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The Perfect Dosa (2020 version)

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Dosa is not a quick recipe, and it requires a bit of preplanning. Do read the kitchen notes and then proceed with the recipe. You do not need to eat dosa with chutney or sambhars all the time; use it like flatbread; it goes well with so many different types of condiments and recipes. I often serve it at breakfast with a fried egg in the center. Serve the dosa with coconut chutney and sambhar.

  • Yield: 1/2 gallon/2 L batter/4 servings


1 1/4 cup/250 g basmati rice or idli rice (see Notes)

3/4 cup/160 g skinned urad (udad) beans/dal, whole or split

2 cups/480 ml filtered water

1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds or powder

1 Tbsp sugar

fine sea salt

1/2 cup/120 ml ghee or grapeseed oil or a neutral cooking oil for cooking the dosas


  1. Clean the rice and urad dal for any debris. Place the rice and dal together in a food-safe container or a large bowl and rinse with cold water three times. If you’re using fenugreek seeds, add them now (if you use fenugreek powder, add them in the blender step). Add the water and sugar, cover the bowl or container with a lid, and let it sit in a warm spot at 80F/27C for 6 hours, or use a sous vide immersion circulator water bath at the same temperature. After this time, the seeds will absorb water. A grain of rice or bean, when broken, will show a translucent interior, while one that is not completely soaked will have an opaque center surrounded by a translucent ring.
  2. Transfer the seeds with half the soaking water to a high-speed blender. If you’re using fenugreek powder, add it now. Start on low speed and then proceed to high, pulsing for a few seconds until you get a smooth consistency with no chunks. Add the remaining soaking water if needed. This ground batter should be very thick. Transfer the batter back into the container. Cover loosely with a lid and let it sit in a warm spot, or sous vide heated water bath at 80F/27C for 16 to 18 hours to ferment.
  3. At about 16 hours, check the batter; it should be extremely thick and foamy and a little sour to taste. If it’s not yet there, leave it for another two hours and check again. The exact time will vary depending on your incubation conditions. To check whether the batter is ready to use, take 1 Tbsp of the fermented batter and place it on the surface of a cup filled with tap water; the gas in the batter should keep it afloat.
  4. To cook the dosa, take 1 cup/240 ml of the batter in a medium bowl. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of water to the batter with a few tiny pinches of salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp salt to every 1 cup/240 ml batter; this will depend on your taste – the batter is perfectly safe to taste). The batter should have the consistency of a thick pancake batter; if it is too thin, it will not spread well; if it is too thick, add a few more Tbsp of water.
  5. Next, prepare the pan. You will need a lid wide enough to cover the pan. Place the pan over the stove and heat over medium to low heat. Rub the surface with about 1/2 tsp ghee or oil. Take a small piece of a clean paper towel and, using a pair of kitchen tongs, spread the ghee or oil all over the surface of the pan. The melted fat or oil should cover the pan in a thin layer. Fill the ladle with about 1/2 cup/120 ml of this dosa batter and pour it over the center of the heated pan. It should sizzle very slightly, not too much. Using a circular motion, moving from the center to the outer edge, spread the batter to form a thin crepe (it doesn’t matter if it is clockwise or anticlockwise) using the ladle and applying light pressure. Cover the pan with the lid and let it cook over low heat for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Once the steam condenses and accumulates on the top of the lid, remove the lid and let the dosa cook uncovered. You can also leave the lid slightly open to let the steam escape as it cooks. Too much water condensation can cause the edges of the dosa to cook slower than the rest of the dosa. Continue to cook the dosa until the base turns golden brown and the edges start to release. Take a flat turner to release the dosa, carefully push through the space between the dosa, and then pan to release the dosa. If your dosa is a bit thick, flip it and cook till it releases, but if it is thin, do not. Fold the dosa in half, transfer it to a serving dish, and serve immediately. Dosas are best eaten as soon as they come off the stove.


  • Brown rice will also work here. Do not use sticky rice.

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