Dosas are pancakes made of fermented rice batter and white lentils (urad dal). They’re vegan, sugar-free, fat-free and even gluten-free.

Dosas a staple of any South Indian’s diet, and since I was recently convinced that there are people out there who may interested in knowing how to make them, here goes nothing. I’ll be starting with making the batter and going up to frying the dosa itself, with pictures. And even a video.

To make Dosas, you will need:

Urad dal or mena pappu

Any kind will do. I use polished white rice, because that’s what I eat every day.
And poha, or flattened rice
The ratio is thus: 1 urad dal: 2.75 rice : 5 tablespoons poha. I find that 1 cup of urad dal to 2 and three fourths cup urad dal makes enough batter to serve five.

You will need to soak the urad dal and the rice overnight, in separate bowls, with lids for each. The next day, you can start grinding them into a fine paste.

Start with the urad dal, because it’s easier. Drain the dal of the water it has been soaking in, and then grind in your food processor. You’ll need to blitz for about two minutes, after which you’ll stop, take off the lid, and add a tablespoon of water. The idea is that the water makes sure that the paste doesn’t stick to the food processor jar.

Now blitz again. Then add a little water. And on and on, until the dal becomes a fine paste, like cream. Place this paste into a large vessel, because you will be adding the rice paste, as well as a large amount of water to this, as well. I usually use the largest stainless steel vessel I own.

Your urad dal batter should look like this.
If you’re making dosa batter with 2 cups of urad dal, this may take a while. I usually have my headphones on and my playlist on shuffle during this, because it can get a little boring.

Once the urad dal is all ground, you start with the soaked rice. Again, drain the rice of the water before you start grinding it in the food processor. Grind the rice for nearly a minute before adding a tablespoon or two of water. Then grind again. In all, grinding a handful of rice took nearly five minutes.

Once the rice is ground into as fine a paste as the urad dal, add it to the urad dal batter.

You can see the two batters here.
Now add the dry poha in your food processor jar. Grind into a fine powder, and add to your mixing bowl or vessel.

Add a teaspoon or two of salt, and mix the two batters well. Add the water now, and mix into a batter. The dosa batter will be watery, it should be this way to ensure crisp, thin dosas.

This is the consistency of Dosa batter.

Ideally, now you should cover your dosa batter with a lid and set aside for 4-5 hours for another round of fermentation. If you’re in a hurry, though, you can use the batter as it is, there isn’t too noticeable a difference in taste.

Now, to make your dosas, you’ll need a non-stick pan, and a spatula. Dosas are fried in vegetable oil (half a teaspoon to each dosa), so the amount of fat you’ll be eating is minimum.

You can see my video demonstration on making the perfect dosa here:

The important thing here is that your non-stick pan has to be hot. Leave it on the maximum flame for 5 minutes, and drizzle a few drops of oil on the pan to keep it dosa ready.

If the first dosa you make is sticky and doesn’t come out in perfect circles, it means your pan wasn’t hot enough. Don’t worry, from the very next dosa, things will be perfect.

Once the dosa is all done on one side, the edges will start to lift away from the pan. Now, gently lift the dosa up with your spatula, and flip it onto the other side. Once it’s done on the other side (again, because the edges will lift away), you can flip it again, and fold in half with your spatula.

If you want a ‘restaurant’ look, you can fold it into three, like this:

Now slide it onto your plate, and serve hot. There, your dosas are done!

You can make as many variations on this basic dosa as you want.

Make individual, little dosas, like this. I used to have these as a child, they’re called pulli bongaralu in Telugu, which is why I used to demand ‘Tiger tops’ for breakfast.

Cheese dosa
Sprinkle grated cheese all along one side of your dosa, and serve up a cheese dosa. You could also do the same thing with diced onions, and make an onion dosa, which is my personal favourite.

If you want to make a masala dosa, use the same method. Simply make a slightly liquidy curry of potato and onion, and spread on your dosa as I did the cheese. Fold over twice, so that you get the ‘restaurant look’, as described above. And masala dosa done!



  • 100g Urad dal (aka white lentil, or Vigna mungo)
  • 550g Rice
  • Poha (aka flattened rice)
  • 500 ml water (you may need a little more if you feel the batter is too thick)
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Soak the rice and the white lentil overnight. Place in separate bowls with lids.
  2. The next day, drain them of water, and grind separately into a fine paste.
  3. Grind the flattened rice into a fine powder.
  4. Add the salt and water to the three pastes.
  5. Mix all ingredients well so that they form a fine batter. Leave overnight in a vessel/bowl with a lid to ferment.
  6. To make dosas, place a non-stick pan on a flame, wait until it is hot and then start pouring out your dosas. Serve hot, with coconut or peanut chutney.


[mood| satisfied]
[music| Adhoore: ‘Break Ke Baad’ OST]

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