Dosa is a crispy crepe made from fermented rice and Urad daal which has been soaked and ground. It is a popular dish in Southern India and is served with a potato filling, Sambhar (a vegetable and daal soup) and several chutneys. You can find Dosa and Idli batter in most South Indian households every day of the week. It is gluten free, has a decent amount of protein and can be eaten any time of the day!
I grew up in North India and the only time we ate Dosa was in a restaurant. Some restaurants make huge dosas that are twice the size of the plate they are served in! I still remember the fermented, sour fragrance wafting from the food truck that pulled up in my College quad as we lined up to buy a made-to-order Dosa lunch!
The first time I attempted to make a Dosa was after arriving in America. After experimenting for a while, I was able to create the right batter and after several tries, was able to get a decent size Dosa off the skillet! Some planning is definitely required since the batter needs time to ferment. My recipe makes a big batch which I use for making Idli and Uttapam as well. Leftover batter freezes well, ready to cook after thawing.
2 cups medium or long grain rice
1 cup skinless Urad daal
1/4 cup Chana daal
2 tsps. Fenugreek seeds
2 tsps. salt
1 tsp. sugar
vegetable oil or ghee for cooking
- Rinse and soak rice, daals and fenugreek seeds for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Drain the soaked grains and grind them, adding no more than 2 cups of water.
- No need to grind it too smooth, more like cornmeal or semolina. It gives Dosa a crispier texture.
- Cover and set aside in a warm place. Make sure there is some room in the bowl for the batter to rise.
- Ideal temperature for fermentation is between 75-100 degrees F.
- Check the batter after 24 hours. It should have a sourdough like smell and a fluffy texture (check my video). If not, continue to ferment, checking every 6-8 hours.
- Add the salt and sugar, mix gently.
- Heat a cast iron or a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Brush lightly with oil or Ghee.
- Pour 1/3 cup of batter in the middle and spread it with a spoon into a 6-8 inch circle.
- If the batter is too thick, it will be hard to spread, thin the batter by adding a little water.
- If it is still hard to spread, tilt the skillet to spread it, like making a crepe.
- Drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon of oil.
- When Dosa turns golden and the edges start to loosen, gently flip it over and cook for a few seconds until crisp.
- Serve plain or with a vegetable like Aloo Matar for Dosa and Tomato Chutney for Dosa.