How to make Idli/Dosa batter in the Vitamix

My husband and I recently invested in a Vitamix. The Vitamix, which most people might think of as an expensive blender, is a high-quality food preparation machine that can pretty much do it all. Its high price point definitely reflects that, which is one of the only off-putting things about this amazingly versatile kitchen tool. As a person who values simple and frugal living —  why would we ever think about buying one of these newfangled, trendy machines?

The main reason: after many years of regular and consistent use, our blender broke. We prepare a lot of food which requires grinding/pureeing, and the blender we were using (which was decades old) just couldn’t take it any more. We decided it was time to upgrade.

The other reasons:

  • It enables us to make more of our own food at home (which is healthier and reduces the amount of waste we produce in the form of food packaging).
  • It is convenient. (The idea of preparing the food we choose to eat using manual methods is romantic and is something I am happy to consider doing one day, but it is not practical for our lifestyle right now.)
  • We wanted to be able to grind idli/dosa batter.

Idli/dosa batter is typically made in a wet grinder, which is a tabletop kitchen appliance that uses granite plates to grind grains into pastes and batters. They are hard to find in the USA and costly to ship from India; importing one is almost as much as one of those fancy Vitamix machines. When we considered that, we thought, “Wait a minute… can you use a Vitamix to make idli/dosa batter?”

After my husband brought one home for Christmas, we  immediately started the preparations for making our own idli/dosa batter.

How to prepare idli/dosa batter in the Vitamix: 

  1. Measure the urad dal and idli rice (we use 1 cup dal & 4 cups rice). Place in separate vessels and soak for a few hours (edited to add: don’t soak for too long or the whole grains will ferment in the bowl and the batter won’t rise). Soak a spoonful of fenugreek seeds for color if using mainly for dosa.
  2. ‘Pulse’ the dal with a little bit of water until the batter is smooth. Pulsing (as opposed to blending) is done because continuous blending can warm/cook the batter. You should pulse for 2-3 minutes. (Warm batter is okay; hot is not.)
  3. ‘Pulse’ the rice in a similar way until silky smooth.
  4. In a large vessel, hand-stir the dal & rice batter together. The vessel should be large because the batter will ferment and rise.
  5. The batter prep is now done — now let the batter rest for a minimum of 8 hours (up to 24 hours if possible).
  6. When ready to use, add salt to taste. Refrigerate unused batter.

If you live in a cold climate (the ambient temperature in your house is below 80 degrees), you will need to put your batter somewhere warm. This usually means inside of an oven or by a warm radiator. Check out this post for more tips — I found it helpful after researching why our batter wasn’t rising on the countertop.

How to ferment idli/dosa batter in cold weather:

  1. Heat the oven until it’s warm, around 85-90 degrees F (30-32 degrees C). It’s not important to measure it exactly if you roughly know what 85 degrees feels like.
  2. Turn off the oven.
  3. Place the vessel of batter inside the oven. We partially covered ours with a loose plate but I don’t know if that’s necessary or not.
  4. Turn on the oven light (will help maintain the temperature).
  5. Let batter rest in the oven for eight hours. Try not to peek or you will let most of the warm air out and it wont’t rise as much.
  6. When ready, properly-fermented batter should have about about 25-50% more volume than when it was fresh as well as air bubbles on the surface.

When you are ready to make idli/dosa or any of their permutations, give the fermented batter a good stir and have fun cooking! 🙂


Fun for all ages!


3 thoughts on “How to make Idli/Dosa batter in the Vitamix

  1. Can you please tell which model vitamix are you are using? also what does ‘pulse’ mean?does it mean using “variable” speed?

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