Horse gram Idli

Horse gram crops are usually grown in drought-hit parts of India particularly in South India, and both the beans & hay are used as fodder mainly for horses. Since horse gram is considered a nutritional powerhouse, it is normally recommended for workmen or sportsmen who involve themselves in physically challenging activities, but for others it may be consumed in small quantity. So I used to make horse gram idli or dosa specially when my son actively participates in sports, and I also like to include horse gram into our diet during winter or monsoon as it is useful to keep our body warm in this season.

horse-gram-idli-scaled Horse gram Idli
Horse gram idli

Generally we use horse gram to prepare condiments like idli powder or chutney (dip) that we take in small quantities. Besides we use horsegram to make soup (kollu rasam), idli, or dosa that are easily digestible.

kollu-idli-dosa Horse gram Idli
Spongy idly, soft uthappam & crispy dosa using horse gram batter

Horse gram idli/ dosa goes well with spicy onion chutney with enticing flavors of locally grown herbs like curry leaves, coriander leaves, or mint leaves. Here I have prepared chutney using onion & curry leaves and served along with coconut chutney and shallot sambar.

chutney-for-kollu-idli-scaled Horse gram Idli
Spicy onion-curry leaves chutney, a perfect chutney for horse gram idli

Horse gram idli/ dosa batter:

Normally we prepare idli batter using rice & black gram, but due to the high foaming properties of horse gram we may either replace black gram with horse gram, or use both in equal portions. Here I have used both in equal portions so that I could make fluffy idli as well as crispy dosa. If we don’t add black gram then the batter turns out to be too foamy that it does not rise up when steamed and hence these idli turn flat & unpalatable. But if we prefer to make dosa alone with this batter, then there is no need to add black gram.

horse-gram-scaled Horse gram Idli
Horse gram


Idli rice5 cups (approx. 1000 g)*
Horse gram (kollu/ kaanam paruppu)1/2 cup (approx. 100 g)
Black gram (muzhu ulundhu)1/2 cup (approx. 100 g)
Fenugreek seeds (vendhayam)**2 tbsp (optional)
Salt2 tbsp
Water required for rice batter4 cups (800 ml)
Water required for lentil batter2 and 1/2 cups (500 ml)

*Generally lentils & rice are used in the ratio of 1:4 for making idli, but for horse gram idli I used them at 1:5 and grind them using wet grinder, and we may have to reduce the same to 1:3 while using mixer grinder.

** Since horse gram generates heat inside our body, we can add fenugreek seeds to reduce the body heat particularly during summer. But during winter/ monsoon it is not required to add fenugreek seeds in here.

kollu-idli-ingredients-scaled Horse gram Idli

How to prepare horse gram idli batter:

1Wash rice and soak for 4 hours.
Add black gram, horse gram & fenugreek seeds into another bowl
Wash & soak them for 4 hours.
2Grind the lentil mixture using wet grinder until smooth & foamy (takes about 25-30 minutes).
Transfer the batter to a mixing vessel and keep it covered.
3Grind rice until smooth approximately for 20 minutes .
Pour into the lentil batter, add salt & mix well.
4Keep the vessel covered for 8 hours for fermentation.
Mix the fermented batter well using a ladle.
Store the batter in a canister and refrigerate for a week.
kollu-idli-dosai-maavu Horse gram Idli
Horse gram idli batter

Horse gram idli/ dosa:

We can just pour the batter into the cavities of idli plate and steam them for 7-8 minutes. Also we can make soft fluffy uthappam or thin crispy dosa as shown below. Here I have made tomato uthappam and masala dosa (using savory potato filling).

kollu-idli-dosa-making Horse gram Idli
Horse gram idli, uthappam & dosa

You may check out my earlier posts for some useful tips for making perfect idli, dosa, and the batter.


While grinding horse gram it tends to spill over the wet grinder drum as the batter turns foamy. My wet grinder has the capacity to grind 300 grams of black gram, but even when I used 100 g of blcak gram & 100 g of horse gram, the batter reaches the maximum capacity of the drum as shown below.

kollu-maavu Horse gram Idli

75 comments on “Horse gram IdliAdd yours →

  1. This is very interesting and I don’t believe we have anything like this here in Canada. At least not among the friends I have here. The steamer for baking is also new to me. but this looks so good and also healthy.

    1. Yes, idli is a traditional & nutritious cake popular in South India. It is beneficial to improve the gut health, which in turn contributes to strong immunity, good digestion and healthy heart & brain.
      Thanks so much for your time.

  2. For regular two months I made idli every day for breakfast as it was suggested by the doctor for my husband. It has been a year and since then I have not steamed idlis in my kitchen, though I am ready to eat them in a restaurant.
    Your horse gram idli sounds so intresting that this week I am sure going to soak ingredients!!

  3. Thank you for a great recipe for this winter. I did not know that kollu froths so much while grinding. Can I reduce the amount of black gram or kollu to prevent any spilling? (just in case it does)

    1. I feel we should reduce the water to prevent the batter spilling over. Usually black gram needs water in the ratio of 1:3 whereas kollu needs it at 1:2, so when we combine both, we use more water and then kollu becomes too frothy which leads to spilling. You can also try by reducing both water & black gram for better results.
      Thank you,

  4. I am so curious after reading your description about horse gram. It sounds that it is good for people to stay warmer in the cold-temperature areas. My area is not too cold, but sometimes it gets very chilly for a few days… I hope I can find the ingredients and try to make it with your recipe! ^O^

    1. If you could find these beans, you can also try making soup with them. It would turn out to be a perfect winter soup. 🙂
      Thank you.

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