Dosa or Dosai is the most loved South Indian food. You can call it the gluten-free and healthy version of the French crepe. Unlike the Crepe, it is savory with a mild sour tinge which is well complemented by the sambar and chutneys. And you will never get tired of it as there are so many varieties to keep you going 🙂 .
In South Indian homes it is usually made with the regular idli batter, on a greased hot tawa or griddle. A ladle of batter is poured in the center and spread thinly over the griddle.
Oil, usually sesame oil is drizzled and cooked till it attains a golden brown color and crisps up. There are 3 ways you can proceed.
- Either flip over and cook the other side. These dosas seem a bit dry as it is cooked on both sides.
- Or cook it by covering it with a lid, and fold it over without flipping. Dosa cooked this way will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Or using the turner, just press on the dosa throughout and fold without flipping. These dosas are very crisp, though not dry. I usually cook by this method. Some people even scrape the thicker parts on the top as the dosa cooks, using a spoon so as to make it like paper.
This batter is usually of the consistency of yogurt. There is another type of preparation in which the batter is thin like water. This kind of batter is poured on a greased tawa on high heat from the outside to the inside.
You cannot spread this batter, but just fill the holes by pouring the batter circling over the griddle. The dosas prepared this way are usually instant dosas, and are mostly very crispy, like the semolina or Rava dosa.
Though they are thin and crispy they take quite some time to cook up and so I normally work with two dosa tawas when making these.
Then there are dosas made with millets like finger millet/ragi, pearl millet/bajra etc. Dosas are also made using vegetables with high water content like pumpkin, bottle gourd & cucumber. People have even started making dosa out of carrots, beets, and even lady’s finger. So you can imagine the varieties.
Dosas, unlike idlis, cannot be prepared earlier. They tend to dry up as they cool, so are best had right out of the tawa. Cast iron is the best medium for making dosas.
Stay away from non-stick dosa pans or tawas as they tend to heat up too much and emit fumes which are not good for health. Also, the taste of dosas made on traditional griddles can never be compared with the ones made using non-stick cookware.
If you are lucky enough to have somebody make it for you, then you will keep going on and on. It’s so addictive.
Dosa is the ubiquitous staple in our house. We have it for breakfast and dinner, and at short notice, we have it for lunch too.
In fact, my younger one can live on dosas. He has stopped having our regular rice for lunch and dosa has become his daily fare. So I always have the batter stored in the refrigerator.
With this basic dosa batter, you can make plain dosa, ghee dosa as well as all kinds of stuffed dosa including masala dosa and kheema dosa.
Non-Indians or people from the rest of India can make this batter easily using my mixer batter recipe. All it requires is any parboiled rice (if possible idli rice), a lentil (urad dal), and beaten rice (poha) which is optional.
You can even add a handful of tapioca pearls or sago instead of beaten rice. This replacement will not work for idlis.
Or if you have access to Indian commodity you can look out for the batter. In Qatar, you can get it in all stores dealing with Indian products.
Though we prepare lots of chutneys like coconut chutney and stews like sambar, ishtu, etc as accompaniments, we always have this lentil powder called the idli podi on hand. This is mixed with oil (usually coconut oil or sesame oil) or ghee and used as a dip.
Apart from this, you can have it with sweeteners like jaggery, condensed milk, sugar, etc just in case.
I shall be posting recipes for all the dosas that I make at home. Do try them, and you’ll find yourself falling in love.
So here I go…
Do have a look at my other breakfast recipes