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Art of making DOSA

Dosa is my favorite south Indian dish. No. Wait. I say that about Sevai, Vada, Koozh, Bonda and so many others too! Whilst all my favorites take some amount of time & planning – Dosa is easy and quick! And oh-so-tasty! Not to mention super healthy too.

Dosa Recipe (Sada Plain Dosa)

If I have to give it an English name, I’d say it is a Rice and Lentil Crepe. It looks like a Crepe. It is also made like a Crepe. But while you use all purpose flour to make the Crepe batter, you make Dosa with a fermented Rice and Lentils batter – making it so much more healthier than a regular Crepe. Remember this post where I shared my mother’s version of a homemade idli / dosa batter? Well, that is exactly how we make our batter week after week, month after month for our idli & dosa requirements!

{P.S: there’s a video in the post, below the step by step pictures}

Dosa Recipe (Sada Plain Dosa)

I’ve been making Dosa since my 2nd grade. Every time I make this, I remember all those times when my mum patiently stood next to me while I made a mess around the stove top in my quest to make the perfect “Dosa”. :) While it is not particularly difficult nor does it take rare culinary skills, making it is really an art! :D You improve as you practice.

Dosa Recipe (Sada Plain Dosa)

In the picture: My brother – guinea pig & photography assistant! :D

You may come across 100 different tips, dos & don’ts as you browse through various websites for that perfect recipe. Let me tell you, no matter how much you read, you can only make better Dosas if you have made 100 mediocre ones before! :) To add to those “100 tips”, here’s my two-pence advice -

  • Do use a hot griddle
  • Do use a wet grinder or other similar heavy duty grinder/blender for the batter
  • Do place the batter in 80-90 degrees F for fermentation
  • Do experiment with various types of rice and urad dal and the ratios to find what suits you best
  • Do experiment with various vegetables / spices mixed with the batter for various types of Dosas
  • Do use non-stick griddle. In the olden days, people used iron griddles which gave a better taste. However, the iron griddles use up a lot of oil and can be a pain in the a*s to use – especially if you are an amateur Dosa maker! ;)
  • Do thin out the batter with a little bit of water before pouring onto the griddle
  • Don’t rush the fermentation process. Let it sit out for 3-4 hours. (If you live in a cold climate area, it’ll probably take longer)
  • Don’t make Dosas with fresh batter, or you’ll end up with what we call “Kaduththa Maavu Dosai” – which some really like but most don’t. The natural sourness as a result of fermentation is essential for a good tasting Dosa
  • Don’t keep the batter out for longer than necessary or the batter will ferment more and you’ll end up with really sour Dosai.
  • Don’t pour dosas using cold batter.

Dosa Recipe (Sada Plain Dosa)

HOMEMADE DOSAI | SADA DOSA Recipe

Okay… Let’s get started. You are only going to need the Dosai Batter. You can make the batter at home using my recipe here. Or if you have your own recipe, use that. If you can find Indian stores nearby that SELL the Dosa batter, you can use that too.
Dosa Recipe (Sada Plain Dosa)

Since the batter will be thick, you have to thin in out with a little bit of water or you’ll end up with tough Dosas. In a separate mixing bowl, take about 2-3 ladles of the Batter. Add 1/4 cup water (or as much as you feel necessary) With the ladle, beat the mixture together You will end up with a smooth batter. The batter shouldn’t be too liquid-y.
Dosa Recipe (Sada Plain Dosa)

Heat up the pan / Non stick griddle and sprinkle some water on it. It should steam immediately. A lot of people use the onion / potato trick to ensure the Tava (griddle) is hot but not too hot. I don’t coz I’m a pro! ;) Plus I don’t think it is necessary. If I feel the griddle is getting too hot, I take it away from the flame for about 20 seconds. Alternatively, you could rub the hot griddle with a cloth to reduce the heat & rub a slice of potato/onion dipped in oil all over.
Dosa Recipe (Sada Plain Dosa)

Take a ladle full of batter. Pour it into the center of the pan.
Dosa Recipe (Sada Plain Dosa)

You can cook the batter as is and you’ll end up with thick pancake like Dosai.
Dosai Recipe

Or you can make thin crepes / dosai. With the back of the ladle, spread the batter in circular motion rapidly, making a thin round disk. (NOTE: If you want a thicker dosai, you can pour a little bit more batter and spread the batter to a thicker, smaller disk shaped Dosai) {P.S: The perfect “round shaped Dosai” may take some time for you to master. :D} [**Watch the video below]
Dosai Recipe

My Dosai – all ready to be fried!
Dosai Recipe

Add a few drops of vegetable oil around the Dosa
Dosai Recipe

Let the Dosa cook on one side on medium flame. DO not touch it until the sides start to brown & crisp up.
Dosai Recipe

The dosas will be ready to be flipped in about 1 minute. (If you are making a thicker dosa, it might take 2 minutes). What you should look for are the brown sides and a somewhat cooked upper side (the dough will no longer look runny)
Dosai Recipe

Carefully loosen the edges of the Dosai with the help of a wooden spoon / spatula
Dosai Recipe

If your Dosai is paper thin, it need not even be flipped. It will be cooked perfectly. However, I always like to flip & cook for 10-15 seconds.
Dosai Recipe

Flip & Let it cook on medium flame for another 30 seconds or so, gentling pressing the Dosai all over. (the other side will take lesser time to cook)
Dosai Recipe

If you want a soft dosai, you can take it out of the pan within 30 seconds. If you want crispy Dosai, let it stay in the pan on medium low heat for 1-2 minutes carefully making sure the Dosai doesn’t burn! Serve hot along with Coconut chutney & Sambar or Pudina chutney or your favorite sides. I served with a delicious onion & tomato chutney!

Dosai Recipe

ART OF MAKING DOSAI – Video Recipe

Plain (Sada) Dosa
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: South Indian
Serves: 4 dosas
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of Dosa Batter (*Homemade or Store bought) {SEE BELOW for homemade}
  • ¼ cup Water (Adjust according to thickness of batter desired)
  • Vegetable Oil (as required) {You can also use Ghee or butter}
Equipment used
  • Non stick Griddle (you can use Iron griddle if you're confident)
  • Ladle / cup / heat proof ramekin
For homemade batter
  • 5 cups Idli Rice
  • 1 cup Urad Dal (split black lentil)
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt (or as required)
  • Water
  • Grinder
Instructions
For homemade batter
  1. Wash and soak the uncooked rice for 5-8 hours or overnight. DO not over soak or it may spoil the rice
  2. Soak the Urad Dal for 1-2 hours.
  3. In the grinder (or blender), add the Urad Dal with enough water to make it into a smooth, sticky batter. It takes around 20 minutes. Remove into a large container & set aside.
  4. Add the rice with enough water to make it into a smooth batter. It takes around 30-40 minutes in a grinder
  5. Add the rice batter to the previously ground Urad Dal paste.
  6. Add salt and mix well. The batter should be of pouring consistency. If not, add water to make it so.
  7. Cover and let it sit in a warm spot for 5-8 hours to let the batter ferment. It will rise in volume.
  8. Refrigerate it until use.
TO make the DOSAI
  1. Since the batter will be thick, you have to thin in out with a little bit of water or you'll end up with tough Dosai. In a separate mixing bowl, take about 2-3 ladles of Dosai Batter. Add ¼ cup water (or as much as you feel necessary) With the ladle, beat the mixture together. You will end up with a smooth batter. The batter shouldn't be too thick or too runny.
  2. Heat up the pan / Non stick griddle and sprinkle some water on it. It should steam immediately. (*See Note 1)
  3. Take a ladle full of batter & pour it into the center of the pan. You can also use a heat proof ramekin or cup with round bottom
  4. With the back of the ladle/cup/ramekin, spread the batter in circular motion rapidly, making a thin round disk. (*See Note 2)
  5. Add a few drops of vegetable oil around the Dosai
  6. Let it cook on one side on medium flame. DO not touch it until the sides start to brown & crisp up. The dosas will be ready to be flipped in about 1 minute. (If you are making a thicker dosai, it might take 2 minutes). What you should look for are the brown sides and a somewhat cooked upper side (the dough will no longer look runny)
  7. Carefully flip the Dosai & let it cook on medium flame for another 30 seconds or so, gentling pressing the Dosa all over. (the other side will take lesser time to cook)
  8. If you want a soft dosai, you can take it out of the pan within 20 seconds. If you want crispy Dosai, let it stay in the pan on medium low heat for 1 minute carefully making sure the Dosai doesn't burn.
  9. Serve hot along with Coconut chutney & Sambar or Pudina chutney or your favorite sides.
NOTES
  1. A lot of people use the **onion / potato trick** to ensure the Tava (griddle) is hot but not too hot. I don't think it is necessary. If I feel the griddle is getting too hot, I take it away from the flame for about 20 seconds. Alternatively, you could rub the hot griddle with a cloth to reduce the heat & rub a slice of potato/onion dipped in oil all over.
  2. If you want a thicker dosai, you can pour a little bit more batter and spread the batter to a thicker, smaller disk shaped Dosai

 

About the author: Food Blogger, Recipe developer, Meal Planner .. and Chief Eating Officer! ;-)

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Frances June 29, 2013, 1:48 am

    This looks delicious! Thank you for linking up that the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #5!

  • Amelia June 15, 2013, 10:08 pm

    Hi Kavi, I love dosai very much but yet to try make my own. Your certainly look delicious. Thank you for the step by step method and recipe.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Sarojinin June 13, 2013, 12:15 pm

    Really good post, Kavitha, thank you :) I have to admit to being a dosa cooking virgin, though I love eating them, as I was put off by people saying they\\\\\’re too hard to make. Maybe this Summer I\\\\\’ll nail it!

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