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+ servings
4 Idlis served along with chutney and sambar

Bajra Idli (Steamed Pearl Millet Savoury Cakes)

Gluten Free Bajra Idli is steamed savoury cakes made using Pearl Millet. Nutritious, easy and perfect for your morning breakfast, kids lunchbox or your meal.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Breakfast, Lunch
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Keyword: Finger Food, Gluten Free, Idli, Kids Food, Lunch Box, Millet, Savory, Steamed, Travel Food, Vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Fermentation & Soaking Time: 18 hours
Servings: 20 Idli
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre


  • 1 Cup Pearl Millet - Bajra
  • 1/4 cup Idli Rice.
  • 1/4 cup Urad Dal.
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds - Methi Dana
  • Oil for greasing the Idli stand.
  • Salt as per taste
  • ¼ Cup Poha or Cooked Rice - - Optional
  • Water for Idli Steamer


  • Clean and rinse the Bajra, Idli Rice separately, until clear water runs through
    Bajra getting soaked
  • Clean and rinse the Urad Dal and Methi seeds until clear water runs through.
  • Soak the Bajra, Idli Rice separately in enough water for 5-7 hours.
    Soaked Rice
  • Soak the Urad Dal and Methi seeds separately in enough water for 5-7 hours
    Soaked Urad Dal (Split Black Gram)
  • After 5-7 hours, drain the water and give a quick rinse again.
  • Grind the Bajra and Idli rice with just enough water to a smooth consistency.
  • If adding Poha or cooked rice, add it along with Idli rice while grinding.
  • Grind the urad dal along with methi seeds until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add all the ground batter into a large steel pot or container.
    Pearl Millet Idli Batter
  • Add salt and in anticlockwise direction with clean hands mix in the batter for 2-3 minutes.
  • Let the batter ferment in a warm place for 12 hours or overnight. You check my detail post on how to Ferment Idli Dosa batter in a cold climate. It has all the detail tips and tricks.
  • Once the batter is fermented, fill the idli steamer with water, making sure that the base of idli stand is well above the water level when kept inside it.
    Fermented Bajra Idli Batter
  • If you do not have Idli steamer, you can use clean bowls or muffin cases. In that case in a large pot add water, put an insert down and on top of that keep the muffin cases or bowls.
  • Let the water come to a boil.
  • In the meantime grease, the Idli Stand with little oil (just rub it with your fingers or with a silicone brush.
  • With the help of a spoon fill the moulds of the Idli Stand. Do not overfill
  • Once the water starts boiling, immerse the Idli stand in it, and close the lid.
    Idli ready to be steamed in Steamer
  • Cook the idli's for a minimum of 15 minutes, Idlis should be done.
  • To test prick a knife or a toothpick, it should come out clean. If not let it cook for another 5 mins.
  • Remove it from the pot, and separate each of the Idli steamer trays.
    Steamed Idlis
  • Sprinkle some cold water on top. (Just a few drops). Let the idlis cool for a minute.
  • Remove them with the help of a spoon.
    Taking out Idlis with the help of a spoon
  • Enjoy.


  • Standard US Cup size used.
  • One can use any cup size. Just keep the ratio of ingredients the same.
  • Do not add too much, as this leads to batter not getting fermented properly.
  • You check my detail post on how to Ferment Idli Dosa batter in a cold climate. It has all the detail tips and tricks.
  • Read the tips and tricks above in the post, on how to store the batter, Idli etc. 
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Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu or tag #cookwithrenu