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What is Dosa (Indian Pancake)
What is Dosa (Indian Pancake)


What is Dosa (Indian Pancake)


 Dosa is a fermented South Indian crepe made from rice flour and peeled black lentil (white inside, with black skin removed) flour. (Dosa is a typical South Indian food, taken as breakfast or dinner, and is rich in carbohydrates, protein and gut friendly good bacteria for digestive health.



Dosa batter is made from rice and split, skinned urad bean (black lentil) , little fenugreek seeds grounded along with water to form a fine batter and left to ferment overnight at about 70~75F. A modified form of the same batter can be used to make idlis or steamed pancakes.

The rice and lentlils batters are to be prepared separately and later the batter of each has to be mixed together and fermented to form the dosa batter.


  • First the dry rice and skinned black lentils (available online or at Indian grocery stores) are soaked in water for ½ hour in separate containers.


  • For every 2 1/2 cups of rice, 1/2 cup of urad lentil and 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds need to be used.


  • Then the rice, urad lentil and fenugreek seeds are very finely ground with water separately in a counter top mini stone grinder (available online http://www.hotdishes.com, 1-408-239-4800).


  • First grind the rice and fenugreek seeds together to make the rice batter.


  • Then grind the de-skinned black lentil to make lentil batter.


  • The consistency of the batter is quite important to get good dosas. When grinding start with ½ cup of water and add additional ½ cup of water carefully to the batter to make the batter into a semi-fluid consistency similar to that of heated milk chocolate. Make sure the batter is not too thin.  Repeat the same procedure for the preparation of the Urad dal batter.


  • Then mix the two batters to make dosa batter and let it ferment over night at room temperature. No need to add yeast, as the batter ferments naturally. Once fermented, the dosa will form small bubbles and tend to rise if left longer. The batter must be refrigerated for longer shelf life and can last up to 2~3 weeks.


The rice used can be raw rice or parboiled rice. But it is suggested to use “idly” rice available at Indian grocery stores or online to get the best dosa/idly texture. The urad lentil and rice can be replaced with refined white flour to make a maida dosa or replaced with semolina for a rava dosa. Then 1/3rd cup of batter is then poured on a hot greased pan (tava), where it is spread out into a thin circle similar to spreading crepe batter cooked on high for 3~4 minutes minutes until golden brown. The dosa may then be folded in half and served or rolled as in a wrap, but in both cases it is cooked on a single side. Alternatively, it may be flipped to cook on the other side and then served.


Serving Suggestion

Dosa is generally served as a breakfast food in the state of Tamil Nadu, South India. It is easy to make, once you have the batter.

The dosa is naturally fermented due to the urad lentil, and is an excellent food for your gut and helps develop good bacteria in your stomach and is easy to digest. It is also very delicious food and one can often see south Indian Vegetarian restaurants serve dosa that is enjoyed by everyone.

They can be stuffed with vegetables, meats and sauces to create a quickly prepared meal. Dosas are typically are served with a variety of side dish to choose from:


Sambar is the most commonly used side dish.

Chutneys: such as coconut chutney, tomato onion chutney etc.

Dry chutney powder (Milagai podi) mixed with a little oil

Indian pickle

Chicken and lamb curry dishes

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