Savory Teff Cake “Idli”




15 idlis


15 idlis

Idli is one of the most common and popular South Indian breakfast/snacks. It is prepared with fermented batter made with rice and lentils. Teff Idli is a healthy take on this traditional recipe. The addition of beet leaves makes it even more nourishing and wholesome.

You’ll want to plan ahead when making the idlis to allow time for the soaking and fermentation.

Prep time: 16 hours | Cook Time: 12 minutes

Watch the entire recipe tutorial by Cookilicious here. Or check out the Cookilicious blog post for substitutions and more details of the recipe!

Print Recipe

Soaking grains and lentils

  1. Rinse and soak 1 cup of teff grains in room temperature water and set aside.
  2. In a second bowl rinse and soak ½ cup of urad dal, add ¼ of a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and set aside.
  3. Leave bowls for 6-8 hours.


  1. After 6-8 hours drain the water from the soaked lentils and place them in a blender and blitz until it comes a smooth puree, add 2-3 tablespoons of water as needed. After lentils are a smooth consistency add in the drained teff into the food processor along with 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed and blitz again until smooth.
  2. Place a bowl over a plate and pour in mixture. Use your hands to mix the batter, using hands helps transfer body heat and aid fermentation.
  3. Leave to ferment in a warm dark place.


  1. Hours later the batter will have rose, stir with spoon and check to make sure the consistency is thick.
  2. Add sea salt as needed ??? and stir well.
  3. Stir in ½ cup chopped beet leaves.
  4. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the Idli Cooker and place Idli plate or mold on top. Spray plate with cooking oil.
  5. Fill molds with batter and steam. After 12 minutes let them rest for another 5 minutes than sprinkle lightly with water to help demold and carefully remove them with a spoon.
  6. Serve them warm with chutney or Sāmbhar.

Andhra Chutney

  1. In a pan heat ½ cooking oil and add the chopped tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and cook until tomatoes become soft. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Using the same pan without rinsing add in ½ cup of peanuts, 3-4 dried red chilies and 5-6 cloves of garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until peanuts turn gold.
  3. Place the cooked tomatoes and the sauteed ingredients into a blender and puree. Transfer smooth mixture into bowl.
  4. In a new saucepan add 1 teaspoon of cooking oil and the lentils, mustard seeds, and the curry leaves. Fry until the lentils turn gold. Pour on top of the chutney mixture.

The idli should leave the molds easily and the batter should appear uncooked.

Savory Teff Cakes "Idli" shown in bowl w/ Chutney


Teff & Beet Leaf Idli

  • 1 cup Maskal Teff Grains (Brown or Ivory)
  • ½ cup urad dal (lentils)
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ cup beet leaves (or any type of greens)
  • Salt to taste
  • Room temperature water

Andhra Chutney

  • ½ tablespoon of oil
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of peanuts
  • 3-4 dried red chilies
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 tablespoon urad dal (lentil)
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves

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