Dosa: Lentil-and-Rice Crepes

Dosa recipe When my sister-in-law, Padmavathy, or Paddu, who lives in Madras, spent a few days with us recently, I was thrilled to bits, partly for a selfish reason. Paddu is one of the best cooks in our family, and I was eager to learn as much as I could from her in the kitchen.This dosa recipe was one I picked up from her. I have always loved dosas and have my own recipe that makes pretty darn good ones. Still, it always seems like a long process. This recipe, from Paddu requires fewer hours of soaking time, after which you can make the batter and cook all the dosas your heart desires.I am still beating myself on the head because I didn’t bring back with me a wet grinder for dosa and idli batter when I went to India recently. So as always I made the batter in my blender which doesn’t grind it as fine. I do like the slight graininess because it gives the dosa an extra crispiness.

Dosa I used short-grain rice for the dosa, and there were two kinds of dal, udad and chana, that went into it, along with poha (flattened rice) and methi seeds. I spread the dosas very thin and crepe-like because that’s how both Desi and I like them. They turned out quite amazing. Thanks, Paddu, for a keeper recipe!

This recipe goes to the Well-Seasoned Cook Susan’s second helping of A Legume Love Affair.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The best dosa recipe, from my sis-in-law Padmavathy Raghavan
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
  • 2 cups rice
  • ⅓ cup poha (flattened rice, available in Indian grocery stores)
  • 2 tbsp chana dal (bengal gram dal)
  • ½ cup udad dal (black gram dal)
  • ½ tsp methi seeds
  • Salt to taste
  1. Soak in water all the ingredients except the salt for at least 4-5 hours and more if you have the time. Drain.
  2. Blend the rice-dal mixture, in several batches, adding enough water to make a smooth batter that's runny enough to spread into a crepe, but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Heat a cast-iron or non-stick griddle. Using a ladle with a rounded bottom, pour some batter into the center of the griddle and, in a quick but smooth motion, spread outward in concentric circles. Don't be afraid if you make holes: just add a small drop of batter to patch it. In this case, practice definitely makes perfect and trust me, you'll get the hang of it soon enough.
  4. Pour a few drops of oil around the dosa's edges. This really helps give it that crispiness I love. Once the underside is golden brown, loosen the dosa gently from the skillet and flip over. If your griddle was hot enough to begin with, this step will be very, very easy.
  5. Cook the other side for a few seconds, giving more time if your dosa is thicker. Serve hot with some sambar or chutney or both.
  6. Enjoy!
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Dosa’s are my fav vaishali..Dosa’s looks crisper, for the past 2 is being a visual treat to my eyes on your blog..keep going!

  2. says

    Wet grinder is such a blessing! Esp. since idli and dosa batter come in handy for short break menus! I make these too – not too sure about the proportions, as I add in fistfulls! The snap is very good – it has brought out the crispy texture!

  3. says

    vaish, i use my panasonic mixer and grinder which i bought from India to grind dosa and idli batter. i have been using it since almost 3 yrs and have never had any problem with getting very smooth batter. so just a recommendation if u are thinking of investing in wet grinder as mixer with grinding option works very well. i am told u can buy sumeet mixie online.
    fine batter or not, that dosa pic is a killer… beautiful pic.

  4. says

    Dosas look so tasty! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    I too use a blender for grinding the lentils. I think investing in a wet grinder is great idea!

  5. says

    Cham, Smn, Lavi, Notyet100, thanks!

    Sunshinemom, I agree it would’ve been a blessing to have one. Well, there’s always the next time!

    Sia, That’s a great suggestion, particularly since the mixer can be used for other stuff too. Will look into this. Thanks!

    Mona, Sireesha, Madhavi, Meera, Uma, Richa, Kumudha, Curry Leaf, Thanks ladies

  6. says

    Hi Vaishali! I’m a regular reader of your blog and really enjoy your posts, especially the ones that feature an anecdote about dogs.

    I tried your dosa recipe and it was just perfect. It made about 25 regular-sized dosas and was proclaimed as the best dosa I had ever made at home.

    Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous recipe and of course the many more that I have bookmarked to try!

  7. says

    Anu, Thanks for trying out the recipe. You just made my day. I am so happy it turned out so well for you, and I appreciate the feedback. The posts featuring my dogs are my favorites too, so stay tuned for more! :)

  8. says

    I’d love an Indian-style grinder; never mind that I have no room for it. The closest thing I can get in Western markets is a burr coffee grinder that is good for spices, but not anything bulky. (I have seen the Indian ones online, but they seem very pricey, although they are probably built like tanks.)

    Fine, fine dosa, Vaishali. Thank you for joining in MLLA2.

    And, please, more doggie posts. : }

  9. says

    This looks wonderful. I’m wondering what the seeds are that you speak of in the dosa recipe? I have a blendtec blender and it makes powder out of flaxseeds in no time, so I will try using it for your recipe. Thanks!

  10. says

    Vaishali, your dosas look delicious. Mine look like brown bubbly bits stuck to the skillet. Every. Single. Time.

    Low heat, high heat, olive oil, soybean oil, thin batter, thick batter. Doesn’t matter, they always stick. :o(

  11. says

    I am Gluten Free, sorry about the late response. The fenugreek seeds are tiny brown seeds with a very bitter taste that you can buy at any Indian store. They help with binding and flavoring the dosa, so I wouldn’t skip them.

  12. says

    Leland, I have a feeling your dosa batter is not as finely ground as it should be. You need a really smooth batter, more so than most regular blenders would produce. A dosa grinder is ideal, of course, but something really powerful like a Vitamix would give you good results.
    When I had a Cuisinart blender, I would need to blend for a few seconds, stop, cool the motor, and start again, and so on, in order to get the perfect consistency. A good albeit rough guide is to watch for bubbles forming at the top of the batter which tells you it’s pretty much done.
    Also, don’t oil the skillet first, especially if you’re using a non-stick or cast-iron one. This can actually make the batter lump together when you try to spread it. Sprinkle a few drops of oil only later, along the edges of the dosa, and before you flip the dosa.
    Hope this helps. :)

  13. Neha says

    The recepie looks Yummy..quick question : Is this an instant Dosa, I don’t see any fermentation time in the receipe..

  14. Toya says

    Dosa came out perfect ,thanks once again.I ‘m a big fan of yours!I have cooked a lot of curries,stew and cakes.They have come out perfect.I ‘m so much grateful to you.

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