Makes 2 3/4 cups idli batter, or about 12 pancakes | Active Prep Time: 5 minutes | Inactive Prep Time: 48 hrs | Cook Time: ~12 min

Idli 1.jpg

Our family is obsessed with this batter, which we use most often for pancakes or as a base for savory toppings and pizza! This recipe is adapted from the traditional Indian Idli, which is made from fermented rice and mung dal. Fenugreek seeds are commonly added for flavor and to help with digestion. For this recipe you will need a high-powered blender. Play with the quantity of water you add to the fermented batter to yield the Idli you want! You can make the batter thin for crepes or thick for lathering with toppings like ghee or tahini with cinnamon and honey. We like to top ours with Coconut Fudge Sauce and roasted walnuts, or yogurt with maple syrup.


1 cup brown basmati rice

½ cup yellow mung dal beans

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)

¾ cup to 1 ½ cups water

6 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee

Preheat your oven to the warm setting to keep the idli warm between batches. 

Combine the mung dal and rice in a glass jar or bowl and cover with double the volume of water. Soak for at least 8 hours (from morning to night or overnight). 

After soaking, rinse the mung dal and rice with cold water in a fine mesh strainer, rinsing until the water runs clear. 

Transfer the mung dal, rice, and ½ cup of water to a high-powered blender and whiz on low speed until the dal and rice are ground. The batter will be thick. Then, while using the tamper (the stick with which you can push down the blender contents), add ¼ cup of water at a time until you’ve added a total of ¾ cups. As the batter becomes easier to blend, increase the speed until the batter is smooth. It should feel grainy when rubbed between your fingers, like fine, wet sand.

Then, transfer the idli batter to a wide, large bowl or wide, large glass jar or container. (I like to transfer it to a glass vessel so that I can see how much the batter has risen.) Cover the vessel with cheesecloth or a thin tea towel and seal it around the mouth with a rubber band. Allow the batter to ferment for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours. After that, you can seal your vessel or jar and transfer it to the refrigerator to store for up to 3 days.

To prepare your idli, stir in a tablespoon of water at a time until you have your desired thickness. Then, melt 3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee in a large cast iron skillet. When the oil is very hot, add three heaping spoonfuls of batter, spreading it out with the back of the spoon to form a round pancake. Leave an inch between pancakes so you’ll have room to flip them. Cook for 3-5 min on the first side, until the edges look cooked and begin to brown, and the batter begins to bubble. Flip the pancakes and cook for about 1-2 minutes on the opposite side. Transfer the idli to an oven-safe plate or baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining batter. 

These are best served warm (though you can always reheat leftovers on a pan, oven, or toaster oven). Serve with roasted nuts and Coconut Fudge Sauce for drizzling over top. 

Wrap leftovers in foil and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Yield: ½ cup sauce | Prep time: 2 minutes

This decadent chocolate sauce disguises a healthy elixir that you can drizzle over pancakes, breakfast porridge, add to a smoothie, or blend with warm nut milk for a rich and satisfying cocoa drink.

Note: The coconut cream and milk should come from a full fat can of coconut milk. The coconut cream in the ingredient list refers to the thick white cream that has risen to the top. The coconut milk refers to the liquid part of the milk.


½ cup coconut cream + 1 tablespoon coconut milk

1 tablespoon bittersweet cocoa (or cacao) powder

1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder (optional)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ to ½ teaspoon stevia powder to taste

1 teaspoon water (or more to taste)

Combine the ingredients in a small pot over medium heat and whisk until fully incorporated and warm.

Add a teaspoon of water at a time until the mixture is a pourable consistency.

Drizzle warm.

Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The sauce will harden. You can either scoop out some of the sauce to add to smoothies, or reheat the sauce before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Emma Frisch. Get her beautiful book Feast by Firelight for all of your gourmet cooking in the outdoors recipes (I use them for home too!)