sambar. 

Recipe Notes

  • Batter is to be kept in a warm place.
  • Keep a wide plate below the container, lest it may not overflow on fermenting.
  • Fermenting time differs according to the season and the region where you are. 

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Chutney recipe can be found here

Note: This post contains affilate links

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Chennai Idli


  1. I love trying foods from other cultures. Indian food is one of my favorites! This sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing it with us at Foodie Fridays!

  2. I dont get the Salem rice here. Will parboiled idli rice do Jayashree?
    I would love to try this Chennai idli.

  3. Adding semolina must make these idlis extra soft, right! I didn’t know a special kind of rice is used for idlis. Very informative post for me!

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