Samai arisi idly / Samai idli / Little millet idli

Written by: 7aumsuvai

Samai arisi idly or samai idly is a healthy idli prepared with samai arisi / little millet, ulunthu / black gram and aval / poha, which goes very well with sambar and spicy tomato chutney or any other chutney varieties.

Samai arisi idli


Serves 4 to 5 people

      • 2 cups – Samai arisi / little millet
      • 1/2 cup – Whole black gram without skin / ulunthu
      • 1 handful – Flattened rice / poha / aval
      • 1/8 tsp – Fenugreek seeds / vendhayam / methi seeds
      • Salt to taste
      • Ice water to grind

Samai arisi idli

Preparation method:

Making of batter:

  1. Wash and soak samai arisi / little millet for 6 hours or over night. Remove stones if any before grinding. Because mine had lot of stones, so i cleaned it 3 to 4 times before grinding.
  2. Same way, wash and soak black gram /ulunthu along with fenugreek seeds and aval each separately with clean water for 1 to 2 hours or even overnight.
  3. Take a mixer grinder or grinder, transfer soaked black gram / ulunthu and grind it till smooth and fine paste. Add ice water little at a time while grinding. Transfer ulunthu batter to a big vessel.
  4. Now grind samai / little millet along with aval / flattened rice by adding water little at a time to a slightly coarse paste. Consistency of samai batter should not be too grainy nor fine paste.
  5. Now mix ulunthu batter and samai batter together along with required salt, mix well. Container should have enough room for the batter to ferment. Consistency of batter should not be too thick or too thin. Ferment the batter for overnight or at least 9 to10 hrs or until fermented.
  6. Mix the fermented batter once (don’t try to stir/mix too much). Now it is ready for making idly. If you are not going to use it immediately, then refrigerate the batter.

Samai arisi idli process 1

Samai arisi idli

Making of samai idli:

  1. Heat enough water in the idly pot, grease the idly platter with little oil or ghee (for kids) and then take a scoop of batter and fill in the idly platter. Once you see steam from the idly pot, place the idly platter and close it with a lid.
  2. Steam for 9 to 10 mins. Using fork or toothpick you can check whether it is done or not. If it is done, then remove platter from the pot . Either allow them to cool for 5mins or you can turn over the idly platter and show it in the cold running water.
  3. Remove idly from the platter and transfer it to a hot pack. Samai idly is ready and now serve with sambar, chutney and idly podi.

Samai arisi idli process 2

Samai arisi idli


  • Little millet / samai may have small stones, so you have to be more cautious. Clean the stones before grinding.
  • The duration for fermentation may vary depending on the climatic conditions. In winter it may need longer time and in summer it may require less time to ferment. Always try to keep it in a warm place.
  • The consistency of the batter is also equally important. If your batter is too thin, then your idly will be flat. If your batter is thick, then your idly will be hard. That is the reason why you should add water little by little by checking the consistency.
  • You will get spongy idly only when your batter is nicely fermented. You will see lot of small bubbles in your batter and never forget to mix your fermented batter before pouring into the idly platter.
  • You need to take out the batter from refrigerator about 30 mins before you make idly. Mix well once before pour into idly platter.

Samai arisi idli


  1. Looks so soft & spongy.. Definitely a healthy idly..

  2. A very healthy breakfast!!! looks so soft...

  3. perefect idlis.they are spongy.why u used ice water,des it make difference in idlies ?

    1. Grinder or mixie will get hot while grinding which also heats up the batter, that leads to hard idlies. In order to avoid that we use ice water while grinding any batter.

  4. Saamai idis look very soft and spongy, that ice water tip is super Shanthi!

  5. Can you please tell me how to use panivaragu in recipes? I am interested in using it in idlis, vadas etc.

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I have never tried panivaragu so far. But I would suggest you to try idlies by just replacing idli rice in any idli recipe. For instance use samai arisi idli recipe and just replace samai arisi with panivaragu.

  6. hi,

    my mother used to grind for idli and dosa in the mixer and it used to be very fluffy and nice dosa she used to make. But I am unable to do so. how much time you grind the same in the mixer

    1. Hi Raji,
      When using mixer grinder you cannot say the exact time for grinding. Do not grind the flour for a long time, always give pause in between. Mixie will get hot while grinding which also heats up the batter, that leads to hard idlis. In order to avoid that, we use ice water while grinding any batter. Also, I add more poha / aval while using a mixer to make idlis soft and fluffy.

  7. Could you please tell how to remove the stones in saamai? Mine has white stones which are really difficult to spot


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