Samai Idli | Little Millet Idli

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Samai Idli
Samai IdliSamai Idli RecipeLittle Millet Idli RecipeChama Ari Idli RecipeSamai Idli RecipeLittle Millet Idli

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Idli is one of the healthiest and most comfort breakfast recipe which is soft, fluffy and tasty. Usually idli is prepared with rice and urad dal which is ground and fermented before steaming. Fermentation and steaming, makes idli a super delicious and healthy breakfast. As a variation to our regular rice idli, here is a idli recipe with little millet/samai idli which is also soft, fluffy and delicious too.

Millets known as siridhanya was a staple food in India since many years ago and was completely forgotten for quite some times now. Millets can be a good alternative for rice and can be used in preparing various delicious recipes. They are gluten free, rich in fiber, magnesium, protein, minerals and hence can be helpful in maintaining weight, blood pressure, controls diabetes and it also promotes heart health.

Little Millet also known as samai, samulu, kutki, chama etc. is one of the popular millet which is very similar to rice. Samai idli is a soft and fluffy idli which is prepared by replacing rice with the millet. The preparation is very similar to our regular rice idli. Adding poha or sago pearls gives softness to samai idli. The ground idli batter can be used to prepare samai dosa and samai paddu too. Samai idli can be served with coconut chutney and sambar.

Do include moderate quantity of millets in your daily diet along with other grains and vegetables to maintain your overall health. You can try our millet recipes like ragi idli, ragi dosa, ragi idiyappam, ragi mudde, navane pongal, millet-dal dosa, samai upma, navane payasam, navane sweet paddu, eggless ragi banana cake.



2 cups little millet/chama ari/samai

½ cup urad dal

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

¼ cup poha/avalakki/Aval or sago pearls (sabakki/sabudana/chovari)




  • Wash and soak little millet in a bowl of clear water. Same way, rinse urad dal and soak it along with fenugreek seeds separately in a bowl. Let millet, urad dal+fenugreek seeds soak for 4-5 hours.
  • Also rinse poha/Aval/avalakki and soak it for 30 minutes before you start grinding. If using sago pearls, soak it along with little millet for 4-5 hours. Drain water from samai, urad dal and poha or sago pearls (sabudana/sabakki) before grinding.
  • Transfer the soaked and drained urad dal+fenugreek seeds into a wet grinder or mixer jar. Grind it to light and fluffy batter by adding water little by little at intervals. Once urad dal is ground to fine fluffy batter, transfer it to a large deep bowl.
  • To the same grinder or mixer jar, add soaked and drained samai along with poha/avalakki or sago (sabudana) and grind to slightly coarse paste. Add water little at times while grinding.
  • Transfer the ground samai+poha or sago paste to the bowl containing urad dal batter. Add salt and mix well with your hands or by using a ladle. The batter should not be too thick or thin.
  • Cover the vessel with a lid and allow it to ferment in a warm place for about 8-10 hours or overnight. Fermentation time will vary with the climatic condition of the place you live in.
  • After fermentation, the batter would have doubled in size. Mix it very well with a ladle. If you are not using the entire batter at once, take the required batter and refrigerate the remaining batter in an airtight container for later use.
  • Add enough water in an idli steamer/pot and bring to boil. Grease idli plates with little oil or ghee. Pour idli batter into each idli mould and place it in the steamer. Steam idlis for 8-10 minutes or until done.
  • To check if the idlis are done, insert a tooth pick into the steamed idli. If it comes out clean, idlis are done and if it sticks to the tooth pick, steam it for few more minutes.
  • Remove idli plates from the steamer and rest it for few minutes. Dip a spoon in water and gently remove idlis from the mould. Transfer it to a serving bowl.
  • Serve hot Little millet idli/Samai idli with coconut chutney or tiffin sambar.


  • The consistency of idli batter is very important to get soft and fluffy samai idli. So grind urad dal into a light, smooth and fluffy batter by adding little water at intervals.
  • Adding poha/avalakki or sago pearls gives a soft texture to samai idlis
  • Fermentation time will vary depending on the climatic conditions of the place you live in. Keep the batter bowl in a warmer place.
  • Salt can be added while grinding the batter or after fermentation too.
  • Samai idli batter can be used to prepare samai dosa, samai paddu and samai uthappam.
  • Refrigerate the remaining batter in an airtight container for later use. Bring the batter into room temperature before use, else idli may become hard and chewy.
  • Little millet can be replaced with other millets like foxtail millet (navane), barnyard millet (oodalu), kodo millet (Arka) etc.

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Healthy Samai Idli Recipe | Little Millet Idli Recipe | Chama Ari Idli - IndiRecipes
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4 Responses

  1. Alice says:

    Recipe looks interesting; but Samai, its new to me! A Pic might help to know what is it! Thank you

  2. Alice says:

    Recipe looks interesting; but Samai, its new to me! A Pic might help to know what is it!