Hands On!

My Deepavali Breakfast

‘Little India’ is all decked out in dazzling finery to welcome the Festival of Lights, or Deepavali. For those celebrating Deepavali, the week before the festive day will be the busiest – running errands, spring cleaning and shopping of course! 🙂


On the actual day itself, there is a lot to be done as well – from laying out the festive sweets, getting dressed and heading to the temple, and serving guests who visit our home. So breakfast is very important to keep the energy levels up, and many families have traditional Indian breakfasts on this day.

My family’s favourite is idili, or steamed rice cakes. A lot of non-Indians also love these healthy fluffy idilis available from many hawker centres and eateries around Singapore. Here is my recipe for making idilis for you to try. Depending on your preference you can enjoy the soft, pillowy idilis with either chutney or curry. 🙂



  • 4 cups idli rice
  • 1 cup urad dhal 1 cup
  • 1 fistful rice flakes (Poha)
  • Water and salt, as needed

You will need an idili steamer (this, as well as the ingredients can be bought from shops in Little India) and a food processor/ blender.



  1. Wash rice, urad dhal and rice flakes and soak them in enough water for a minimum of 4 hours. You can soak them overnight if you wish too.
  2. Drain the water and then grind the rice, urad dhal and rice flakes using a food processor. The drained water can be used when grinding. Do remember to add water at regular intervals when grinding.
  3. The consistency of the batter should not be too thick. You can add the salt to the batter and mix it in.

Tip: If you do not have much time to grind the batter, you can skip steps 1 to 3 and buy an idili pre-mix from the shops in Little India.

  1. Keep the batter in a container and let it ferment for 8 to 10 hours.


  1. Thereafter, use a ladle to mix the batter well.
  2. Fill up the idli steamer with 1 cup of water and let the water boil.
  3. Place a damp white muslin cloth over the idili plate (this gives the idilis a nice texture). Pour ¾ of a ladle of idli batter into each mould and steam for 8 to 9 minutes.


  1. To check for done-ness use a toothpick to check that it is not sticky. If it is cooked, switch off the flame and take out the idili plate.


  1. Remove the idli plate and invert it over a serving plate. Sprinkle some water over the cloth and slowly separate the cloth from the idlis.

You can try making them and let us know if you enjoyed the dish via mynicehome@mailbox.hdb.gov.sg 🙂

Wishing all Hindus a very Happy Deepavali! Take part in our Deepavali contest and you might be one of 3 lucky winners!

By Priya Shandhini
October 27, 2016

You may also be interested in:

Sweets of Deepavali

Celebrating A Colourful Deepavali


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