The Art of Making Crisp Dosa

I told you there has been a lot going on behind the scenes of Indian Simmer! One of the things that is keeping me busy are the guest posts that I have been doing for some very special friends of mine. One such friend is Shulie from gorgeous blog Food Wanderings. I and Shulie were talking a while back. It all started with a casual conversation and like with all the food lovers, it ended up being about food. I told her about my lack of ability to cook a beautiful loaf of bread and she empathized with me. She told me how her family, especially her better half, loves dosa and I shared how easy it is to make. The conversation went on and by the end of it somehow we were deciding on dates when we should share those recipes with each other. What better way to share a recipe with a food blogger than through the blogs. So for you fabulous readers and for a bit of our own selfish need we thought lets guest post on each other’s blog and share the recipes we both love so much. Last week Shulie came as a guest on my blog to share her recipe of a perfect and ah so gorgeous Challah. Today she very generously invited me over to her space to share my recipe for a crisp, golden brown and comforting dosa.

Dosa (South Indian rice crepes)

For those who are not very familiar with dosa, it is an Indian style crepe or thin pancake. While in the north India roti or bread made usually with wheat is popular, dosa is a southern favorite. It is usually made by mixing rice and lentils in a particular ratio and then ground and fermented before making crepes out of it.

Rice and lentils

I come from the northern part of India, the part where rotis are more of a staple than dosas. Although I do make dosas at home all the time but I wanted to learn more about them so I took a quick lesson from my friends Vijitha and Rose. Dosa is kind of their forte and they did teach me a lot about several varieties of dosas common in a South Indian family. Some dosas are savory and some are sweet. Some are thicker and soft while others are thinner and crisp. They can be made with wheat flour, a lentil based batter, semolina based batter and what not. But to share with you here I decided to pick the kind that is most common and also popular. The kind you can find at any Indian restaurant and the kind that is made with a two simple ingredients – Rice and Urad dal (Split black gram).

I have realized that making dosa is no rocket science! Just two main things to keep in mind – one, the ratio of rice and lentils must be accurate and second, fermentation has to be done carefully. Ratio between rice and urad dal for a dosa should be 3:1. Three parts parboiled rice and 1 part washed split black gram. The two are soaked separately in water for a few hours or overnight. Then the two are ground into a flowing batter later to be left to ferment in a warm dry place. Usually I let it ferment overnight, so technically getting a dosa batter ready to finally make the crepes takes at least 24 hours. But if you own an oven or enjoying some warm weather then you might be in luck and things might speed up a little for you!

Art of making crispy dosas

To learn how to make paper thin, crispy and golden dosas check out Shulie’s blog Food Wanderings where I am guest posting today. Look out for some little tips on how to make a crispy thin dosa which I have discussed with you. But I have to add that everyone has their own little tricks for making dosas, these are mine and I am sharing because they work for me. If you have any other tricks up your sleeve feel free to share and educate us!And while you are already there feel free to surf around because I know there’s so much great things to learn from her blog.


  1. Hello,
    We love your recipes, especially when its on Dosa.
    These are so delicious.
    I have always looked at your blog for the various pictures and the way you write.Just Love it!
    You have shared some nice information about Crisp Dosa in this post.
    The points you mentioned are genuine and perfect.
    The content completely describes about the topic you wanted to portray with us.
    Thanks for sharing such valuable post.

    VentairIndia Team

  2. In the final picture where three dosas are shown,could someone tell me why the surface finishes are so different in each of the 3 dosas. I would want my dosa to have the homogenious consistent finish of the third dosa( closest to the camera)

  3. Hi there! I came over from Cooking Canuk. I just love your photos – they immediately caught my eye – and the flavors you use sound delicious. I’ve never tried making Indian food, but I love the flavors. I’m glad I found you!

  4. those dosa look yummy! Always love your pics, so stunning. In our household with ‘borrowed’ Indian cuisine from Kerala to Malaysia then finally to UK, we always use boiled rice as well as normal rice and urad dal. Ratio of 2:1:1 or unboiled rice:boiled rice:urad dal..and I usually put 1.2 tsp fenugreek as well when blending the rice (soak both rice together; blend separate from urad dal)..

    I must try your ratio to see if I can get better dosa.Striving to get pics as good as yours is so difficult tho!

  5. So nice to see this recipe. Dosa were a regular lunchtime treat when I worked in central London – 100 times as nice as the chain take-a-ways, and half the price.

    I am on a low carb diet currently, so I can only look, not touch, but seeing your images, I think I will put together a nice, spicy and vinegary Carrot curry tonight – goes wonderfully with Dosa, but I will just have to imagine that!

    Glad I found your blog!

  6. Thanks so much for your kind comments everyone and also for your tips and suggestions! Isn’t it a great way to learn and teach each other? :-)
    I saw some questions in Shulie’s blog and also here about people wondering how I can use urad daal with skin on. If you read closely in the recipe section of food wanderings you will know that I have use washed (which means no skin on) urad dal. I used a photo with the skin on just to introduce the urad dal to some of us who have never cooked with it before and are not sure how it looks like.
    Hope that helps!

  7. Ah! dosas and beautifully crisp and thin! now i want some. I have never used dal with husk tho’. it has mostly been the whole husk free urad dal.

  8. Wow, such beautiful photography!

    I’m actually in South India right now, and I’ve had some delicious dosas.

    But is it weird that I like soft dosas?

    Coming from the North, I prefer naan over dosas, but sometimes you need them in your life 😀

    Oh and your in the Bay Area? I love San Francisco so much and I’m so happy to live close by :)

  9. I love crispy dosas!! Mom is an expert in making them & friends n family are always askin her to demonstrate the art of making dosas..!!! Gorgeous clicks Prerna..Im now craving for some hot, crispy dosas!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  10. This is a wonderful post, Prerna. We just had some dosa (not sure why it’s called Thosai in Malaysia) last night at one of our favorite hangouts in Little India. It was fascinating to watch the chef at work, making beautiful crispy yet tender dosa. Yours look just as good! I am glad that you are sharing the recipe with us.

  11. I have never seen better looking dosas than that! Great work Prerna! You never fail to amaze me :)
    As a south Indian I make dosas for breakfast at least a couple of times a week and I enjoy it every single time! My hubby loves them crispy and daughter loves them tick and spongy…

  12. Hey Girlie, so happy to have your gorgeous self and your gorgeous recipe and photography as my guest. Brought a huge smile on my and Jonathan’s face! :) I will cherish this recipe and the entire India series and your friendship! Shulie

  13. Dosa is the staple to Sunday mornings in my house growing up!! I always have the memory of making them with my mom and sister. The first one always turns out bad (haha), but after that and onward, it’s the best! :)

  14. I always love crispy dosa. These is this trick I learned from my friend and makes dosa crispy and easy to make. I use 2 tbs chaana daal in stead of semolina and before I layer the batter in the pan, I rub the edge of the onion. SO, just cut the tip.. prick it with a fork .. dip it cut side of the onion in oil and rub that on the pan. That avoid the batter to stick on the pan and makes it crispy. not sure of chemistry behind it but it works! :)