Brown Rice Dosas

Brown Rice DosaMost South Indian cooks have a pot full of dosa batter sitting in their refrigerators which they can pull out at any time to make a quick and nutritious breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. Dosas cook pretty quickly on the skillet so in no time at all one can have a pile of hot, steaming crepes ready to eat.And making a dosa batter itself is not difficult, although it does require some soaking time to let the rice and lentils soften so once they are ground up into the batter they can cook quickly on the skillet. I like making quick dosas such as my moong dosa or coriander adai because they require even less soaking time than a regular dosa. But when I get the craving for a traditional dosa, I have a foolproof batter that’s ready in about 4 hours. Not bad.

This time, I wanted to make my foolproof batter healthier by using brown rice instead of white, which I usually use. I have used brown rice in dosa batters before but I find it usually requires more soaking time. While wondering this past weekend, late in the afternoon, how I could get my dosa batter ready for dinner, I had a brainwave. Parboiled rice.

Now before some of you seasoned cooks out there scream, hey, that’s what Indian cooks usually use for dosa, hear me out. I am not talking about the parboiled rice you can buy off the shelf. Instead, I thought I’d parboil my brown rice for a few minutes and then soak it with the lentils, reducing the total soaking time. Get it?

So that’s what I did, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. I needed just five hours of soaking time and the dosas themselves were perfect– I spread them thin and they were crispy around the edges and delicious with the nutty flavor of brown rice.

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!

Brown Rice Dosa

Brown Rice Dosas and Coriander Chutney
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Brown Rice Dosas
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
  • [b]For the Dosa:[/b]
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • ½ cup poha (flattened rice). You can get a brown-rice version of this in Indian stores too.
  • 2 tbsp chana dal (bengal gram dal)
  • ½ cup udad dal (black gram dal)
  • ½ tsp methi seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • For the┬áCoriander Chutney
  • ½ cup chopped coriander leaves and stems
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  1. Cover the brown rice with water in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it for five minutes.
  2. Allow the rice to sit in the hot water for another half an hour.
  3. Now add the rice to the remaining ingredients, along with the water. Add more water to cover the lentils and rice. Allow them to soak for at least 5 hours and more if you have the time. Drain.
  4. 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.
  5. Heat a cast-iron or non-stick griddle. The griddle should be hot enough that when you sprinkle a few drops of water on it, they sizzle and evaporate.
  6. 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 circles. Don't be afraid if you make holes: just add a small drop of batter to patch it. If your dosa does not spread smoothly, it's possible your ladle is hot. Turn off or lower the heat, and try again.
  7. Pour a few drops of oil around the dosa's edges to help it crisp up. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Because I was pressed for time, I served the dosas with this super-simple chutney that requires just four ingredients but tastes just divine.
  10. To make the chutney, just give all the ingredients a whir in the blender until the cilantro is completely broken down. Check salt and serve with the dosas.

Brown Rice Dosas
Desi and I are being tourists in our own city this week. There isn’t a better place to live in than Washington if you want to do that– the city’s filled with great buildings, monuments and the most amazing museums and almost all of it is free.

Yesterday we were at the Museum of American History which is home to everything from Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the “Wizard of Oz” to Julia Child’s entire kitchen from her home in Massachusetts. It was the setting for almost all her television shows.
As we left the museum, exhausted, we caught this glimpse of the Washington monument, ethereal in the twilight.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

33 thoughts on “Brown Rice Dosas

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Divya Vikram

    November 20, 2009 at 1:01am

    This is something I have always wanted to try. thanks for the recipe Vaishali. Does it differ much in taste?

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 2:01am

    OMG! that is a great idea. I buy white rice ONLY for dosas now. The last time I tried with brown rice, it was this coarse mixture and my mixi gave up :(

    Great idea, Vaishali. Will try soon.

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 2:36am

    They look perfect as the regular rice dosas… I have bookmarked it.. :)

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 3:14am

    I use brown rice regularly for my dosas but never thought to par boil them before soaking that is such a cool idea and the dosas have turned out perfect !

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 5:29am

    Hi Vaishali, awesome idea, and use of brown rice is so much healthier! Thanks a ton, will definitely be trying this..

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 5:52am

    Your dosas look lovely, brown and crisp! I use brown rice sometimes too. I found that the dosas are good but I wasn’t happy with my idlis when I used brown rice as they were not as soft as the ones with polished rice. If you have tried it please let me know your experience.

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 5:56am

    Par boiling the rice before grinding is great idea. Dosas look perfect!

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 6:50am

    I just use whatever rice I have at home which is usually white rice. But I do dump in lots of legumes and lentils. This version of yours sounds great Vaishali! Parboiling the rice first … wow… you do work hard! :-)

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 9:58am

    Using brown rice for making out dosas seems an excellent and healthy idea Vaishali..crispy dosas looks prefect..

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 2:03pm

    Betty, Thanks. You can find a recipe for a quick naan here:

    Divya, It is slightly different in that the taste is nuttier– I thought it tasted much better than the white dosa version.

    A and N, RV, Usha: Thanks!

    Evolvingtastes, yes, it doesn’t need any fermentation. Desi doesn’t like the taste of fermented dosas anyway, so I almost never let the batter ferment. But if you like, you can certainly allow the dough to stand longer to get the fermentation going.

    Shreya, Thanks.

    Sunshinemom, I have never tried idlis with brown rice. I don’t make idlis as often as I ought to. I was just thinking of making them more often, though, so if I do try them with brown rice I’ll surely exchange notes.

    Cham: Thanks!

    Sharmila, the parboiling is not hard work at all– it just takes five minutes in the microwave. :)

    Kmouse, Miri, Priya: Thanks!

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 4:20pm

    Just bought brown rice yesterday, I will try your recipe …looks healthy !

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Maya Varadan

    November 20, 2009 at 7:58pm

    Hey Vaishali,
    I have been sneaking around your blog for some months,never left you a comment.Healthy recipe.Will defly try them.I have plethora of thoughts to write here about ur blog,I would put it simple ‘Awesome Work”.DH and me are vegetarian’s by birth and we always had this concern how can we instill that habit in our daughter who is just a toddler now,but in this country(USA) with free options available in schools,everywhere it is difficult to cultivate that habit.By reading thru your blog it motivates me to go ‘vegan’,again just not our religion and culture that influence us being vegetarians,majorly the thought another living is being killed to feed us make us to not even eat eggs.
    Anyway Hats Off.Keep up the good work.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      April 5, 2013 at 3:55pm

      Maya, welcome and thanks! You are very sweet- and compassionate.

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 20, 2009 at 11:21pm

    perfect healthy dosas… thanks for this idea. will try it next time…

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 21, 2009 at 12:08am


    I always avoided making any new recipes with brown rice, as it takes lot longer to cook, but you made it much easier for me try out. Thanks.

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 21, 2009 at 8:39pm

    I am going to try this. Great idea. I guess I will just soak the parboiled brown rice and dals overnight and grind in the morning for a weekend breakfast. Oh, only if we get over these continuous viral infections!! (Yeah, I am so tired of this weather….)

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 22, 2009 at 6:25am

    I have to try these yummy looking dosas. They look so nutritious and tasty!

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 22, 2009 at 10:27am

    This works so well. I was in the same dilemma, but what I did was to soak the rice in boiling hot water! :)

  18. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 22, 2009 at 3:12pm

    Hi Vaishali, dosas look fantastic. i’ve tried making the batter with brown basmati and also with red rice. i’ve poste dthe red rice version on my blog.

  19. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 25, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Hi Vaishali, We had these dosas for sunday dinner and yes, they won hands down to the white dosas. It was a genius idea to parboil the rice.

    Thanks very much for sharing this.

  20. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Dr. Rupa Shah

    November 27, 2009 at 11:33am

    I have made dosa from brown rice often. They are more crispy than the parboiled rice version. Red rice can also be tried for making dosa. Thanks for writting about this healthy version of dosa.

  21. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 8, 2010 at 4:08pm

    I got a sack of brown ricebut found it too chewy to eat on a regular basis. It is lying around, waiting for nirvana. These dosas are perfect. Bookmarked!

  22. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 9, 2012 at 1:50pm

    Hi Vaishali
    2 months ago I came across ur blog while looking for dairyfree dessert. I’ve never followed any blog. But urs is exception which is full of great new ideas and teasty recipes . So far I’ve tried 3-4 recipes from ur blog the most and best we liked is brown rice uthappa.
    Thanks a lot for healthy and delicious recipe with great idea of parboiling brown rice .

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      May 10, 2012 at 3:13am

      Anonymous, so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed the blog. Also glad you liked the uthappam– one of my favorites. :)

  23. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 5, 2013 at 3:49pm

    Hi Vaishali,
    i was searching for a brown Rice Dosa Recipe and reached you blog. I am very sure this Recipe will turn out Great!!. will try it. I had one more thing not to complain while searching i landed to another link
    looks like these people are using your photos, i maybe wrong here. just wanted to let u know.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      April 5, 2013 at 3:52pm

      Anon, thanks for the heads-up about the plagiarist. It is shocking how people have no qualms lifting someone else’s work and passing it off as their own.

  24. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 30, 2013 at 6:30pm


    The dosas came out perfect and delicious. When I made it the second time, I was out of channa daal and used toor daal instead. Somehow,it made the dosas even more crispy. I have got so many amazing recipes from you and I just wanted to tell you a little something in return. Prewash the daals and rice and soak them in just enough water that you can use while grinding. Draining the water after the soaking period makes you lose all the water soluble vitamins and minerals. That is my mom’s tip. I hope you do not mind.


  25. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali Honawar

    September 4, 2013 at 3:11am

    Hi Anusha, you made me think of my Lalitha Manni who is always asking me to add more toor dal to dosas because they turn out crispy. :) Thanks so much for the tip about the vitamins in the soaking water– that’s a good one. And so happy you liked the dosas.

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