Mastering the Art of Dosa: A Simple Guide to Making This Delicious Indian Dish

What Is Dosa?

Dosa is a popular South Indian dish that’s loved for its crispy texture and delicious flavor. It’s a thin, crepe-like pancake made from a fermented batter of rice and urad dal (black gram lentils).

Dosa cooking in skillet
Food & Wine // Heami Lee

This dish is typically served with a variety of chutneys and sambar (a spicy lentil soup). Dosa is not only tasty but also gluten-free, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions. It’s often enjoyed for breakfast, but it can be a delightful meal at any time of the day.

Preparing the Batter

The key to a perfect dosa is in the batter. Here’s a simple way to prepare it at home:


1 cup of rice

1/2 cup of urad dal (black gram lentils)

1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds

Salt to taste

Water as needed


Soak the Rice and Dal: Rinse the rice and urad dal separately under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice and dal (with fenugreek seeds) in separate bowls of water for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Grind to a Batter: Drain the soaked rice and dal. In a blender, grind the urad dal with a little water until it’s smooth and frothy. Transfer to a large bowl. Next, grind the rice with a bit of water until smooth but slightly grainy. Mix both batters together and add salt.

Fermentation: Cover the bowl and let the batter ferment in a warm place for 8-12 hours, or until it has doubled in size and looks bubbly. The fermentation process gives dosa its characteristic tangy flavor.

Cooking the Dosa

Once the batter is ready, making dosa is a quick process. Here’s how to do it:

Prepare the Pan: Heat a non-stick pan or a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, sprinkle a few drops of water on the pan. If they sizzle and evaporate immediately, the pan is ready. Wipe the pan with a cloth.

Spread the Batter: Pour a ladleful of batter onto the center of the pan. Using the back of the ladle, spread the batter in a circular motion to form a thin, even layer. Drizzle a few drops of oil or ghee around the edges of the dosa.

spread dosa batter in skillet
Food & Wine // Heami Lee

Cook the Dosa: Cook until the edges start to lift and the bottom turns golden brown and crispy. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes. If you prefer a softer dosa, cook for a shorter time. For a crispier dosa, cook a bit longer. Once done, gently lift the dosa with a spatula and fold it in half or roll it.

Serve Hot: Serve the dosa hot with your favorite chutneys and sambar. Coconut chutney, tomato chutney, and mint chutney are popular choices.