Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

dosa a S. Indian pancake, crispy on the surface but slightly spongy inside with a faintly sour taste. Dosas may be eaten as an accompaniment, to scoop up other food, but are most often eaten for breakfast, together with a sambar (S. Indian dal, hot and soupy) and coconut chutney.

Dosas can be made with a variety of batters, each giving a slightly different texture or colour, but the traditional dosas are made with rice and lentils (urd dal) mixed with water, a little butter and sometimes flavoured with fenugreek, then left to ferment overnight. The mixture is then ground to a batter the next day before being fried on a griddle or on a traditional dosa kalu (‘dosai stone’). The dosa kalu is in fact made of cast iron. Other types of dosa include:

  • Rava dosa, sometimes called sooji dosa, made with semolina and rice and flavoured with cumin, ginger, asafoetida, and nuts.

  • Narial dosa, which includes coconut.

  • Jaggery dosa, made with flour, rice flour, coconut, and flavoured with jaggery and cardamom.