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Rawa Idli | Steamed Semolina Cake

Last Sunday I woke up with this urgent cravings of idli. For those of you who don’t know idli it is literally a savory steamed cake traditionally made with a fermented batter of rice and lentils. It is one of the most common breakfast across South of India and now across India. But did you read it is made from fermented batter and the fermentation in this case takes upto 12-15 hours. That’s when Rawa Idli or Semolina Steamed cakes come to your rescue.

Rawa Idli | Steamed Semolina Cake

Rawa Idli | Steamed Semolina Cake

Semolina when mixed with yoghurt gets very soft in just 15-20 mins giving the similar texture of the regular fermented batter. Adding a pinch of fruit salt or baking soda brings the fluffyness desired in the steamed cakes. So if you ever wake up on any mornings craving for idli – this recipe will definitely help you. Also if you are new to the world of idli and south Indian food this is a good starter as fermentation is an art and takes a little long to master it. Rawa Idli is a fail proof method in that case.

What Chutneys to pair it with

Rawa Idli can be paired with just chutney or/and with a lentil vegetable soup called Sambar. I decided to combine it with two types of chutney – coconut peanuts chutney and a dry spicy coconut chutney called molagappodi or gun powder.

To make the coconut peanut chutney:

In a blender mix a cup of coconut with 3 tbsp of dry roasted peanuts with 0/5 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of sugar and blend it together to a coarse paste. For extra flavor top it with a tempering made with oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida (hing), 2 dry red chilli and fresh curry leaves. Add it to the chutney and mix well.

Anyways here goes the recipe for the Steamed Semolina Cake or Rawa Idli

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 1 cup of rawa/sooji
  • 1/2 cup of yoghurt (no flavoured yoghurt)
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup of mixed veggies – carrots, beans, green peas, green chillies (optional)
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of Urad dal and Chana Dal
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 4-5 cashew nuts (optional)
  • Handful of curry leaves
  • Salt as per taste
  • Pinch of baking soda/Eno/Fruit salt


  • Soak the rava/sooji/Semolina with yoghurt. Add Salt and coriander to this mix. Let this rest for 10 mins
  • Meanwhile in a non-stick pan roast Urad dal, Chana dal, freshly grated ginger, cashews, curry leaves. Add this to  the Semolina mixture after 10 minutes.
  • Later add baking soda and water to bring it to the consistency of an idli batter.
  • Grease the idli moulds with a little oil before adding the idli batter. Don’t add way too much batter to each mould but enough to fill them. Steam cook them for 7-8 mins and remove and let it rest before removing them from the mould.
  • Serve them warm with chutney and/or sambar.

This idli is instant and needs no fermentation making it a perfect last minute, weekend breakfast for someone like me who craves for something like this all of a sudden.


Happy Cooking!


(This is a photo from way way back in India when I made with this with some green coconut chutney and had some chocolate shake along with it)

#100healthybreakfasts by Paulami

Rawa Idli/Semolina Steamed Cakes


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