Masala idli is a variation of the South Indian staple, idli, with veggies, spices and seasoning, all, in it. Soft, spongy, steamed food that is light on your stomach, idli makes the most ideal breakfast. Not only because of it’s nutritional value (with lentils and fermented rice and makes it low carb), idli can also be made ahead of time and re-heated to the perfect spongy texture in about 30 seconds! This masala idli recipe is a no-brainer entry in your book of healthy breakfast recipes.

Masala idli, steamed rice cakes with veggies, an ideal make-ahead breakfast

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Do you all agree with this old adage? Or, may be you are skeptic who likes to argue “but, Prash, there is another adage that says ‘out of sight; out of mind’. Well, yes. But maybe you feel more affectionate about him/her/it when it is back in sight? I cannot say this confidently for people. You know, I am no psychology student but I am food blogger and a foodie and can vouch for this, you definitely grow a fondness for food that has been missing from your life.

When it comes to idli; something that I used to despise (read the story of how I came to despise it HERE), fondness may be stretching it. Lets say, I am finding it more palatable by the day. Not eating idli (except for a bite here and there) over a span of five years has made me appreciate the nuances of idli making and eating.

Fermented rice cakes, a staple Indian breakfast

So, the other day, we were experiencing another of the great storms-in-October-in-Texas and I just had to eat something hot. Steaming hot, piping hot, spicy hot! When the weather sings to me like that, my instinct is to reach for a can of oil and deep fry stuff in it. I literally mean stuff (even chilies would do)! However, I was too lazy that day and I wanted something quick which made reach out for the idli batter (Find idli batter recipe HERE) lying in my fridge.

Masala idli, steamed rice cakes with veggies, an ideal make-ahead breakfast

Boy! Was I glad that my brain made me lazy enough not to deep fry stuff?! I decided toad in vegetables, spices and seasoning to the idli batter and make my mom’s famous Masala idli. And with every bite of the delicious masala idli, I found myself thinking:

“No bad. Not bad at all. Pretty good. Mmmm. Very good, in fact. Oh, it is yumm!” Yeah! My brain kept praising the masala idli in incremental steps until the plate was empty and then I got a second serving and my brain started all over again! “Not bad. Not bad at all…” Eh! I am sure you got the point! 😀

Masala idli, steamed rice cakes with veggies, an ideal make-ahead breakfast

Well, what are you still waiting for? Get, Set, Go!  Go, make yourself some:

Masala Idli


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves: Makes about 18 idlis



  • 3 cups Idli Batter (Idli batter recipe here)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
  • 2-3 curry leaves, chopped well
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt to season
  • 1 tsp of oil for greasing the idli moulds.


  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. You can either buy batter from a store or make your own batter. The recipe for the batter can be found HERE.
  3. Grease the idli moulds.
  4. Spoon the batter into idli moulds. If you do not own one, use a heat resistant/stainless steel deep plate that you can place in a conventional vegetable steamer.
  5. Place the idli moulds in a pressure cooker filled with an inch deep of water. Cover and stem on high heat for 12 minutes. Do not use the knob(whistle). We want the steam to escape and no pressure build up.
  6. Alternately use your steamer to steam for about 12 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and open up the lid after another 2 minutes.
  8. Wait for the idlis to cool down slightly (about a minute) before you unmould them.
  9. Use a spoon dipped in cold water to scoop the soft spongy idlis out of their moulds.
  10. Serve them hot with a dollop of ghee/butter on them.

My Take:

You can make these idlis ahead of time. You can make them the night before and refrigerate them. Serve them breakfast by microwaving them for a 45 seconds – 1 minute.

You can also use other veggies like shredded beets, green peas or shredded zucchini too!

Yummily Yours’


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  1. Idlis are my favorite breakfast of all times. These masala idlis look perfect. :). Sreelatha

  2. Its Looking too yummy, I feeling hungry now! Well information you mentioned are great, its easy to understand to all readers.

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