Plate of Masala Dosa - A classic South Indian fare

Plate of Masala Dosa – A classic South Indian fare

If you come to my home on a weekend, there’s a 50% chance you will be treated to a plate of Masala Dosa. I make enough to last 2 days, usually finishing it off by making onion dosas out of the leftover batter. I grew up eating dosas as an after-school snack. I remember my mother making dosa batter using a huge stone mortar and pestle. That must have been a hard task considering it was a family of 6. Then we got the Sumeet mixie and it soon replaced the manual method.

It is difficult to resist a crispy Dosa. Of the 100 different types of dosas that you can make, masala dosa holds a special appeal for everyone. It’s probably because of the sumptuous accompaniments it comes with; spicy potato curry, coconut chutney and that bowl of tangy sambar making a wholesome, satisfying meal. Having enjoyed great-tasting dosas all my life, it was difficult to replicate the same taste here in california. After experimenting with different varieties of rice and the rice-urad dal ratio, I found a happy note in the following recipe.

1 cup ponni parboiled rice

Half cup ponni raw rice

1/2 cup urad dal

1 tea spoon methi/fenugreek seeds

1 tea spoon chana dal

Wash the dal, rice, and methi together under running water a few times. Soak in 8 cups of water for approx. 8 hours. Grind the grains mixture in a grinder until absolutely smooth. This is best tested by rubbing some batter between your fingers. Empty the batter into a big stock pot, cover it and keep it away for at least 10-12 hours. This step is to ensure proper fermentation of the batter. I keep the pot in the oven and turn the light on irrespective of the weather. After about 12 hours, you will see that the batter has risen by about 2-3 inches from its original level.  At this point, you are ready to make dosas.

To make dosas:

Use a big (10” is OK, 12″ is ideal) griddle/tava. Non-stick is good.

Fill a big ladle with the batter and pour it in the center of a hot tava/griddle and spread it out in a circular fashion until it covers up pretty much all of the griddle. Immediately spread a tea spoon of ghee/melted butter/oil along the edge of the dosa. Keep the tava hot during the entire time. After about 15 seconds, flip the dosa and keep it on the tava/griddle for another 10 seconds or so.

Serve with potato curry, coconut chuntey and optinally, a bowl of onion sambhar.


9 Responses to “Dosa”

  1. S J Says:

    I was hoping if you could give recepie for sambhar.

    • Anupama Krishnamurthy Says:

      Sure SJ. Give me a day or so and I’ll send it to you.


      • sj Says:

        Hi Anupama,
        After 30 years of trying to make perfect dosa finally I did it. Thanks to you. The dosa, sambhar, and the Coconut chutney came out perfect.

        • Anupama Krishnamurthy Says:

          Hi Shirley,
          Your comment brought a very happy smile. Thanks for sharing your experience here. I do have this saarina pudi/rasam powder recipe which makes a large quantity of rasam powder. Here it is. One of these days I will measure the ingredients and share the recipe for a much smaller quantity.

          Use the best quality spices you can buy.

          * 1 kilo coriander seeds/dhaniya
          * 1/2 kilo dry red chilies
          * 1/2 tea cup mustard seeds/rai
          * 1 tea cup cumin seeds/jeera
          * 3/4 cup dry fenugreek seeds/methi
          * 1 cup black pepper/kali mirch
          * 2 tea spoon asafoetida/hing
          * Approx. 1 table spoon ghee


          1. Keep all ingredients handy. Each roasting will take approximately 8 minutes. Roast on low heat. Makting this powder requires a lot of patience. Do not rush through it 🙂

          2. Roast black pepper in 1/2 tea spoon ghee. Remove and keep aside.

          3. Roast fenugreek/methi seeds. Remove and keep aside.

          4. Roast jeera/cumin seeds, keep aside.

          5. Next, roast 1/2 cup coriander/dhaniya and 1/2 cup red chilies together in half a tea spoon ghee. Repeat this for the remaining quantity of coriander seeds and red chilies.

          6. Add Asafoetida (hing) to the mix.

          7. Grind all the spices into a very fine and smooth powder.

          8. In the end, roast and grind mustard seeds into a smooth powder and add it to the masala powder prepared in step 7.

          Store the masala powder in a glass or stainless steel airtight container.

          All the best,

  2. Saira Says:

    Hi Anupama,

    I live in California too and I’ve looked everywhere for Ponni parboiled rice. Can’t seem to find it. If you live anywhere close to San Francisco, could you please share the store name where I can get it? I’ve left you a comments in your idli section too 🙂 Your recipes make me want to try all these traditional breakfast items which so far I’ve been too scared to try 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Anupama Says:

    Hi Simon,
    If you must use rice flour, I suggest that you soak rice flour in about 1.5 cups of water before you start grinding urad dal. Once the urad dal is ground, add rice flour to the urad dal paste and grind together for about 5 minutes or so. Also, I suggest that for 1 cup rice flour, you use 3/4 cup urad dal. Also, make sure the batter is neither watery nor too thick. It should be kind of like a pancake batter.

    For proper fermentation you can pour the batter in a sauce pan, wrap it in a big towel (you can use an old bath towel) and put it away in a pantry or in an oven for about 12 hours. California gets pretty cold during winter where I live, and I use this technique and it works really well.

    Our of curiosity, is there any reason why you are using rice flour instead of soaking rice in water and then grinding it? To get that traditional dosa taste and texture, I believe soaking urad dal and rice together and then grinding them together would be best.

    Hope the above helps. Please do let me know if you try again. I am curious now!


  4. simon Says:

    Hi Anupama

    I saw your dosa recipe and wondered if you could help me? It has long been an ambition of mine to cook dosas but I have always failed. My latest attempt was better but I still end up with what is like a traditional english pancake. I am using 1 cup of rice flour and 1/2 cup of urad dhal. I have left it overnight but I don’t think I’m getting the proper fermentation going. You’ve probably guessed I’m in England and it’s never that hot in the kitchen. I have used a blender to get the mixture smooth and the paste seems fine.

    Many thanks in advance,


  5. Anupama Says:

    Hi Nirmala,
    Thank you so much. Yes, I do plan on blogging lots of Gujarati dishes. With Navaratri and Deepavali just around the corner, it’s going to fun.


  6. Nirmala Rao Says:

    Hi Anupama,

    This looks really delicious – and must taste just as good. Your blogsite is great and I enjoy browsing thru all this esp gujerati cuisine. Looking forward to your version of undhiyu and dhoodhi moothiya. I can see its all so authentically homemade.

    Congratulations on this innovative idea.

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