Jowar Idli is a healthy alternative to regular rice idli. Made with jowar – it’s packed with fiber and protein. Perfect Indian breakfast.
These millet idli are for blogging marathon theme, ‘Millet recipes’. My choice of millet for today is called sorghum in English, jowar in Hindi, cholam in Telugu and jonnalu in Telugu.
Sorghum is a healthy and nutritious whole grain. It is gluten-free, rich in fiber and iron, full of protein and the list goes on. HealthifyMe has a great resource on its nutritional values.
Idli is one of the quintessential South Indian breakfast. It is a healthy and nutritious start to any day.
But many of us are trying to avoid rice in daily diet due to health reasons. So this jowar idli recipe without rice is a great alternative. Also the best thing about this recipe is it needs just 2 main ingredients.
Traditional idli is made with urad dal and rice rawa or idli rice. Flattened rice and/ or fenugreek seeds are added to achieve soft, fluffy texture.
This recipe for jowar idli is from a Telugu cooking show. I was initially skeptical and wasn’t sure how the idlis would turn out. I was half expecting them to be hard as rocks.
But they turned out soft and fluffy, I was very excited. These have become a staple in our home now.
As I mentioned, you need just 2 main ingredients to make these jonna (sorghum) idli.
Jowar rawa is coarsely ground whole sorghum grain. If you cannot find the rawa version, then grind the whole grains into a coarse meal to use in the recipe.
In the past few years, the Indian groceries are stocking up on not just whole millets but also the ground/ meal versions. So I always make sure to stock up on jonna rawa to make these idli or this jonna rawa upma.
Whole, skinned urad dal is the other main ingredient.
Salt adds flavor.
This recipe needs some pre-planning. There is soaking, grinding and fermenting involved. So, plan accordingly.
Start by soaking jowar rawa and urad dal separately for 4~6 hours.
Once they are soft and tender, grind the lentils into a smooth batter. Add just enough water to get the blades moving and make a thick batter. Remove into a mixing bowl.
Drain the rawa and add to the lentil batter. I use my hands to squeeze out all of the extra water.
Mix the batter with your hands to combine the lentil and millets. Cover and set aside to ferment for about 8~12 hours.
When the batter is ready, add salt and mix well.
Pour the batter in idli molds and steam for 12~15 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside for 5 minutes before taking them off of the molds.
Serve hot with a generous drizzle of ghee along with chutney or sambar.
How do you know when the idli batter is ready?
Well fermented idli batter has the following characteristics:
- will have increased in volume
- has lots of air bubbles
- has a nice, tangy smell – almost like sourdough starter
Tips & Substitution Ideas:
- Other millets like bajra, ragi, pearl millet can be used to make this recipe. Just make sure to use coarsely ground meal.
- If the jowar meal you are using is too coarse, then grind it into a smoother texture before adding to the lentil batter.
- If you have exceptionally cold house, like I do, then preheat the oven to 200F for about 5 minutes, then turn the oven off and cool for 5 minutes. Place the covered bowl in the oven and you will have beautifully risen batter after 8~10 hours.
- Use a large enough bowl to allow for the batter to increase in volume once fermented. This will avoid spillage.
Jonna Rawa Idli | Jowar Idli
For Jonna Rawa Idli:
- 1½ cups Jonna Rawa (Jowar/ Sorghum rawa)
- ½ cup Urad dal
- To taste Salt
To make Jonna Rawa Idli:
- Soak jonna/ jowar rawa in just enough water for 4~6 hours. Soak urad dal separately for 4~6 hours.
- Grind the urad dal into a smooth batter using just enough water. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Drain jonna rawa/ jowar and add to urad dal. If the rawa seems too coarse, then grind it in the mixer for a few seconds, then mix with urad dal.
- Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place to ferment for at least 8~10 hours. Mixture will get frothy when ready.
- Add salt to the mixture and mix well.
- Lightly grease the idli molds and distribute the batter evenly in the idli molds, steam for 12~15 minutes. Serve hot with chutney of choice.
- If you only get whole jowar or sorghum, then grind them in a high power blender to make the rawa.