Masala Dosa


I actually love Masala Dosa. I’d easily say it’s my absolute favourite vegetarian dish!

I would probably even choose it over a meat dish… and that’s saying something coming from girl who loves her steak!!

But it’s not just me, my parents LOVE it too. My dad would happily drive us up to our favourite dosa restaurant in a spur of a moment if it meant he could feast on a crispy dosa!

Dosa is the term for a fermented pancake made from a mixture of rice and urad dal (black lentils), and is a popular breakfast dish in South Indian cuisine.


Masala Dosa is made by filling the dosa-pancake-thing with a spiced potato masala, and is usually served with a variety of sauces.

It can be a little fiddly, and does take some time to make…. but oh boy is it worth it!


For the dosa batter:

1 cup medium grain rice (Basmati seemed to work fine for me!)

1 cup idli rice (or parboiled rice)

½ cup whole urad dal (skinned black gram)

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp salt

2-3 tbsp ghee, melted… or just oil

For the potato masala filling:

6 medium sized potatoes, peeled, diced and parboiled

3tsp cumin seeds

3tsp mustard seeds

2 white onion, diced

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

2-3 green chillies (for a mild heat, I used 4… I like things hot :D)

8-10 curry leaves

1½tsp asafoetida

1½tsp turmeric

1tsp red chilli powder

1tbsp lemon juice

salt and pepper

handful of coriander, chopped


Making the dosa batter:


Place the rice in a large bowl. Wash with room temperature water, drain and refill with more water to fill the bowl a few inches above the rice.

Place the dal and the fenugreek in a second large bowl. Wash, drain and refill with water as above.


Leave to soak for a good few hours. I left mine for about 7 hours.


After soaking the dal should now be swollen, and ready to grind.

Strain the dal, but save the liquid!! Tip the dal into a grinder/blender and grind.


Add the dal-water to the mix to help form a smooth, fluffy batter as below.


Oh so fluffy! Tip the ground dal into a clean large bowl.

Next drain the rice and add to the grinder (no need to wash it) and grind to a smooth but slightly gritty batter. Add the dal-water as necessary to help form a thick, slightly grainy, yet pillowy batter.


Add this to the ground dal, add the salt and mix thoroughly to a thick, gloopy mixture.


Cover the bowl loosely and leave in a warm place to ferment for about 8-9 hours. I left mine overnight.


The fermented mixture should be frothy and hopefully almost double the amount. If the batter is too thick, add a little water to reach a thick pouring consistency.

Making the potato masala filling:

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the cumin and mustard seeds. Let them sputter. Man I love that word.

Next add the onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies, and curry leaves. Fry till the onions become soft and translucent.

Add the asafoetida, turmeric, and red chilli powder. Then add the potatoes and stir in the spices.

Add about 250ml of water and leave to reduce to an almost mushy potato consistency.

Stir in the lemon juice, coriander and salt and pepper to season.


Construction time:

Heat a large, flat nonstick pan on a high heat (practically smoking!). Cut a small onion in half, and using a fork spread all over the pan. I found the dosa came out much better without using oil on a nonstick pan, but you may wish a sprinkle a few drops of oil on first, then spread with the onion.


Next pour a ladle of the batter directly into the middle of the hot pan. Then using the ladle spread the mixture outwards in a circular motion to form a thin layer across the pan.

Once the bottom of the dosa is lightly browned, drizzle with a few drops of melted ghee or oil, then flip!

Cook on this side for a few seconds, before flipping back over. Add some of the potato filling to one side and fold in half.



Serve with whatever you fancy. I had a mix of coconut chutneys, and a quick sambar (a vegetable broth made with tamarind) that my dad just HAD to rustle up. That man and his dosa’s! Sheesh!

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