Ragi Idli and Dosa Batter – fermented with whole ragi

April 23, 2021 (Last Updated: November 12, 2021)

Ragi Idlis and Dosas – Make this amazing ragi batter that makes soft idlis and crispy dosais. The goodness of whole millets, urad dal in a fermented batter – happy gut and happy you too!

This is an amazing meal prep idea, like any batter in the Indian kitchen. Make this batter over the weekend and your dinner for two weeknights is sorted.

There is so much talk in the culinary world on the benefits of fermented foods, with recipes on making kimchi to kombucha at home. It is only when we take a look at our own cuisines, we realize that our wonderful idli batter is right in our kitchens.

fluffy idlis and crispy dosas, with the same batter!

For a person who has only recently started making batter at home, I quickly started to experiment with alternative options instead of rice. It started with trying an instant rava dosa once and slowly taking baby steps to make my own batter for everything from scratch.

When I started making batters at home, I experimented with instant dosas however they usually require another flour, like rice or rava to hold structure and create a dosa batter. It also takes longer to make dosas because the raw flour needs to cook and requires more fat. Great for a quick meal, but the texture and the benefits of fermented batter far outweighs the effort.

look at that beautiful idlis!

What does this batter have?

Whole Ragi (not the flour)

Whole Urad


Water, Salt, and some patience to grind the batter smooth

and ofcourse the magic of time, to ferment the batter.

Grinding the ragi batter

This batter does need a wet grinder. Ragi grains are tiny and need to be ground slowly. If I have to give you one tip, it is to take it slow. Do not add a lot of water, sprinkle water as you go and grind slowly. This portion takes about 30 minutes to grind.

It will NOT work in a mixie – because ragi does not grind fine. Yes, I did try and you can learn from my mistakes.

crispy dosas with a spicy chutney and potato masala

The picture above are for idlis and dosas made with whole ragi, whole urad and short grain rice (idli rice). This recipe gives the ‘softest’ idlis and beautifully crisp dosas.

Ragi Idli and Dosa Batter with whole ragi grains

Make this batter to make fluffy idlis, crispy dosas. It does take some effort, but it is worth it. You get the benefits of millet whole grains along with the goodness of fermented foods.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword gluten free, millets, ragi, whole foods, whole grains
Prep Time 6 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes


  • 2 cups ragi / finger millet
  • 2 cups idli rice
  • 1 cup whole white urad
  • 1/2 cup poha/aval/flattened rice
  • salt to taste


The Ratio

  • The base ratio is 4:1 for grains:urad. For this recipe, we substitute 2 parts of grains with ragi and 2 parts with rice. I also add 3/4 cup of poha as it makes idlis fluffy.


  • Rinse and soak two cups of ragi, two cups of idli rice and one cup of whole urad separately in plenty of water for five hours. Ragi can be quite messy to clean, so ensure you use a fine sieve to remove all dirt.
  • Soak poha 45 minutes before grinding the batter in about 1 cup of water.


  • Add ragi to the wet grinder and grind to a smooth batter. Whole ragi takes a while to grind, so be patient and think of all the goodness you are going to get out of this!
  • Next, add urad and grind to a smooth batter and remove
  • Finally, grind the rice and poha to a coarse yet fully ground mixture
  • I know you are tired now, but read on. Mix all the batters together and add salt
  • Ferment in your usual way. It takes about 7-8 hours to ferment fully and does increase in volume too.

Make Idlis and Dosas

  • Steam idlis for 7-8 minutes and remove off the mould when slightly cool. Idlis are fluffy and super soft.
  • For dosas, I prefer using sesame oil. But this is also delicious with some ghee. I'd particularly recommend this with a spicy onion chutney.


  • This recipe does require a wet grinder. I have not tried grinding whole ragi in a mixie, so not sure if will work.
  • The recipe requires rice and poha so that we can make idli and dosa in the same batter. If you are not making idlis, simply remove the rice and poha from this recipe and try with two cups of ragi and one cup urad. Dosas are amazing in this method too. 
  • If you do not have access to whole ragi where you live, try my recipe with ragi flour ( recipe coming soon)! 

I have an alternate recipe using ragi flour and will share it soon here on the blog. It is already on my Instagram here – Ragi Idli/Dosa batter with flour

Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about what your preferences and other readers.

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  • Reply
    November 12, 2021 at 12:39 am

    Hello, you have the ingredients listed as 2 cups Ragi, 2 cups of Idli rice etc etc. In the method you have mentioned 2 cups ragi and one cup idli rice. Which one is correct please?

    • Reply
      November 12, 2021 at 10:55 am

      Hi, it is 2 cups each of whole ragi and idli rice. The ingredients is correct. I have now edited the steps in method to indicate it is 2 cups. Thank you for pointing it out.

      • Reply
        December 12, 2022 at 6:12 pm

        If I want to make the idli with ragi only ..then is the ratio 4:1 or 2:1.

        • Reply
          December 23, 2022 at 4:20 pm

          I have not tried, so no idea. But I dont think 2:1 will work.

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