Start by making the homemade Idli batter using this recipe.
Grease each compartment of the Idli mold plate well with ghee or oil. Greasing ensures that the idlis do not stick to the mold and come off easily once cooked. Then add 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter in each section. Repeat for all of the plates and then stack them on the rack.
Add water to the main Instant Pot insert and press saute button to heat the water. Once the water comes to a gentle boil, carefully place the Idli stand in the Instant Pot.
Close the Instant Pot with the pressure release valve to venting. This is very important as we want to steam the idli and not pressure cook them. Press the steam button and set an external timer for 12 minutes. Once the timer goes off, turn off the Instant Pot, allow five minutes of natural pressure release, and then open the Instant Pot lid.
Carefully take out the rack using heat-resistant mitts. Separate individual plate and allow them to cool down for a couple of mins on the countertop. Use a butter knife or spoon to gently scoop out the idli. Starting from the outer edges and gently working your way to the center of each mold
After removing the idli there should not be any dough sticking to the plates. If you see a lot of dough being stuck you may want to wash the plates before proceeding with the next batch of idlis. Note: The leftover batter is also perfect to make crispy Dosa or Uttapam.
If you do not have an Instant Pot, you can also steam Idlis using a stovetop pressure cooker or steamer:
Bring one and a half cups of water to a gentle simmer in the main pot or pressure cooker
Place the Idli stand inside. Put a non-locking lid on top and cook for 20 minutes on medium-high heat
Check for the doneness using a toothpick making sure that it comes out clean from the middle of the idli
Turn the heat off and take out the idli stand after 10 minutes.
Use the exact proportions of rice and lentils for making the batter. Make sure that your batter is neither too thick nor too thin. My idli batter recipe explains this in detail
Make sure the idli batter is at room temperature before making idlis. Idlis come out best with freshly fermented batter. If you have refrigerated the batter, make sure to take it our 1 to 2 hours before making the idli
Remember to add water to the Instant Pot. Allow it to heat up on saute mode as you begin spooning the batter into the idli molds. Insert the Idli stand in the Instant Pot once the water comes to a gentle boil
Secure the Instant Pot lid. Make sure to keep the pressure release valve to Venting instead of sealing. Set your external timer for 12 minutes when you start the steam function. Remember Instant Pot countdown time does not work on venting mode.
Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.