Baked Rava Idli and Potato Curry

There’s nothing like those few dishes that your mum/family makes that you just have cravings for once in a while.

This particular dish was something that had been on my tongue, and mind, for weeks!

Before you go too far into this post and feel a craving coming on, you are going to need some fairly specific ingredients so be prepared to commit.

Rava Idli has a fairly rich history in India, specifically Karnataka (where I’m from). Quite a popular breakfast food, because it’s warm, savoury, fills you up, but doesn’t make you feel super full to the point of food coma. Rava (Semolina) is used in many dishes across India, sweet and savoury. According to Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR, a popular eating place, and provider of ready mixes etc), during World War II, when rice which is the staple item used in idli was in short supply, they experimented in making idli using semolina and created Rava Idli.

The potato curry (saagu, as we call it) that goes with it is a tasty addition that adds a bit of warmth and heartiness and a feeling of home that is unforgettable.

I have a very particular and unending love for both rava idli and rava dosa, they provide a taste and feeling of being full, without the weight that rice related dishes can make you feel after a meal.

Now, idli’s are usually pressure cooked, and yes as I’ve mentioned before I do own a pressure cooker, however a) I do not have the idli pans to put inside it to cook them and b) the pressure cooker is fairly small.

So now, I’ve swapped techniques, essentially, as I’ve pressure cooked cake and baked idli’s.

…And you may see another recipe soon, that has been brewing in my mind for the same amount of time as the craving, which has the curry inside the rava idli, like Rava Idli Popper perhaps?!

What you’ll need

Rava Idli

  • MTR Rava Idli mix or your family/favourite internet recipe
  • Homemade curd, that has gone sour OR Greek yoghurt
  • Grated carrot (12 cup max)
  • Cashews ( 6 split in half lengthwise)
  • Coriander leaves

Potato Saagu

Disclaimer: This is the MTR Recipe, with a few very minor differences. Different people have different methods of making this, this is the way we make it at home (I’m pretty sure) but I had to miss a few ingredients that I didn’t have. Anything in square brackets is something I didn’t have. It turned out pretty similar to home!

  • 250 grams potatoes (3 big or 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • [1 teaspoon urad dal (split and husked black gram)]
  • [1 teaspoon chana dal (split and husked bengal gram]
  • 100 grams onion ( 1 big/ 2 small onions)
  • 1 or 2 green chillies (be careful with these, I used frozen indian green chilli, and they are quite hot, for those with a sensitivity to chilli use 1 max)
  • ½ inch ginger (1 tsp minced/chopped ginger, I always like to use a little more)
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves
  • 1 small tomato or 3 tbsp slightly thinned tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 teaspoon besan
  • 25 cups water (and a bit more depending on how long you cook. Your preference of consistency)
  • salt as required
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves



Rava Idli

  1. Preheat oven to 180o Boil the kettle and in a large oven proof dish place the hot water and place this dish in the oven. It creates somewhat of a steam bath which keep some moisture in the idlies. If you have the ability to create a water bath for your muffin pan DO IT!
  2. Mix Rava Idli as per the instructions on the packet. (Note: I used greek yoghurt and thinned it slightly in order to get the desired consistency. I also added a little extra water as baking takes moisture out of the idli, where a pressure cooker would leave the moisture in)
  3. Spoon mixture into a well-greased muffin pan, or use patty pans if you’ve got a fairly old pan which things stick to
  4. Top with grated carrot, coriander leaves
  5. In the middle of each idli place one piece of cashew
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes

Potato Saagu

  1. Rinse 3 to 4 medium potatoes very well and then boil or steam them in a pressure cooker. If pressure cooking, then pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles.
  2. When the potatoes are still warm, peel and crumble them. You can use a masher, but don’t go too far with it
  3. In a pan heat oil. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  4. [When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add 1 tsp urad dhal and 1 tsp chana dhal.]
  5. [Stir and sauté till the dhals become golden.]
  6. Add onion. Sauté the onions till translucent. (Note I like to blend my onions chilli and ginger together down to a fine paste for ease of cooking and so because I can’t tolerate the onion being even slightly raw)
  7. Add green chilies, ginger and curry leaves.
  8. Add tomatoes.
  9. Sauté until the oil slightly separates from the mixture and then add ¼ tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of asafoetida.
  10. Mix and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes.
  11. Add besan/gram flour.
  12. Mix the besan very well and sauté for a minute.
  13. Add water. Stir and mix well.
  14. Bring the entire mixture to a gentle boil.
  15. Add the crumbled potatoes.
  16. Mix the potatoes with the rest of the curry.
  17. Season with salt. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on a low flame for 7 to 8 minutes or more till the gravy thickens. Check and stir once or twice when simmering. (Note: this is the point where I added a little more water and let it simmer for some more time with the lid half open to allow steam to escape)
  18. The gravy should have a medium consistency and should not be thick or thin. A slight thin consistency is also fine.
  19. Check the taste and add more salt if required.
  20. Add chopped coriander leaves and switch off the flame.

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