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Rice flour starter August 26, 2007

Posted by live2cook in Breakfast, Sour dough.

All of us who write food blogs cannot deny a fact that cooking a dish is easier than writing a post about the dish. Those days when we are brimming with energy, words pour and ease the flow of writing. The write up will be satisfactory. On other not so energetic days, we feel the lack of such flow.

“I know I can cook. But am I able to write about it aptly?” is one among the doubts that stops newbies like me to enter the food blog world. But yet another undeniable fact is, we will find some or the other reason for writing a post, during the course of blogging.

Similar to this, we all agree upon a thing that, a good routine, started for fun will turn into addiction that we find no reason to stop it.

Well! Coming to the point, I started the “Sourdough Starter” with Rice flour and was waiting for a reason to write about it. As most of my recent posts are about Sourdough starter and Idly, I was little hesitant to write about the “Rice Starter”. But when sharmi of Neivedyam announced “Rice” as the ingredient for the event Jihva For Ingredients, I couldn’t resist writing about it. πŸ˜€

So this is it! My entry for this month’s JFI is “Rice Starter“.

Why I established a rice starter? During my trial and error process of Bread baking, I came to know about celiac disease. I decided that some day I will explore “Gluten Free Baking” and create some recipes that will help those in need. As the first step towards that decision, I established the Rice starter.


1 Cup rice flour
1 cup water


1. Mix the flour and the water in a non metallic bowl.
2. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and keep in a warm, dry place.
3. Keep undisturbed until few bubbles appear on the surface of the batter which tells the start of the fermentation process.
4. when the flour mixture started fermenting, remove half cup from the mixture and mix in 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water
5. Continue the process for every 6 – 8 hours depending upon the time it takes to ferment again.
6. After 3 days of this process the starter will be ready and we can store it in the fridge.

Rice flour starter

Coffee from the spice cafe asked me why we remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and add the same amount of flour and water, while we establish a sourdough starter?

A starter gets the ability to raise the dough or batter, through aging. An aged starter means, it is well fermented and there are lots of living cultures in it which help the leavening process. We call the process of adding and removing of flour, water mixture as “Feeding”. To make a stater aged, we have to feed it frequently.

While learning to bake with gluten free flours, I thought of using the starter in recipes that I am confident about and that would never fail me. The wonder recipe is Idly πŸ˜‰ . I prepared “Sago Idly” with the rice starter.


1 cup Active Rice starter
1 cup Tapioca Pearls (Javvarisi, sago, sabudhana)
1/2 cup warm water
2-3 green chillies, chopped
5-6 Curry leaves, chopped
3 teaspoons Salt


1. Mix the Starter, Tapioca Pearls and the half cup water.
2. Allow to ferment for 3 hours or doubled in volume (The time depends upon the age of the starter. For example, a year old starter takes less time than few days old starter)
3. Add the Green chilli, Curry leaves and Salt. Mix well.
4. Spoon to Greased Idly plates
5. Steam for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for few minutes and Serve.

sago idly1

sago idly2


This is yet another “No dal, No Grind” idly. I have tried Rice flakes, Sooji, Ragi idly with the rice starter and all of them turned out good. Establishing the starter is the time consuming task. But once we have the starter in hand, lots of options open up like this.

I thank Sharmi for giving me the opportunity to write about my Rice Starter. Please click the logo for more details about the JFI event hosted by her.



1. Smita - August 26, 2007

Super creative! What an excellent idea!!

2. Rajitha - August 26, 2007

that idly looks good and the ‘no grind’ option…….sweet πŸ™‚

3. sharmi - August 26, 2007

this is such a lovely recipe. thanks for the tips and the entry.

4. bee - August 26, 2007

this is a great idea. love your innovations and trials.

5. Raaga - August 27, 2007

Lovely idea… πŸ™‚ Thanks

6. Zlamushka - August 27, 2007

this is a wonderful idea, priya. it looks very very healthy. I know fermentation of any kind helps digestion. Do you think regular flour or wholegrain spelt flour would work, too?
I could use this to make a rice bread….hm.. Could I ? Instead of sourdough….

7. Asha - August 27, 2007

Ooh! This is new!! No ferment Idlis looks so white and gorgeous.I am a little scared to try the starter but got to be brave and try one day:)

8. coffee - August 27, 2007

hmmm got it…… whatever one cup we remove, can be used immediately in any bread/nan making dough right? Or do you just throw it away?

9. Roopa (Kitchenaromas) - August 27, 2007

That’s ingenious!! Have you used the rice starter in any baked stuff yet? I’d love to hear about it!

10. Lisa - August 29, 2007

priya…i just wanted to let you know that i am very impressed with your blog. where on earth do you find the time to do this? i have so much to learn from you, little sister!!!

11. Suganya - September 14, 2007

Where are you?

12. … and these Thy gifts … » Lasang Pinoy 22, Rice to the Challenge: The Puto Experiments - January 1, 2008

[…] Priya’s recipe for rice starter, using rice flour instead of rice […]

13. excursus - May 30, 2008

Excursus says : I absolutely agree with this !

14. adi - August 16, 2008

do you throw away the half cup removed every fermenting process?

15. live2cook - August 16, 2008

Hi all,

Thank you.

Hi Adi,

Nope. I am too frugal to do that. I use the starter that I remove to make Pancakes. we can add wheat flour or other flours like gram flour or millet to it and make pancakes and pancake balls. If you don’t like sweet pancakes, add chopped veggies and it makes wonderful savory pancakes.

16. Udpheuhc - December 13, 2008


17. Cathy - March 25, 2009

How wonderfully creative and healthy. True artisanship!


18. Cathy - April 26, 2009

Hi- I’m trying to make rice sourdough starter and at about 2 1/2 days it turned slightly yellowish – not pure white like yours above. It smells fine – sourdoughish. Do you know if this is OK?



19. Suzanne - January 23, 2011

Please explain further the process for the cultured brown rice flour. What do you do with the “1/2 cup from the mixture that gets mixed with 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water?” I’m lost on points 4 through 6? Are you putting the “new mixture” in a separate container and adding subsequent “new mixtures”??


20. Suzanne - January 23, 2011

AHHH, ok, I think I understand now? Remove 1/2 cup from the mixture, discard it? And then to the original mixture add another 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water??

What’s the reason for that?

Leanna - August 18, 2015

You have to continue to provide the healthy yeast and bacteria sugar aka starch to feed on.

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