South Indian Dosas

November 20, 2007 | Chuck
South Indian Dosa

Last month, we had a dosa making party at Jane and Mark's place. Chetana, Jane's friend/co-worker, and her husband, Mahesh, were our dosa gurus. Their mission was to teach us how to make a proper South Indian dosa. We had great teachers and the dosas were the best we ever had.

In case you are new to dosas, they are South Indian crêpes and are considered a breakfast dish, but can be eaten at any meal. The batter is made from rice and dal, blended with water and fermented overnight. To make a dosa, the batter is ladled over a greased griddle and spread into a circle, similar to a French crêpe. Dosas can be served plain, with chutneys or filled with vegetables, eggs and even cheese.

When Hungry Bear and I arrived for lunch, all the prep work was complete and the dosa instruction and eating festivities began. In addition to the dosas, Chetana and Mahesh made...

  • Lilva Kachori Chaat - topped with yogurt, powdered-roasted cumin, tamarind chutney and sev (fried noodle)
  • Sambhar - lentil curry soup
  • Coconut Cilantro Chutney - grated coconut, cilantro, asafoetida, dahlia (lentil), curry leaves, mustard seeds, salt and chili peppers
  • Mulgapoodi - a.k.a. gun powder, a blend of powdered spices and gingelly oil
  • Aamras - mango puree with milk

We started lunch with kachori chaat, which is a small snack consisting of a flour dough ball filled with spiced pigeon peas and topped with yogurt, powdered-roasted cumin, tamarind chutney and fried noodles. The chaat was tasty with great textures from the soft filling, crispy dough, creamy yogurt and crunchy noodles. It also had a nice interplay of flavors from the tangy tamarind, cooling yogurt and spiced filling.

The star of lunch was the dosas. Mahesh was the master dosa maker. He told us about the various types of dosa pans and how he stockpiled one particular model on a trip back to India. I brought over my electric crepe maker and Mahesh liked the non-stick surface and temperature control. He then showed us how to make the dosas using oil, butter or ghee. Mahesh made four dosa variations and an uttapam...

  • Sada - plain dosa
  • Paper Roast Dosa - very thin, crisp dosa
  • Masala Dosa - filled with potato mixture (aloo masala)
  • Mysore Masala Dosa - pyramid shaped with chutney smeared inside
  • Uttapam - open faced with green peppers and onions cooked into dosa batter
Sambhar - Curry Lentil Soup

The dosas were absolutely delicious. We ate them with our hands, the traditional Indian way. The dosas could be topped with the coconut chutney, malgapoodi and/or dipped in the lentil curry soup. Both the coconut chutney and the sambhar had amazing flavors. I would have been happy with just the chutney, but dipping the dosa in the sambhar was spectacular. Our favorite dosa was the masala dosa. We loved the potato filling which had great flavors from the dal, onions, chilies and curry leaves.

Mahesh was a dosa making machine. Every time we finished one he would have another one ready for us. We had to beg him to stop making them and sit down and eat himself. In addition to the dosas, we also had aamras, a mango puree with milk. It was a sweet, refreshing contrast to the spicy chutney.

Lunch was fantastic and it was a special treat to have homemade dosas. We learned a lot about the art of dosa making and I think we can make them on our own. The hard part will be making the dosa batter. Below, I included a few recipes recommend by Chetana. They aren't the exact recipes she used, but are a close representation of them.

Mahesh declared that he had fun showing us how to make dosas and he would like to do it every few months. We all immediately agreed that it was a great idea. Who is going to turn down homemade dosas from dosa gurus?



SNDsters: Chetana, Mahesh, Adriana, Pete, Stacy, Mark, Jane, Hungry Bear, Chuck

[tags]indian, south indian, dosa, lentils, curry, masala, vegetarian, chutney, sambhar, soup[/tags]

3 Comments on “South Indian Dosas”

  1. Kartik Kripa Bhimsen said:

    Hi pls send me a recipe for papper masala dosa i really really need it by friday

  2. Suzette said:

    Hi were did you get that dosa maker? I love it!

  3. Penny said:

    I’m looking to have someone come to my home and make dosas for my daughter & husband for their 30th birthday.
    Do you know of anyone that can cater for a small gathering? (12 pl)

    Thank you,

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