South Indians can never be short of their favourite masala dosa. It is a thin crepe but it is eaten as a savoury dish. It is a staple food of almost all the states of South India. They make a healthy breakfast option and also a popular street food. Dosa is made using fermented rice batter which is spread on a tava to make it crispy and thin. These crispy and thin crepes are delicious and very addictive. They are usually stuffed with a filling of onions and potatoes but are also eaten as plain dosa without any filling.
This dish is prepared almost in every Indian household and is loved by adults and children alike. Dosa is usually served with piping hot sambhar and spicy coconut chutney. Sambhar is a sour and spicy curry which is made using lentils, various vegetables, shallots and spices like turmeric powder, chilli, cumin and tamarind paste.
History of dosa
Dosa comes from the word “dosha” which means sin. Many believe that dosa originated from the city of Udupi in Karnataka. It is believed that a brahmin temple cook who was deprived of alcohol decided to do an experiment since brahmins were not allowed alcohol. He decided to make his own and so fermented some rice. But the experiment failed and so he poured it onto a pan and made a crepe out of it.
Usually, dosa is eaten with chutney in South India. Chutney comes from the word chata in Karnataka which means bad habit. Dosa mattu chata is the name for it which means dosa with chutney. So, dosa mattu chata means a sin accompanied with a bad habit.
Masala dosa has various types depending on the city or state it comes from. Some of the variants of masala dosa are as follows.
Variants of masala dosa
- Mysore masala dosa
- Madras special masala dosa
- Paper masala dosa
- Benne masala dosa
- Rava masala dosa
- Vegetable masala dosa
- MTR masala dosa
Masala dosa with sambhar makes the deadliest combination! It is light weight, easy to make and a healthy dish. So, do try this delicious recipe at home for your next party or just a sunday brunch. We guarantee it will not disappoint!
Also, do not forget to read the tips at the end of the recipe.
Do read these articles and recipes if you are a South Indian food lover.
Masala dosa recipe
- FOR DOSA BATTER
- ½ cup idli rice (or substitute with raw rice)
- 1 ½ cups sona masuri rice
- ½ cup urad dal
- ¼ cup thick poha
- Water for soaking and grinding (refer recipe)
- ½ teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
- 3 Tablespoons chana dal
- ¾ teaspoon rock salt
- FOR POTATO FILLING
- 2 cups (4 medium sized) potatoes, boiled and crumbled
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon chana dal (optional)
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
- 1 cup (2 medium sized) onions, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- A pinch of Asafoetida
- 1 inch Ginger, finely chopped or paste
- 8 to 10 curry leaves
- 2 green chillies, sliced or chopped
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- FOR MAKING DOSAS
- Butter or Oil as needed
- Firstly, we will soak poha, rice and dal separately.
- Rinse the urad dal, chana dal and methi seeds thoroughly. In another bowl wash the rice thoroughly.
- Soak the rice in water for 4 to 5 hours and soak the pulses and methi seeds separately for about 3 hours. Also, wash the poha but only once or twice, 30 minutes before you start preparing the batter.
- After soaking the dal and methi seeds, drain out the water and add it to the grinder. Add a little amount of water to make a smooth paste.
- Take out the paste from the grinder and then add poha and rice to the same grinder. Add some water to make a smooth or slightly coarse paste according to your liking.
- Add the rice paste to the lentils paste and mix it well. Also add ¾ teaspoon rock salt and mix it very well in the batter.
- Cover the batter and let it ferment for 8 to 9 hours or overnight in a warm place.
- For the potato filling, soak the chana dal and urad dal for 30 minutes in hot water. Strain it and then keep it aside.
- In a pan heat 2 Tbsp oil or ghee. Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter.
- Add the soaked dal and let it sautee for about 2 minutes.
- Now add sliced onions, curry leaves, ginger and chillies. Sautee the onions until they become translucent.
- Now add all the spices- ½ teaspoon Cumin, a pinch of Asafoetida, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Now add the boiled potatoes and mix everything well so that the potatoes are evenly coated.
- Turn off the flame and add chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice.
- Now to make the masala dosa first adjust the consistency of batter by adding some water to make the consistency pourable.
- Heat a cast iron pan or a non-stick pan. Drizzle some oil or butter if using a cast iron pan and do not use oil/butter if using nonstick pan.
- The pan should be medium hot. Make the flame low when pouring the batter and add a ladleful of batter on tawa. Spread the dosa carefully in circular motion.
- Cook the dosa on a medium flame. Pour a little bit oil or butter on the edges of dosa and then let it cook till golden brown.
- When the base has become golden then place a little amount (about 2 tablespoons) of potato masala on the dosa.
- Carefully roll the dosa. Now repeat the same steps to make the rest of the dosas.
- Masala dosa is now ready. Serve the delectable dosa with piping hot sambhar and coconut chutney.
- If you live in a cold place then you can preheat the oven at 60oC for 10 minutes. Then switch off the oven and let the batter rest inside the oven for 8 to 9 hours.
- Although, adding poha is optional but it is good to add it since poha makes the dosa soft as well as crisp.
- Methi seeds aids the fermentation process and also give a nice golden colour.
- The pan should be hot when making dosas. To check if the pan is hot you can sprinkle some water on the iron skillet and if it sizzles then the pan is ready. Do not try this method while using a nonstick pan.
- The pan needs to be hot but not to hot or the batter will form a clump. So, cook the dosa on a medium heat.
- If you use a nonstick pan then your dosa will not stick. But if you are using an iron skillet then grease the pan thoroughly. You can also take a sliced onion and rub it on the skillet before cooking dosas on it.
- You can add the vegetables according to your liking to the potato masala. You could use peas, carrot, cauliflower, paneer, beans to make the filling.
Masala dosa makes a healthy breakfast, lunch or brunch option. They are a staple dish in most parts of South India and are now quite popular in other parts of India as well. So, do make these utterly delicious and crispy dosas that will make you a star at your next dinner party or get together.