Quinoa Idli

Amp up the protein content of your idlis with these Quinoa Idli.

Quinoa replaces 75% of rice in this recipe making the idlis more wholesome and more protein-packed.

bowl of sambar with idli dipped into it and more idlis placed on the plate

Idli is one of my favorite comfort food. Even though it was not a part of my diet growing up, I just eat it a lot now.

Freshly steamed idlis dunked in hot sambar, that’s totally my idea of comfort food.

While regular idli made with rice and dal is my absolute favorite, I have recently also started experimenting with different grains.

One of my current favorites is this Quinoa Idli. For this recipe, I replaced 75% rice with quinoa making the idlis more wholesome!

Initially I wasn’t sure how they would taste and especially if Sarvesh will eat them. But he ate them without zero complaints! For someone who doesn’t like anything quinoa, this was a win.

And after making them several times, I can say that these idlis taste really good. This is a great way to add protein in your diet especially if you are a vegetarian so off late I have been making these idlis all the time.

These Quinoa Idlis

✔are protein packed.

✔more wholesome than traditional idlis.

✔make a filling breakfast or lunch.

✔are vegan and gluten-free.

✔easy to make with few ingredients.

For this recipe, I followed exactly the same recipe as my basic idli batter recipe.

So the ratio of rice/quinoa to dal was 4:1. This ratio works the best in my experience and so I always stick to it while making idlis.

Tips to Make Perfect Quinoa Idli

All the tips that I shared in my idli batter post apply here as well. So please refer to that post as well.

Use parboiled rice like Idli rice for best results. Also urad dal gota (deshusked whole urad dal) works really well.

However, you may use urad dal dhuli (split urad dal without skin) as well.

To aid in fermentation of the batter, do 2 things- one, add methi (fenugreek) seeds and after add salt to the batter after grinding and mix with your hands for 2 minutes. 

I live in a cold place and hence adding salt to the batter helps in fermentation. You might not need to add it if you live in a warm place.

Also remember to use a non-iodized salt like sendha namak. Regular salt with iodine might interfere with fermentation process and hence better to use a non-iodized salt.

Make sure the batter is not too thick. A thick batter will not ferment, so make sure it has a nice flowing consistency. Follow the amount of water mentioned in the recipe.

a fermented batter in a steel pot

To ferment the batter, keep it in a warm place– either in the oven with lights on or in the Instant Pot (which is what I do) on the yogurt mode.

The amount of time the batter takes to ferment will depend on the weather/climate of the place you live. Here in Seattle, it ferments in 11-12 hours in summers and takes up to 14-15 hours in winters.

If you live in a warm humid place, the batter might ferment in only 4-5 hours.

This idli recipe has not been tested with 100% quinoa. I think having little rice gives it some texture. If I do make these with 100% quinoa, I will update it here.

If you are looking for a change in your regular idlis, then give these Quinoa Idlis a try. I am sure you will enjoy them!

Method

1- Rinse the quinoa and rice under running water until water turns clear and then soak quinoa and rice together in enough water (around 2.5 cups)  for around 6 hours.

Similarly, rinse urad dal until running water until water turns clear and then soak in enough water (around 2 cups) with 1 teaspoon methi seeds for 6 hours.

2- After 6 hours, drain water in which quinoa and rice were soaked using a strainer. Then transfer the drained quinoa and rice to a high speed blender (I used Blendtec).

3- Add around 1 cup (8 oz/240 ml) cold water and grind to a smooth paste.

4- Transfer the ground quinoa and rice to the steel pot of the Instant Pot (or to any other big bowl if not using the Instant Pot).

step by step picture collage of making quinoa idli

5- Similarly drain the dal and methi seeds using a strainer and then transfer to a blender.

6- Grind the dal to a smooth paste using around 1/2 cup (4 oz/120 ml) + 2-4 tablespoons (30-60 ml) cold water as needed. I suggest you add 1/2 cup +2 tablespoons initially and add more while mixing the batter if it looks too thick.

7- Transfer it to same pot as the ground quinoa and rice. Add 1 teaspoon sendha namak, do not regular iodine salt here.

8- Now, using clean hands, mix the the both the batters along with the salt. Mix really well using your hands for 2 minutes, this helps in fermentation.

PS: If you live in a warm place, you might not need to add salt at this point.

step by step picture collage of making quinoa idli

9- The consistency of the batter should be free flowing. It should not be runny but it should not be super thick either. If it doesn’t have a flowing consistency, you can add more water at this point.

10- Now cover the pot with a glass lid (if using Instant Pot) or with any other lid if using regular container. Remember to use a glass lid if using Instant Pot .If you use regular Instant Pot lid, the batter might overflow and lock the lid, so use a glass lid.

11- Place the pot back into the Instant Pot. Press the Yogurt button. Increase the time to 12 to 14 hours. The time will depend on where you live. It takes around 12 hours to ferment here in summers and around 14 in winters using the IP.

If not using an Instant Pot, cover the container and place in an oven with lights on (especially if you live in a cold place). If you live in a very warm place, then simply keep the batter on the counter to ferment.

12- After 12 hours, my batter was fermented. It had that fermentation smell and it was frothy on top. It had also increased in volume.

step by step picture collage of making quinoa idli

13- If you want to check whether your batter has fermented or not, simply take a bowl of water and drop some batter into it. If it floats, it means the batter is fermented and ready to use.

14- To make idlis, grease idli plates with little oil. I used Instant Pot to steam the idlis but you can use a regular steamer as well. Fill the idli plates with the batter. While you are filling the idli plates, place 1 to 1.5 cups water in the pot and press saute button for the water to heat up.

15- Place the idli stand in the Instant Pot. Close lid and press the steam button and set time to 13 minutes with pressure valve in venting position. The instant pot does not count time in venting position so use an external timer. The idlis will be done in 13-14 minutes after you place them in the pot.

If not using an Instant Pot, steam using an steamer for 10-15 minutes.

16- Take the stand out of the Instant Pot and let them cool for few minutes and then carefully take them out.

step by step picture collage of making quinoa idli

Serve quinoa idli with sambar and coconut chutney!

broken idli dunked in a bowl of sambar with more idlis in the background

If you’ve tried this Quinoa Idli Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Quinoa Idli

bowl of sambar with idli dipped into it and more idlis placed on the plate
Manali
Quinoa Idli where quinoa replaces 75% of rice making the idlis more wholesome! Naturally vegan and gluten-free.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Fermentation time + Soaking time 18 hrs
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Indian
Servings 24 idlis
Calories 66 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cups quinoa 270 grams, I used white quinoa
  • 1/2 cup idli rice 100 grams
  • 1/2 cup urad dal gota 100 grams
  • 1 teaspoon methi seeds fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sendha namak rock salt

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the quinoa and rice under running water until water turns clear and then soak quinoa and rice together in enough water (around 2.5 cups)  for around 6 hours.
    Similarly, rinse urad dal until running water until water turns clear and then soak in enough water (around 2 cups) with 1 teaspoon methi seeds for 6 hours.
    soaked rice and dal in 2 bowls
  • After 6 hours, drain water in which quinoa and rice were soaked using a strainer. Then transfer the drained quinoa and rice to a high speed blender (I used Blendtec).
    Add around 1 cup (8 oz/240 ml) cold water and grind to a smooth paste.
    ground batter in a blender
  • Transfer the ground quinoa and rice to the steel pot of the Instant Pot (or to any other big bowl if not using the Instant Pot).
    ground batter in a steel pot
  • Similarly drain the dal and methi seeds using a strainer and then transfer to a blender.
    Grind the dal to a smooth paste using around 1/2 cup (4 oz/120 ml) + 2-4 tablespoons (30-60 ml) cold water as needed. I suggest you add 1/2 cup +2 tablespoons initially and add more while mixing the batter if it looks too thick.
    ground batter in a blender
  • Transfer it to same pot as the ground quinoa and rice. Add 1 teaspoon sendha namak, do not regular iodine salt here.
    teaspoon of salt being added to blender
  • Now, using clean hands, mix the the both the batters along with the salt. Mix really well using your hands for 2 minutes, this helps in fermentation.
    PS: If you live in a warm place, you might not need to add salt at this point.
    hand mixing batter in a bowl
  • The consistency of the batter should be free flowing. It should not be runny but it should not be super thick either. If it doesn't have a flowing consistency, you can add more water at this point.
    batter dripping off from hand to show the consistency of the batter
  • Now cover the pot with a glass lid (if using Instant Pot) or with any other lid if using regular container. Remember to use a glass lid if using Instant Pot .If you use regular Instant Pot lid, the batter might overflow and lock the lid, so use a glass lid.
    Place the pot back into the Instant Pot. Press the Yogurt button. Increase the time to 12 to 14 hours. The time will depend on where you live. It takes around 12 hours to ferment here in summers and around 14 in winters using the IP.
    If not using an Instant Pot, cover the container and place in an oven with lights on (especially if you live in a cold place). If you live in a very warm place, then simply keep the batter on the counter to ferment.
    instant pot timer displaying 12 hours
  • After 12 hours, my batter was fermented. It had that fermentation smell and it was frothy on top. It had also increased in volume.
    fermented batter with a steel ladle
  • If you want to check whether your batter has fermented or not, simply take a bowl of water and drop some batter into it. If it floats, it means the batter is fermented and ready to use.
    small portion of batter floating in a bowl full of water
  • To make idlis, grease idli plates with little oil. I used Instant Pot to steam the idlis but you can use a regular steamer as well. Fill the idli plates with the batter. While you are filling the idli plates, place 1 to 1.5 cups water in the pot and press saute button for the water to heat up.
    idli plates filled with idli batter
  • Place the idli stand in the Instant Pot. Close lid and press the steam button and set time to 13 minutes with pressure valve in venting position. The instant pot does not count time in venting position so use an external timer. The idlis will be done in 13-14 minutes after you place them in the pot.
    If not using an Instant Pot, steam using an steamer for 10-15 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
    Take the stand out of the Instant Pot and let idlis cool for few minutes and then carefully take them out.
    instant pot timer displaying 13 minutes
  • Serve quinoa idli with sambar and coconut chutney!
    idli dunked in a bowl of sambar

Notes

  1. Please read all the tips in the main post before making the recipe, they will definitely help. 
  2. Remember to not over-ferment the batter. If that happens, the idlis will taste sour. 

Nutrition

Calories: 66kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 98mgPotassium: 64mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
Keyword quinoa idli
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8 thoughts on “Quinoa Idli

  1. How is the texture of steamed idli. I mean if you make it with idli rawa it sort of looks like porous. I wasnt successful with just rice and urad dal- they weren’t porous because i ground them smooth almost near to dosa batter. Could you kindly inform how this quinoa idli looks like. Thanks

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