Learn how to make south Indian dosa with an easy but traditional and very authentic homemade batter. I've included a step-by-step video to make the process more comprehensive and to show you exactly how to get the perfect texture and flavor. Dosas are the original health food--they are packed with plant protein and gut-friendly bacteria. They are gentle on the stomach and are always vegan as well as gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free, so you can feed them to just about anyone.
Servings: 20 8-inch dosas (approx)
- 2 cups rice (I used white basmati rice. See notes on what types of rice to use.)
- ½ cup poha (flattened rice)
- ½ cup urad dal (black gram dal)
- 2 tablespoons chana dal (Bengal gram dal)
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
- 1½ cups water (preferably filtered)
- Salt to taste (Not necessary, but you can add it if you like. Add the salt after fermentation as it can inhibit the growth of friendly bacteria).
- Vegetable oil or cooking spray for sprinkling around edges of dosa
Mix all the ingredients for the dosa in a large bowl. Pour enough water to cover by 2-3 inches. Cover and set aside to soak for 8 hours.
After the ingredients have soaked strain them. Place them in a blender with a cup of water--I like to break this up in batches, so I do half the ingredients at a time with half a cup of water each.
Blend the batter for 30 seconds, preferably in a high-powered blender, then continue blending in 10-second spurts until you reach the desired consistency. The batter should feel very smooth but you should feel a tiny amount of grittiness from the rice when you rub it between your fingers. This will result in crispy dosas.
The batter should be thick but pourable. If you find that it's too thick add the remaining half cup of water slowly.
Return the batter to the bowl and cover it. Now place it in a warm place to ferment for at least 8 hours or overnight. See notes for more guidance on how to do this.
The fermented batter will be puffy. Stir it a few times to deflate the puffiness so you can shape the dosas more easily.
Heat a griddle to the point where drops of water sprinkled on it sizzle and evaporate within five seconds. Do not oil the griddle.
Pour a ladleful of the batter in the center of the griddle. Quickly, moving outward in a spiral fashion, spread the dosa using the bottom of the ladle. A rounded ladle works best for this.
Sprinkle a few drops of oil around the edges of the dosa. You can also spray cooking spray around the edges but turn down the heat while you do this so you don't get the spray directly on the gas flame.
Once the dosa edges look lacy and golden-brown and the top has dried out completely loosen the dosa from the griddle gently with a flat spatula and remove to a plate.
- If you don't like the flavor of fermented dosas, you can simply make the dosa soon after mixing the batter.
- Allow the rice and dal and other ingredients to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. I usually soak them in the morning, blend up the dosa batter in the evening, and leave it to ferment overnight so I can make fresh dosas next morning.
- Some traditionalists soak the rice and dal seperately, blend them separately, and then mix them. To me that just adds unnecessary steps and I prefer to just soak everything together and pay closer attention when I blend so I get the texture right. Rice takes just a little longer to blend than the dal, which is perfect because you want the dal to blend smoothly while the rice remains very slightly gritty. That helps the dosas turn out crispy.
- Always drain out the water you soaked the rice and dal in and add fresh, preferably filtered water when you blend the batter.
- When you blend the batter begin with less water and add more if needed. Keep in mind that you can always add more water to the batter if it's too thick but you can't take water out of it. For this recipe I needed just under a cup of water to blend the soaked ingredients.
- Blend in two batches. My blender could handle all the ingredients at one time but I still blend half the ingredients at a time. This helps me control the water better--for instance, if I added too much water the first time I can add less water to the second batch and make sure my batter is the right consistency. Also if you don't have a high powered blender the quantity of the ingredients could end up overwhelming it.
- Blend in short bursts -- 30 seconds at first and then short bursts of 10 seconds, checking to see if you have reached the right consistency. Again, high powdered blender works best for this. You will get better at this eventually and the process will become easier, but for crispy dosas you want to make sure that the batter, while smooth overall, should also have a very slightly gritty feel when you rub it between your thumb and forefinger. This will result in very crispy dosas.
- To ferment the batter place the batter in a large bowl, giving it room to expand, and then place it in a warm spot. In the climate I live in, where winters can be harsh, I place the batter in an oven with the light turned on, or wrapped in a heating pad set to low or medium heat. In summer or in warmer climates you can usually just set the batter on the countertop and it will ferment nicely overnight -- or even sooner! It's a good idea to keep a tray or plate under the bowl just in case the batter overflows. This has happened to me before during summer and it's not fun to see all that lovely batter go to waste. If the batter overflows into a plate you can just stir the batter in the bowl and pour any overflow back into it.
- When the batter has fermented it will be very puffy and you will see lots of bubbles when you disturb the surface with a ladle. It may or may not rise much depending on the weather where you are but that's fine and you will have delicious dosas either way. Stir the fermented batter to deflate it because spreading a puffy batter on a griddle can be challenging. Unlike sourdough breads, you are not looking for the bacteria to give you a rise here.
- You can stir salt into the batter, if you are using it, just before making the dosas.
- When shaping the dosas use a light touch while ensuring your ladle is constantly in contact with the batter. Even if you don't do it exactly right, proceed with the next steps--the dosas will taste delicious still.
- Always store the dosa batter and not dosas. That's because they will become rubbery and not taste so great at all. Store the dosa batter in the fridge after it has fermented.
- You can also freeze dosa batter in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Serving: 1dosa | Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg