Dosa – fermented Indian pancake

Like many other types of Dosa, it supports all constitutions, can be used at any season and can be easily digested. Dosa also strengthens the body and is especially recommended for morning time. One may consume it once a week. It is recommended to consume it with greater amounts of water for digestion and to avoid thirst, especially during the summertime.

Dosa – A Fermented Rice & Dāl Pancake

I start soaking in the morning and grind in the evening, and ferment through that night and depending on the season it is ready for breakfast.

Ingredients :

1 cup/200g urad dāl

2 cups/360g white basmati rice

1 cup/205g brown basmati rice

8 -10 cups/2 – 2½ litres of water (for soaking)

1 Tblsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp salt

Pre-preparation :

Place the urad dāl, rice and fenugreek in a bowl.  Rinse well with at least 3 changes of water (keep the rinsing water for the garden).  Add enough water in the bowl to generously cover the rice and the dāl, about 2 inches over the rice & dāl.  Leave to soak for at least 12 hours.  The dāl and rice will swell and soften during this soak.

Drain a little water out of the rice and dāl.  Put this water aside, as you may need it later.  Grind in an upright high-speed blender with the water they have been soaking in.  Grind until fine and smooth, adding a little of the water that you had put aside.  Be careful, as you don’t want the batter too runny.  A similar consistency to a thick pancake batter is what you are aiming for.  Add salt and mix well.  Put the batter in a bowl with plenty of room to expand.  Leave to stand in a warm place for at least 8 hours, in wintertime can take up to 24 hours.

The mixture will get slightly thicker, fizzy and rise.  Perfect!  This is the fermentation taking place.


Heat a heavy skillet or a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  The batter should be of a thick, pouring consistency.  Make sure the pan is very hot.  Drop a ladleful of batter into the pan. Using the back of the ladle, very gently swirl the batter from the centre outwards to make a thin crepe-like dosa.  Cook over medium heat until the edges of the dosa start to lift, about 1 – 3 minutes. Drizzle a little ghee lightly over the dosa and turn it over.  If you try to turn it over too soon before it has started to set, the dosa will break.  Cook until golden.

Serve with a palya/gojju or sambar.

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