Millet (Bajra) Idli – Dosa

These days, everyone is looking to replace white rice in their diet. It becomes increasingly more difficult when making South Indian specialties such as idli and dosa, both of which are heavily rice based. This Millet Idli and Dosa recipe successfully replaces a majority of the rice with heart healthy, magnesium rich, hulled millet. Millet idlis are super soft and fluffy and the millet dosas are full-bodied and delicious. Double the batch to make two different meals out of one preparation!

Prep Time: Soaking – 4 hrs; Grinding – 10 mins; Fermenting – 8-24 hrs, depending on climate
Cook Time: approx 20 mins
Serves – 4


Hulled Millet – 1 cup
Urad Gota or Dal – 1/4 cup
Poha (Flattened Rice) – 1/3 cup soaked in 1/3 cup water
Warm Water – 4 cups, divided for soaking Millet and Urad
Water – 1 cup, divided into 1/4 cup portions for grinding
Kosher Salt – 1/2 tsp
Oil – for pan frying dosa or coating idli stand


1. Soak Millet and Urad Gota/Dal separately in luke warm water for 4 hours.
2. In the last 15 minutes of the 4 hours, soak Poha in 1/3 cup water.
3. In a grinder, add drained Urad, Poha and 1/4 cup water. Start grinding.
4. Add 1/4 cup and continue to grind to a smooth paste.
5. Add drained Millet and 1/4 cup water. Continue grinding.
6. Add remaining 1/4 cup water and grind to a smooth paste.
7. If using Kosher Salt, add it to the batter and mix well. If using iodized salt, wait to add salt until after fermentation.
8. Remove batter into a bowl, cover and allow it to ferment for 8-24 hours (until frothy and bubbly).
9. If making Idlis, lightly oil and fill idli stand with batter. Fill a pot with 1 inch water and allow it to come to a boil. Place idli stand in the pot, cover and steam for 15-16 minutes.
10. Remove idlis carefully from stand and serve immediately.
10. If making dosas, heat a skillet or cast iron tawa and lightly coat with oil. Remove excess oil carefully with a paper towel.
11. Drop a small amount of batter in the center of the skillet and using the flat side of a ladle or bowl, spread the batter outwards in circular motion.
12. Once the batter is no longer wet, drizzle a little oil over the top.
13. Once the edges look light brown, the dosa can either be flipped or served as is, immediately.
14. Both Idli and Dosa can be enjoyed with Coconut Chutney, Sambar or Chutney Powder.

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51 thoughts on “Millet (Bajra) Idli – Dosa

  1. Hi Ladies,

    This recipe is quite often repeated in my kitchen now. It comes out good every time. I add more aval and coriander leaves for griding. They turn softer. Arbi pulusu from vahrevah goes very well with these idlis.


  2. The best idlis…better than rava ones..Even my one year old liked it..It smelled and tasted yum.I got hulled millet from the Russian aisle..did not what it said but it was similar to what was shown in the video and it worked very well.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  3. I tried this recipe last week but accidentally used jowar insteadof hulled millet. The dosas still turned out great. I have another batch fermenting right now. This time I used hulled millet. Let’s see how it turns out ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hetal & Anuja, have you tried urad-moong daal idlis? They turn out awesome too. Use equal amounts of moong and whole urad (the one you used here). Rest of the process is pretty much same as the one you used here.

  4. Hi Girls,

    I have been looking for hulled millet, but can’t get here in sydney, i found Varagu Rice web search says its millet in Telgu it is know as Varagu ??? is it true???

    Thanks & regards,


    1. Hi Rathu,

      The idli stand is from India but the cooker is just a plain stock pot…I think I purchased it from Kohl’s some years back.

  5. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Can we store this like i make other Batter and store for future week, and it does not require Methi Seeds????

    Thanks & regards,

    1. Hi Prati,

      Methi seeds are not necessary but you can add them if you like. The batter will remain in the fridge for about 1 week. You can also pre-make the idlis and freeze them. To heat, just steam them.

  6. hi hetal n anuja
    i’m on diet n i’m looking replacement for rice in all recipes…being a south indian cant think of skipping idly
    n dosa…when i came across this i was really happy n finally tried it today…it was very tasty…i didnt miss rice when having the dosa…it tasted similar to adai dosa…thanks so much for sharing such a yummy recipe…

    keep rocking….

  7. Loved this recipe, it was soo awsome, thank you thank you for coming up with this healthy version for dosa ๐Ÿ™‚ and idli.

  8. hi,
    I have one question.Are millets and Jowar both are same?when I search in Internet it is showing that millets meaning is Jowar only.and Bajra meaing is something different.Please clear my doubt.

  9. hi hetal and anuja iam just past six months iam watching your recipes thank you so much for your way of cooking it is easier for me to learn .and for pizzas you are using rapid rice yeast instead shall i use normal yeast or not please do reply iam waiting because here i couldnot get that since it is a village cum town so plz reply. and my hearty wishes for u and cooking
    i like u both very much

    thank you

    1. Hi Luthufia,

      The difference between rapid rise and regular yeast is that you do not have to let the rapid rise yeast rise 2 times. When it rises once, you can proceed with your recipe. If using regular yeast, you must let the dough rise 2 times. Also, regular yeast must be proofed, meaning that you must dissolve it in warm water and sugar and let it foam up for about 5-10 minutes before using.

  10. hi hetal,anuja

    my husband is asked to have a meal planned (breakfast) for 25 of american clients in his office in regrades to Diwali celebration(paramount pictures). plz give us an idea on what to buy.And since its in the conference hall they do have a condition that the item presented should not be reheated it should be easy to serve.
    generally they use to serve typical american breakfast that does not require please give me a good breakfast idea.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Maha,

      Unfortunately, all the recipes that I can think of need to served hot or at least warm. Sooji Upma or Sevia Upma would be the easiest to make in a large batch. You may want to invest in a chaffing dish. They are pretty reasonable priced around $10 for a disposable one. This way, you can keep the food warm without plugging in anything.

  11. Hi Hetal & Anuja, I love this recipe. I am going to try it.I made Oats Dosa using ur recipe and they came out yummy!! Thanks for all the healthy recipes …you guys rock!!

  12. Hi I am a big fan of your show. And I have got all stuff ready to make those idlis but just wondering what type of bowl should I use to soak and ferment hulled millet and dal. Should I go for glass or stainless steel bowl. Please answer my query . I want it to make it for my husband and kids because it very healthy and gluten free. I want my kids to enjoy variety of healthy food. Thank you for doing such a wonderful show.

    1. Hi, It doesn’t really matter. I always soak it in stainless steel bowl/pot and sometimes in glass bowl too.. I guess plastic works too.

  13. Wow,seeing this recipe makes me wan to eat a home-made dosa, even though it’s the middle of the night! TGF packet mixes ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Hi Hetal & Anuja

    What a wonderful recipe !!! I had bajra flour in shelf for sometime and was thinking of alternative uses …thanks to u both for posting this recipe.

    Can u please tell me, how much bajra flour should be used with same amount of poha and urad gota as I want to use flour instead of whole bajra.

    Many thanks for ur website .. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Look forward to many more healthy recipes.


    1. Hi Shweta,

      Unfortunately, we have not tried this recipe with bajra flour. I can tell you from past experience with using rice flour and urad flour (for traditional idli/dosa), it didn’t work for me. I have only tried it once and at some point will have to revisit it.



    1. Hi np,

      Unfortunately, we have not tried this recipe with bajra flour. I can tell you from past experience with using rice flour and urad flour (for traditional idli/dosa), it didnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt work for me. I have only tried it once and at some point will have to revisit it.

  16. Fantastic H & A… loved it.. will definitely try it out… in my house, there is no week that I don’t have dosa batter..LOL..

    1. Hi Kanwal,

      This particular cast iron tawa is from India. They are available here in the US as well. Check stores like Macy’s or Kohl’s, or you can search online for “cast iron skillet”.

    1. Hi Vidya,

      No, ragi and jowar are different from bajra. The English name for bajra is millet and raji is finger millet. We have not tried this recipe with either of the two.

      1. Hi! Hetal,

        I have made idlis and dosas with bajra, jowar and ragi using the same propotions. It has always come out very well.



        1. Hi Vidya,
          Can you please describe your recipe in more detail? I am looking for recipes with grains other than wheat and rice. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  17. Hi Hetal, Anuja,

    Once again a hit from your end ๐Ÿ™‚ Just a question about Bajra- I have never seen hulled bajra, i have a grey looking bajra in my pantry ( the one we use for making bajra rotla) and i am wondering if i can use this for idlis.


    1. Hi Urvi,

      We bought the hulled millet from our local health food store (Sprouts). We have not tried this recipe with unhulled millet. If you try it, we’d love to hear your feedback. Thanks!

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