Dosa Notes

Ordinary Dosa


  • soak
    • 2 cups long-grain rice
    • 4 cups water (2:1)
  • soak
    • 2/3 cup urad dal
    • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
    • 2 cup water (3:1)
  • blend and ferment
    • 1 tsp kosher salt (not iodized)
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • frying
    • vegetable oil


  1. Rinse the rice and combine it with water in a bowl. Pick over and rinse the dal, then it combine with fenugreek and water in another bowl. Let rice and dal soak for 4 to 12 hours.
  2. Drain and rinse the rice, discard its water. Drain the dal and reserve its water.
  3. In a high-powered blender, combine soaked rice, dal, fenugreek, and 1/2 cup reserved dal soaking water. Blend until completely smooth, adding more soaking water if needed.
  4. Add baking soda, kosher salt, and adjust the thickness of the batter until it's just thinner than pancake batter. The final yield should be about 5 cups.
  5. Ferment the batter in a covered bowl until it has doubled in volume; this can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. Stir to release the gases and then allow it to double in size once more, another 8 to 24 hours.
  6. Pre-heat a hot plate/pan so that water sizzles on it.
  7. Pour a ladle of batter onto the hot plate and spread it quickly using a spiral motion. Cook until the surface is set, about 1 min. Brush or drizzle the top of the dosa with ghee or oil. Continue cooking till the bottom of the dosa is golden brown and edges are crisp, about 4 mins. Serve immediately.


  • The Rice to Pulses ratio is 3:1, So some combinations are:
    • 1 1/2 cups rice, 1/2 cups lentils, yielding 3 3/4 cups batter.
    • 2 cups rice, 2/3 cups lentils, yielding 5 cups batter.
  • Ideally use distilled or bottled rather than tap water, since tap water is ever so slightly chlorinated and that could affect the fermentation.
  • Fermentation notes
    • Ideal fermentation temperature is 80 F - 110 F.
    • Possible fermentation methods:
      • Counter top fermentation below 80 F can take up to 24 hours and there is a risk bacterial contamination.
      • In a multi-cooker, filled about 1/3 of the way, fermentation with the yogurt setting should take about 6 hours.
      • In a container in an immersion circulator bath set to 110 F, fermentation should take about 6 hours.
      • In a dehydrator set to 110 F or below, fermentation should take about 6 hours. Be sure the batter is in a sealed container with a small vent hole so it doesn't dry out.
    • If fermentation goes for too long the batter will turn sour.
    • Chlorinated water can kill wild yeasts and prevent fermentation. Use tap water.
    • Iodine in the salt can kill wild yeasts and prevent fermentation. Use kosher salt instead.
  • Once fermented, the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or frozen for 3 months.
  • It is possible to omit the fenugreek, which in turn allows the flavor of the grains to be more prominent.
  • Dave Arnold's Dosa Advice
    • Prefers rice to dal ratios of 4:1 or 3:1.
    • Prefers using Idli rice.
    • Grind rice and dal separately to achieve different textures.
    • Adding some chickpea to the dal will increase crispiness and/or hardness.
    • Fermentation is Lactobacillus based. It breaks down starches (there by increasing crispiness) and lowers PH.

Kara Dosa


  • soak
    • 1 cup long-grain rice
    • 1/2 cup red gram dal (pigeon peas, roor dal), picked over and rinsed
    • 3 cups water
  • blend
    • 1/2 cup dried grated/shredded coconut
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
    • 6 red chillies
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (more or less to taste)
    • pepper flakes
  • frying
    • vegetable oil


  1. Soak rice and dal in water for 2 hours, then drain and rinse.
  2. Soak dried grated/shredded coconut in water for at least 10 mins, then drain.
  3. Blend rice, dal, coconut, asafoetida powder, chillies, water, and salt into a batter. Add more or less water to make the batter managable.
  4. Optionally add pepper flakes to the batter.
  5. Pre-heat a hot plate/pan so that water sizzles on it.
  6. Pour a ladle of batter onto the hot plate and spread it quickly using a spiral motion. Optionally make a hole in the center of the dosai. Pour a little oil around the edges of the dosai and into the center. Cook until golden brown on both sides, turning halfway through.


  • The rice and dal will absorb about 3/4 cup water.
  • Using one ghost pepper in the batter is fine for heat levels.
  • A food processor or a blender works fine for creating the batter.


  • Adapted from Dakshin, p93 by Chandra Padmanabhan

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