The traditional Indian dosa is a classic comfort food that is typically eaten for breakfast or as a starter. The savoury crunchy dosa originated in southern India in the region of Karnataka. The flavours are simple, and whilst the recipe is usually very complex due to fermentation processes we have simplified it for you.
White rice (3 cups)
Urad dal (1 cup)
Fenugreek seeds (3/4 teaspoon)
Water (3 cups)
Salt (1/4 tsp)
Vegetable, canola, sunflower oil or Ghee
1. Start by washing the rice & Urad daal well and then drain. Add Fenugreek seeds to the mix and add enough water to the bowl to cover the mixture by about 3 inches, then soak overnight.
2. In the morning drain the water from the rice mixture then add the soaked rice, urad dal, and fenugreek seeds to a high speed blender. Then add about 2 cups of cold water until a smooth yet slightly grainy paste has formed. Then transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl & gradually add another cup of water to make it into a batter. The Consistency of the batter should be such that it thinly coats a spoon dipped in it.
3. Add the salt and keep the Dosa batter aside in a warm, dark spot, covered, for 12 to 24 hours to ferment. After this fermentation, stir the batter well. Then the batter will have thickened (you can test again with a spoon). The fermented batter is now ready to make delicious Dosa.
4. Put some ghee or oil in a small bowl and keep ready. We will also need a small bowl of ice-cold water, a large flat non stick frying pan tawa, paper towel, a ladle, a spatula, and a basting brush.
5. Fold 1 sheet of kitchen paper into a thick rectangle & dip the folded paper towel lightly into the bowl of ghee or oil. Squeeze out any excess and then rub the paper towel all over the surface of the pan to lightly grease. The ghee or oil should barely be visible in the pan.
6. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Then add a scant ladleful of batter to the center of the pan, it’s much like you would do for a pancake. Spread the batter in a sweeping circular motion to form a pancake of roughly 8 – inch diameter. The Dosa will likely develop tiny holes as you spread the batter, this is normal.
7. As soon as we have finished spreading the batter out on the pan, dip the basting brush in ghee and drizzle all over the surface of the Dosa and around its edge. Hold the pan by its handle, lift it up, and swirl it so that the drizzled ghee spreads all over the Dosa.
8. Continue cooking the Dosa for 1 ½ minutes , or until the upper surface begins to look cooked, it will no longer look soft or runny. Then flip the Dosa to ensure both sides are well cooked. By this time, the surface that was underneath should be light golden in colour. Cook for a further 1 minute after flipping.
9. When the Dosa is almost done fold it into a third, like a parcel and allow it to cook for 30 seconds more. Before you start making the next Dosa, fold another sheet of paper towel into a wad & dip it in ice-cold water. Squeeze to remove excess water and then rub it all over the surface of the pan to cool it slightly. This ensures your next Dosa will spread evenly and not break because the pan is too hot. Repeat this process until you’ve used all of the batter and enjoy.
Tips & Storage
Any leftover batter can be refrigerated, tightly covered for up to three days. We like to make and serve dosas immediately when cooked to ensure the is crispy and fresh when eaten. If that's not possible, we can also make, stack, and serve the dosas later. Just ensure you keep them warm until serving time by placing them in a closed dish. They will lose much of their crispness but will still taste delicious.
A high-speed blender above 500 watts is recommended for making dosa as it will produce a smoother batter than a food processor. Make sure the water is very cold to prevent overheating the rice mixture and the appliance. If the blender becomes hot, turn it off and let it cool for 30 to 45 minutes. If the Dosa batter has been refrigerated, let it stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Use a bowl large enough to allow the batter to double in volume. If there is a danger of the batter overflowing, place the bowl on a rimmed baking sheet.
When serving your traditional Indian dosa you should pair it with a chutney, potato masala or Tiffin Sambar.