Breakfast, Idli

How to make Rava Idli MTR Style | Idli varieties

What is Rava Idli?

Of all the Idli varieties made at home, we love the MTR style Rava Idli. There is a story here that says the Rava Idli was invented when rice was in shortage during the war. This is an instant, No-fermentation required Idli that’s steamed to pillowy softness and served with a chutney or a kurma. The best combination of course for Rava Idli (by popular standards) is the Bombay Style Sagu.

Rava Idli (aka Rava Idly) and then some nostalgia..

Whatever the story, there are very fond memories of eating these with some melted ghee on the side, spicy potato gravy and coconut chutney with my dad at the original MTR restaurant near Lalbagh, Bangalore. Sunday mornings were picked and we got there as early as 6:30am to catch our favourite seat by the window as hundreds of us looked forward to enjoying the simple pleasures of a south Indian breakfast, to be finished with piping hot coffee. Although I have never been a coffee drinker, I remember how my dad poured the coffee onto a saucer (or a davara, in most cases at MTR) and drank it straight off the saucer.  Socially, I may not approve it today, but the aroma of that coffee is something I would cherish as an onlooker 🙂

Seriously, nostalgic today ! Let’s look at some steamed Idli varieties on this blog.

Other Idli varieties on the blog:

Use fine quality Rava / Semolina for best results. Off to the recipe now.

Rava Idly (or) Rava Idli – Steamed Semolina Idli – Indian Breakfast / Snack

Prep time : 45 mins (incl. standing time) ; Makes : 6 Idlis

  • Semolina (I used Bombay Rava) – 1 cup
  • Thick yoghurt (slightly sour is preferred) – 3/4 cup
  • Salt – 1/2 T
  • Oil – 3 TBSP
  • Tempering : Cashews, Mustard Seeds, Urad Dal & Channa dal- 1/2 tsp each + 1/2 tsp curry leaves (finely chopped fine)
  • Hing / Asafoetida – a tiny pinch
  • Baking Soda – 1/8 tsp
  • Grated carrots – 1/8 cup


  • Clean Semolina for any dirt or dust. Sieve once if required.
  • Heat 2 TBSP of oil, fry cashew halves till golden and crunchy, keep aside.
  • In the same oil, add rest of tempering, and fry till dals till golden brown. Add the semolina and fry till nicely warm and roasted. Keep aside till cool.
  • You may refreigerate this dry mix and use when needed.
  • To make Idlis, Mix 1 cup of above roasted Rava with 3/4 cup beaten curd, leave aside covered for 15 mins.
  • Bring an Idli steamer with enough water to a rolling boil. Add 1 tsp or two to the soaked semolina, the pinch of hing and baking soda and gently mix taking care not to overbeat.
  • Layer a little of carrot grated in a greased Idli plate, pour out the idli batter. Place a roasted cashew half on top. 
  • Similarly fill the other Idli moulds.
  • Steam for 8-10 mins. Slightly cool, demould and serve hot with Coconut Chutney.

I served it with Veg sagu (gravy)




  1. MySpicyKitchen

    Some food makes you very nostalgic with lot of sweet memories. Rava idli looks very good. These day I use MTR instant mix a lot. I should try this recipe next time.

  2. Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    I love these recipes that brings back childhood memories. Rava idli is our go to dinner when I run out of ideas to cook. Love the cashews and carrot garnish.

  3. yea I love rava idlis and yours has come out so well!..

  4. Nice reading your post Kalyani! We survived on Rawa idlis in china where the regular batter never get fermented due to the chill climate. These look so good and you have an impressive collection of idli varieties!

  5. Priya Suresh

    Rawa idlies withcoconut chutney is my favourite combination. And those idlies are super tempting.

  6. I used to be a saucer drinker too. Aahh…the pleasures of childhood. The idlis look so good.

  7. Wow! I agree that we were thinking on similar lines about the day 1 post! We love rava idlis and more so if they have some nostalgic memories attached.

  8. Chef Mireille

    what a great way to start the day – looks delicious

  9. Love these soft & fluffy sooji idli. They look so colorful with the veggies in them.

  10. I too love MTR and even though I have never been there a lot, their dishes are to die for. Lovely presentation Kalyani.

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