Make dinner delicious than ever with soft and spongy Quinoa Idlis that pair perfectly with a steamy bowl of Sambar and coconut chutney on the side. Packed with the goodness of quinoa, this Quinoa Masala Idli is a delightful twist to the traditional rice idli and a more nutritious one!
Idlis have always been a priority on weekend brunches as my family is an ardent admirer of South Indian delicacies.
I have been preparing rice idlis with some variations all this while, but this time I experimented with Quinoa + vegetables, and the whole venture turned out to be great.
Now, I have been relatively consistent in preparing this nutritious treat in my kitchen, and it is always a winner.
What is Quinoa Masala Idli
For those of you unfamiliar with this term, Idli is a staple from South Indian cuisine. It is a soft and fluffy savory cake made with fermented rice and lentil batter. But this recipe is different.
Quinoa Masala Idli is prepared with quinoa, a gluten-free grain that is high in —
- Impressively high in protein, fiber, and other beneficial antioxidants,
- Low in fat and carbohydrates,
- Great source of magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, Vitamins B and E,
- Packed with all the nine essential omega acids,
- These powerhouse idlis make for a filling meal that can be enjoyed at any time of the day!
As compared to the conventional idlis, which are pearly white, Instant Quinoa Idlis are ivory in color. However, Quinoa should never be confused with the millets as they may look similar, but this is a different grain altogether.
Reasons You’ll ♡ Quinoa Idli
Quinoa Masala idlis have become one of my favorite comfort foods, because —
- It’s a no-fuss recipe
- Requires no soaking and fermenting
- Wholesome and delicious
- Light on the tummy
- Kid-friendly, and
- Perfect for lunch boxes.
The best part, Quinoa masala Idli tastes as good as the traditional ones, with no compromise on the texture or quality. This instant Idli recipe is truly a life-saver on busy nights!
Ingredient list for Quinoa Masala Idli
This ingredient list for Instant Quinoa Idli is relatively short, and it comes together quickly with no complicated ingredients or procedures to follow.
» Organic white Quinoa — This is the main ingredient in our instant Quinoa Idli recipe. I am using white quinoa for its light and fluffy texture, which is more pleasing than other varieties.
» Sooji ( also called Semolina) — Sooji is rich in protein and gluten. You can use fine sooji here. It is used to elevate the texture of our idlis.
» Skinned and split Urad dal — Use skinned and split Urad dal (dhuli urad) as this works the best. It lends a perfect texture to our idlis.
» Mustard seeds — This lends a subtle flavor to the masala idlis and is used for tempering them.
» Green chilies — Add some spice to spongy quinoa Idli with chopped green chilies.
» Curry Leaves — Added to the masala idlis for its distinct aroma and lemony flavor.
» Red bell pepper — Diced red bell pepper adds a sweet flavor and vibrant color to our idlis.
» Roasted Cumin seeds — Added for a hint of warm, earthy flavor and aroma that is so distinctive of this spice.
» Yogurt — Yogurt imparts tanginess to these idlis. But if you have sour yogurt on hand, that is much tangier and does wonder the idlis. As it is acidic, it helps to activate Eno, which makes the idlis soft and fluffy.
» Eno — Eno helps to aerate the batter, which is necessary for fluffy and light idlis.
» Oil — Oil is used to grease the idli molds so they can be de-molded easily.
How to make Masala Quinoa Idli
Grind quinoa —
- Transfer the quinoa grains to a spice grinder or a high-powered blender.
- Grind the quinoa on high for 1 minute into a smooth, fine, powdery consistency.
- It will be fine in texture but gritty like fine semolina.
Protip — Quinoa in this recipe replaces rice in the traditional preparation. It is an excellent alternative for individuals who want to prepare idlis without committing to the time-consuming process of conventional idli preparation.
Prepare tempering —
- Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. As it starts to crackle at split urad dal.
- Sauté for a few seconds.
- Add green chilies along with curry leaves, and red bell pepper.
- Finally, add sooji to the pan. Mix and sauté the mixture for a minute.
- Take it off the flame and allow this mixture to cool.
Expert Tips & Variations
Prepare Quinoa — Quinoa has a slightly bitter taste that is not desirable for the idlis. To get rid of this, rinse it a couple of times. I have used pre-washed quinoa for this recipe.
Soak — Soak the mix at least 10 minutes before steaming. This ensures that Quinoa has soaked the water and is tender enough to get cooked.
Secret to fluffy and perfectly soft idlis — Add yogurt and Eno for the best idlis: pillowy soft and spongy Instant idlis. So do not cut back on them, or you may not get the desired results.
Eno — Don’t forget to add Eno (fruit salt) in the batter just before putting the batter in the molds, as it will give you fluffy and soft idlis.
Frothy batter — When you add Eno to the idli batter, you will observe that the batter froths. This is precisely what we are looking for. Eno expands the batter that turns frothy, a must-have for fluffy and soft idlis.
Grease the molds — Before beginning with the steaming process, make sure to grease the idli molds well, as this will help the Quinoa masala Idlis slide out clean when they are done.
Substitute — Don’t have eno on hand, substitute Eno for baking soda. Just add ¼ teaspoon of Baking soda, which is enough for the needed rise. Do not add more of it as it will leave a soapy taste in the idlis.
Consistency — When preparing the batter, always check for consistency as this is imperative for a great outcome. If the batter is too thick, your idlis will turn hard. In contrast, the running consistency will not let the idlis take their shape. Ensure that the consistency is just perfect, like waffle batter- neither too thick nor too runny. A little extra water will turn the batter runny, which will lead to flat idlis, something undesirable.
Instant Pot — Steaming idlis in an instant pot is a lot easier. I have steamed the idlis in the instant pot, while you can always use a regular large-size container to steam your idlis. They will come out just as amazing!
Water level — While steaming, ensure that the water in the pot is below the idli level; else, the idlis will be laden with water during the steaming and turn sticky.
Steaming — Always steam your idlis on medium heat. This will ensure even cooking.
Tempering — Idlis in itself has a bland taste. They taste well when tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Tempering adds a flavor to the idlis besides elevating its looks.
Gluten-free — Sooji is added to the idlis for better binding as it is a gluten-based grain. For a completely gluten-free version of idlis, substitute sooji with oats flour.
Other additions — I have kept my Instant quinoa masala idli simple by adding red bell pepper. But feel free to give your idlis a nutritional boost by adding other veggies like chopped onions, peas, grated carrots, or spinach.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
Idlis are low in calories and easily digested, so the next time the cravings strike, give these Instant Quinoa Masala idlis a try. They make for one of the healthiest foods for those planning to shed a pound and are looking for a light yet wholesome meal.
These nutritious steamed Idlis tastes best when doused in the ever-so delicious Sambar (a soupy tangy lentil preparation) and vibrantly flavored coconut chutney as the condiment.
Should you make this recipe, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below. And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
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Transfer the quinoa grains to a spice grinder or a high-powered blender.
Grind the quinoa on high for 1 minute into a smooth, fine, powdery consistency. Quinoa should be fine in texture but gritty like fine semolina.
Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds.
As it starts to crackle at split urad dal. Sauté for a few seconds.
Add green chilies and curry leaves.
Finally, add sooji and bell peppers to the pan.
Mix and sauté the mixture for a minute. Take it off the flame and allow this mixture to cool.
Transfer the quinoa flour to a large mixing bowl.
Add salt, sugar, and roasted cumin powder to the bowl.
Add the tempering to the bowl. Mix it well.
Add yogurt to this mixture.
Mix everything together.
Slowly and gradually pour batter into this mix.
Prepare a lump-free batter.
Cover and let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, whisk the batter again. Add eno and whisk it well.
The batter should be of thick dropping consistency.
Start by greasing your ildi molds. Spoon the batter in idli molds.
Turn the Instant Pot ON. Press the “Saute” button. Place the idli mold inside the insert.
Cover the Instant pot insert with a glass lid. Steam the Instant rice idli for 10 minutes or until the toothpick inserted, comes out clean.
Remove the idlis from the insert. Let the rice idlis cool completely. Now, run a knife all around idlis, and they will pop right out of their molds. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter.
Soft and fluffy idlis are ready. Serve hot with Sambar and coconut chutney.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Quinoa better than rice?
Quinoa has more nutritional value than white rice. It has twice the protein of white rice and is lower in calories and carbohydrates. It is a healthier option as it is high in fiber and contains numerous minerals and antioxidants.
Why are my Idlis sticky?
If the rawa is not roasted well or if the batter is too thin, it might lead to sticky Idlis. So make sure you get these two things right.
What if I don’t have ENO fruit salt?
Eno Fruit Salt is now readily available in most Indian grocery stores but if you don’t have it, replace it with a mixture of baking soda and citric acid. 1 teaspoon ENO = ½ teaspoon baking soda + ½ teaspoon citric acid
Can I store this batter?
You can store the batter for as long as you have not added Eno. But unfortunately, after adding Eno, it can’t be kept. Store it in an airtight container. You can freeze the batter (without eno) for up to 2 months in the freezer.
Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and use it to make idli.
How do I know if my idlis are cooked?
It’s easy to determine if your idlis are cooked or not. Before de-molding, place a knife in the center of the idli. If it comes out entirely clean, your idlis are done.
How to store idlis?
Leftover Idlis can be conveniently stored in an airtight container for three days in a refrigerator. Instant Quinoa Idlis freeze beautifully for up to a month. Freeze it in a freezer-safe container, defrost, and reheat.
How to reheat idlis?
You can very quickly reheat your idlis in a steamer or Instant Pot.
- Transfer the defrosted idlis to a bowl.
- Add a cup of water to the insert of the Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot ON. Press the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” Button. Add a trivet into the insert and then place the bowl of idli on top of the trivet.
- Cover the Instant pot insert with a glass lid.
- Steam the Quinoa masala idlis for 5- 6 mins. They will be as good as the freshly steamed ones.
However, avoid entirely reheating/ warming in the microwave as they will dry out.
Can I double up the recipe?
This recipe yields 16 idlis in total. However, you can double or triple the quantity based on your preference.
When preparing idlis in larger quantities, it is best to divide the batter into portions. You can add Eno to the portion that is just about to go for steaming. This ensures fluffy and soft idlis.
Then wait for adding Eno to the next batch. Once the first batch has finished steaming and is out, add Eno to the second batch, mix and set it for steaming. Repeat the process if needed.
Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg