Way healthier than the syrup soaked or ghee laden classic Indian sweets, the idli is a humble offering of South Indian cuisine where they are traditionally found on the breakfast menu in either sweet or savoury forms. I have yet to come across a savoury Mauritian idli since we do not have the habit of eating sambar or chutney early morning. The sweet fluffy idli I know is made from steamed semolina/greo instead of fermented rice. This easy recipe will allow you to master the art of making idlis after a few trials, the key is to determine how many minutes your pressure cooker takes to convert the thick, coconut flavored batter into beautifully soft idlis. I should be thanking my dear friend, Naai, who got me this idli mould as a New Year gift years ago. If you are not as lucky, you can still make idlis of any shape in ramekins, muffin pans or aluminum foil cups!



2 cups semolina

3/4 cup milk powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup coconut flakes

5 cardamom pods, crushed

1/2 to 2/3 cup lukewarm water


  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add water until the mixture turns into a thick smooth paste.

  • Lightly grease the plates of an idli mould with butter or oil and fill with batter. Smooth the surface with a wet finger.

  • Place idli mould in a pressure cooker filled with 2 cups water and cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes.

  • Carefully release steam and remove idli mould from pressure cooker. Unmould idlis and serve hot. Makes 20 pieces.

Fluffy homemade idli