South-indian special: Masala Dosa and the works (with home-made dosa batter!)

This is quite a lengthy recipe, so I am going to keep the introduction short.

Masala dosa is a wildly popular dish not only within India, but in other counties as well! It’s the staple dish of south-India and is basically a savory crepe, made of ground and femented lentils and rice and served with a stuffing of potatoes, a spicy lentil soup called sambhar and a coconut chutney. Masala dosa is enjoyed as a breakfast, lunch or dinner dish througout India.

In India, one can get the ready to use liquid dosa batter at any supermarket nowdays. Even when we stayed in the UK, we used to get an awesome dosa batter at the Indian stores, but when we shifted to Ireland, I started making batter at home. It took me three attempts to get the perfect batter but finally, I did it!

This is a long recipe, mainly because of so many different elements and side-dishes but trust me, in the end it’s so so worth it! Give this recipe a go and enjoy!


For the dosa

1/2 cup Urad dal

1.5 cups rice

1 tsp fenugreek seeds or methidana

2 tbsn raw flattened rice or poha

1 tsp salt

For the Sambhar:

1.5 cups Toor dal

100 grams dry and de-seeded Tamarind (or readymade tamarind pulp- 2 tbsp)

1 tbsp curry leaves

2-3 red kashmiri whole chillies

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp mustard seeds or rai

1/2 tsp methidana

1 pinch asafoetida

2 tomatoes

1 onion, diced into long slices.

1 drumstick

1/2 of a small bottle-goard or lauki

Some cauliflower florets

Some cubes of peeled Pumpkin (optional)

2 tbsp sambhar masala

3 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

For the chutney-

1 fresh small-sized coconut- peeled and grated

2 kashmiri whole red chillies

3-4 tablespoons chana dal

1 tsp rai

1 tsp urad dal

1 tsp curry leaves

2 tsp oil+ 2 tsp oil

Salt to taste

For the potato masala-

2 cups boiled and mashed potatoes

1 tsp curry leaves

2-3 red whole chillies

1 small onion, diced into long slices

1 tsp turmeric

salt to taste


For the dosa batter:

-Wash and rinse the urad dal. Soak the urad dal and fenugreek seeds together in a bowl and sufficient water (around 2 cups).

-Wash and rinse the rice. In a separate container, soak the rice and flattened rice together.

-Cover and leave both the containers overnight on room temperature.

-Next day, drain the urad dal and fenugreek seeds of the water (preserve the water) and grind in the mixer grinder with as little water as possible. Use the preserved water to do that. Grind to a smooth paste.

-Next, drain the rice of the water and after emptying the blender of the dal paste, grind the rice and flattened rice to a course paste in the blender. Not too course but just so that when you touch the batter,you should feel the grains between your fingers.

-Take a large and deep container and pour both the batters into it. Wash your hands well and with your hand, mix both the batters together till they are very well mixed. Mixing by hand is essential as the bacteria from your hand helps the batter in fermenting!

-Add the salt and give the batter a final mix.

-Cover the container loosely with a lid or a plate.

-In hot countries like India, the dosa batter gets well fermented in 8 hours on room temperature, but in cold countries like Ireland where I stay, it takes 24 hours for the batter to be ready. It is -2 degrees here right now and my batter got fermented in 26 hours this past week. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees for around 10-15 mins to get it warm. Turn it off and then keep the container wrapped in a warm woolen sweater inside the oven for 24 hours. Even if you skip pre-heating (you have to be careful that the oven isn’t too hot and it takes practice) you can keep your batter in the oven with only its light on for 24 hours and it still will turn out great. If you are living in a hot country, simply keep your covered utensil in a dry place at room temperature for 7-8 hours and you will get a great batter!

Some important points to remember-

  • It is important to keep your batter in a deep utensil as it will double or sometimes even triple in volume after getting fermented. So a shallow container may result in the over-flowing of the batter.
  • DO NOT WORRY IF YOUR BATTER DOESN’T RISE, especially in cold countries. Mine doesn’t many a times because of the cold and still tastes great. You know your batter is fermented when you get a sour odour as you open the container and see little bubbles on the surface.
  • Your fermented batter will be thick and you will need to add some water to it before making dosas.

It’s seems to be a lengthy process in writing but trust me, it’s very easy to make a great dosa batter at home!




-Soak the tamarind into a bowl of warm water overnight.

-Next day, in a pressure cooker combine toor dal with about 2.5 cups of water, salt, and turmeric. Put on the lid and cook over high heat till the first whistle and on low heat for about 7-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and wait until steam has escaped before opening the pressure cooker. Dal should be soft and mushy and neither too thin or neither too thick. Keep aside.

-Squish the soaked tamarind well with your fingers inside the soaked water. Strain the sour tamarind pulpy water into a cup with a strainer, so that all the excess covering or solids get seperated. Throw away the solids. It’s the pulpy sour water we need. Keep aside.

-Steam the vegetables in the pressure cooker till they are soft. Note that lauki takes longer to steam than other vegetables so steam it seperately a bit, beforehand.

-For the tempering, take a pan and heat the oil in it. When the oil gets hot, add your mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and onions. Fry till the onions turn translucent.

-Add the tomatoes next. Cook till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.

-Add the dal, vegetables, half of tamarind water and sambhar powder to the tempering and mix well. If the sambhar looks thick, add some water. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for 8-10 minutes.

-Taste and adjust the amount of salt, tamarind water and sambhar powder according to your preference. Consistency of sambhar should be on the thinner side. Also, it should be sour and tangy enough. Add more tamarind water carefully if the sambhar doesn’t taste sour enough.

-Delicious sambhar is ready.


Coconut chutney-

-In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil.

-When it gets hot, add the chana dal and roast it on low heat till it turns a little red.

-Add the red chillies and fry for 2 minutes.

-Switch off the gas and let the mixture cool.

-When it has cooled down, add the grated coconut. Put the mixture in a blender and adding little water, grind to a course paste. The elements should be well grinded and no longer to be seen seperately.

-In the pan, heat 2 tsp oil. When it gets hot, add your mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Fry for around 1 minutes. Switch off the gas.  Add the tempering and salt to the grounded coconut paste and mix well. Chutney is ready.


Potato masala-

-Heat oil in a pan. When it gets hot, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chillies and sliced onions. Fry till onions turn translucent.

-Add the mashed potatoes, salt and turmeric.

-Mix gently and cook for 3-4 minutes. Potato mixture for dosa is ready!


Making the masala dosa- (refer the video shared on my facebook page)

-Place a non-stick- heavy frying pan over high heat. Test by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. The water should sizzle right away.

-Put some drops of oil on the surface of the pan and spread evenly with a kitchen towel or your spatula.

-Pour a ladle-full of the batter mixture into the skillet and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Starting from the center, spiral outward until evenly spread, into a thin circle.

-Sprinkle or Smear about 2 teaspoons oil over it and along the edges and cook till the dosa turns brown in color and crisp. Flip the dosa using a flat spatula, for about 15 seconds.

-Place some of the potato filling in the center and carefully roll the dosa like a loose wrap.You can also make a traingular dosa like I have in the image and serve the filling seperately.

-Enjoy with piping hot sambhar and tangy coconut chutney.


  • Eventhough Sambhar is traditionally made with toor/arhar dal, I usually make it with a mix of yellow moong dal and orange masoor dal. The reason being that moong dal is lighter on the stomach. As we eat dosa-sambhar for lunch as well as dinner on the day it is made, keeping it light is definitely a good idea. The end results stay the same. Both the variations are equally delicious.
  • You can use this dosa batter to make uttapams or idli as well. You would just need to manage the consistency of the batter needed in respective recipes.










3 Comments Add yours

  1. Love the pyramid shaped Dosa, simply delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanx Priya!😊 I learned the technique on YouTube. It’s so easy and looks fancy!😉

      Liked by 1 person

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