Soft fluffy idlis that are instant [not fermented] and made with semolina flour. This vegan version of the traditional Mauritian idli recipe is much lighter and spongier with no added oil.
Mauritian idlis are small soft steamed cakes made with semolina flour. Not quite dissimilar to Indian idlis, the Mauritian ones that I know of however exist only as the sweet version and are not fermented. Indian idlis call for various grains and more often rice grinded and mixed into a batter that is then fermented for several hours prior to cooking. Savoury idlis do find their way into my meals, as I have grown a liking for them after experimenting with a few versions of my own (more on this to come). However, the sweet fluffy idlis that I grew up on are instant ones that are made in less than 15 minutes, prep and steaming time included. They are traditionally not vegan but can be veganised in a breeze just by substituting the dairy for plant-based milk.
My version is yet lighter and spongier than the traditional Mauritian idlis. You may optionally add in a tablespoon of coconut oil or vegan butter for a richer cake. Nowadays, I can’t help sweetening my idlis with maple syrup. Living in Canada just makes this heavenly sweetener easily available. In this recipe I’ve decided to go with granular cane sugar like Demerara or Turbinado just to keep it as close to the original Mauritian recipe as possible.
Idlis are mostly enjoyed at breakfast time. They go down a treat savoured with a cup of afternoon tea.
Where to buy idli stand/mould?
Idli moulds can be found at some Indian grocery stores. You can also find them online in the US here (comes with the cooking pot) or Canada here (idli stand only). Idli moulds have little holes in the trays and cavities that allow the steam to circulate thus lending a fluffier texture to the idlis. However, you may also use small stainless steel bowls, small ceramic bowls or ramekins or silicon cupcake liners placed on a steamer rack.
Idlis can be made in advance. They will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days and can be frozen for longer. To reheat, just place them on a steamer rack (no need to use the idli mould) and steam for 5 – 7minutes until warm.
Watch the video.
The video is the 1st episode of a totally new series of videos entitled Spontaneous Cooking for the Soul which is geared towards a more unplanned cooking.
We came up with this series which we will publish in addition to our usual videos on YouTube and this series will be more about recipes that we cook on a daily basis. So, when we can and when spontaneity kicks in, we will just grab our camera and start filming with a more natural approach and without all the meticulous planning, cuts and other editings. This way you’ll not only be able to enjoy more videos from us, since some of you have requested more frequent uploads, but at the same time you will get a better sense of what goes on in our kitchen.
These videos are going to be a little longer than our usual videos with fewer cuts depending on recipes and it is in the perfect pace in case you would want to be cooking along with us. If you are not, please make yourself cozy with a nice cup of tea and some snacks, sit back, relax and watch.
Mauritian Sweet Idli Recipe
Ingredients (12 idlis)
1 cup [180g] fine or medium semolina flour (also known as “farine greo” in Mauritius, use [brown] rice flour for gluten-free)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granular cane sugar (Demerara or Turbinado, or substitute with 3 tablespoons maple syrup*, see notes)
1 tablespoon fine desiccated coconut flakes (optional)
1/2 cup [125 ml] canned coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk**, see notes)
1/2 cup [125 ml] water (see notes)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Coconut flakes for dusting (optional)
Oil for greasing the mould
*Reduce the milk or water by 2 tablespoons if using maple syrup
**You may use other plant-based milk or homemade coconut milk. In this case, replace the water with more milk.
Grease the idli mould or ramekins/bowls. (If using silicon liners, skip the greasing). Set aside.
Place about 2 cups of water in a tall pot* and place on medium-high heat.
In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients (semolina flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and coconut flakes). Whisk and mix well.
Add in the wet ingredients (the plant-based milk, the water and vanilla essence). Mix well into a smooth batter.
Place about a tablespoon of batter into each cavity. Do not overfill as the idli will rise.
Place the idli stand in the pot. Cover and steam for 11 minutes (not more!).
Turn off the heat and let the steam go down for about 30 seconds before uncovering.
Let stand in the pot until cool enough to remove the mould.
Remove the idlis from the mould.
Optionally, toss them in some coconut flakes.
Serve with a cup of spiced tea.
*You may also use an instant pot or pressure cooker. Remove the vent weight (the whistle knob) in this case.
Mauritian Idli Recipe [Vegan] - Sweet Semolina Steamed Cakes
- 180 g fine or medium semolina flour, [1 cup] also known as "farine greo" in Mauritius, use [brown] rice flour for gluten-free
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granular cane sugar, Demerara or Turbinado, or substitute with 3 tablespoons maple syrup*, see notes
- 1 tablespoon fine desiccated coconut flakes, optional
- 125 ml canned coconut milk, [1/2 cup] or other non-dairy milk**, see notes
- 125 ml water, [1/2 cup] **see notes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Coconut flakes for dusting, optional
- Oil for greasing the mould
- Grease the idli mould or ramekins/bowls. (If using silicon liners, skip the greasing). Set aside.
- Place about 2 cups of water in a tall pot* and place on medium-high heat.
- In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients (semolina flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and coconut flakes). Whisk and mix well.
- Add in the wet ingredients (the plant-based milk, the water and vanilla essence). Mix well into a smooth batter.
- Place about a tablespoon of batter into each cavity. Do not overfill as the idli will rise.
- Place the idli stand in the pot (***see notes). Cover and steam for 11 minutes (not more!).
- Turn off the heat and let the steam go down for about 30 seconds before uncovering.
- Let stand in the pot until cool enough to remove the mould.
- Remove the idlis from the mould.
- Optionally, toss them in some coconut flakes.
- Serve with a cup of spiced tea.