August 18, 2008

Basic Plain Dosai - Easy Method

Dedicated to all those dosai fledglings, or those who would like an easier method!
Some of you might be wondering why such a basic post about plain ol' dosai... When I was learning to make them, I was longing for a simple way to make it with fewer resources. This method does not involve grinding the rice, or those big bulky wet-grinders, and with just a normal blender, you will be flipping out dosais by the minute!

Dosai is the South-Indian answer to all the fancy crepes and pancakes out there. It is not a delicacy, but a everyday breakfast in South India, the most scrumptious way one can start off the day with. It is the most easiest to make for anyone who is used to it, but it can be daunting for somebody who is just starting off, and is not that familiar with the workings of this wonderful man-made creation.

The avatars of a dosai are innumerable. They are what you want them to be. I have given the recipe for "plain dosai" here, but you can transform them into any of these very easily.

Pacha maavu dosai- When you make them on the very day the batter is made. It has a distinct virgin taste to it
Plain dosai - Dosai made with fermented batter
Onion dosai - Onions either mixed into the batter (or) scattered on one side of the dosai
Podi dosai - Dosai sprinkled with chilly powder (which is specially prepared, definitely not the raw one)
Masala dosai - Masala potato mixture stuffed in between the dosai and folded over
Paper roast - Very thin (paper like) dosai
Uthappam - Atleast 2 days old batter, which is slightly sour and made into pancake-like thickness and has onions, tomatoes, & cilantro on one side.
"XYZ" Dosai - The "XYZ" standing for whatever you choose to stuff into the dosai, like curried cauliflower, grated paneer, tomatoes, spinach, baby corn, lentils and so many others, I am not going to go in detail about the varieties (apparently there are 104 different types in an Indian restaurant in Hyderabad! Wonder what they came up with!)

I use the same batter for idlis, and they come out pretty nicely. Give it a try.
I have tried to explain it to my best, giving step-by-step method. Hope it helps :)

Plain Dosai


Idli Rava - 2 cups
Split Urad Dhal - 1 cup
Methi (Fenugreek) seeds - 2 pinches (approx. 8-10 seeds, adding more will give bitterness to the batter)
Salt - To taste
Sugar - 1/4 tsp (for fermentation, not to add sweetness)
Hardware - Blender (Any 400-450 watts one will do)


For Batter:

Soak Urad dhal & methi seeds in water overnight, atleast 8 hrs.
Next day, mix the idli rava with water just enough so it reaches wet-sand like consistency.
Grind the soaked urad dhal with water (from soaking) along with the sugar and salt till smooth. Consistency should be like a cake batter, not too loose.
Mix the urad dhal batter with the wet idli rava mixture and mix well.
Keep in a warm, dry place overnight. It will ferment and double in size.
Next day, you can make idlis or dosais out of them.

For making dosais:

1. Mix fermented batter well. Pour a ladle of batter onto a griddle (medium-heat), and spread in a round circular motion till completely spread out (If you are not used to it, it may take a few trys before you perfect it)

2. Drizzle oil on the sides, and wait till other side appears golden brown, lift the sides and flip over.

3. Cook the other side for a few minutes, again till crispy or soft as you may like it. Less cooking time yields soft dosais, and longer yields crispier ones.

4. Serve with chilly powder (Molagai Podi), or chutney of your choice.

How easy was that? Er... maybe not if it is your first time, but it will become easier the more you try it. I can post a video on how to make it on demand.


  1. Dosa looks yummy dear. Pictorial view of dosa is very nice.

  2. Dosa looking super crispy ..yummy dosa ...

  3. I had an immense lunch and yet the sight of those dosais is still tempting enough to make me eat a big dinner. Thanks for the wonderful step-by-step account. Its good to know you don't have to use one of those heavy stone grinders to make the batter.

  4. Ohhhh, those look so good! I wish I was able to make those so well, I'd be eating them all the time!

  5. hi.. dosa looks just perfect. I have been trying to do a nice dosa but got nowhere close.. What exactly is idli rava? Is it idli rice or rava(the one used for kesari and all)? and moreover Im hardly able to spread the batter so smoothly and fine!

  6. Smylee - Idli Rava is not the one we use for kesari, that is normal sooji/rava and is otherwise called 'cream of wheat'. This is specifically called "Idli Rava" and is 'cream of rice'.
    You should be able to find it in any Indian grocery store.
    Spreading the dosai batter comes with pratice, and I am sure you are gonna make better ones than me if you try!

  7. Wow!! What a crispy dosai, simply loved it!!
    Good job!


Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. I will try to respond to queries as soon as I can. If I miss anything that needs to be addressed... please feel free to ping me again.
Happy cooking/baking or whatever it is you are doing in the kitchen! :)