Introduction: The Many Avatars of Dossa, the Most Sought-after Indian Cuisine

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Dossai, pronounced (or mispronounced) as Dossa in many parts of the world is a most sought-after South Indian delicacy. Dossa happens to be the first preference to be ordered by most people visiting an Indian restaurant anywhere in the world. What is being commonly served in restaurants as Dossa is a stuffed version with some spicy vegetable, known as Masala Dossa, with Sambar and Coconut Chutney. But there are many varieties of Dossa unknown even to people residing in some parts of India.

Here is an instructable to explore and share the different varieties of Dossa we make at home, including how to make the batter, Coconut chutney, plain Sambar and the spicy stuffing using mashed potatoes for Masala Dossa.

Step 1: Dosa Batter

The ingredients required to make Dossa batter are very simple: Parboiled rice and White lentil. 

For those who are not conversant, Parboiled rice is the partially boiled rice with the husk and then milled. White lentil is the same Black Gram with its black skin removed.

Take about four cups of Parboiled rice and one cup of White lentil, that is Rice and lentil in the ratio of four to one. Soak them separately in water for about four to five hours. After soaking, clean with more water and grind them separately in to pastes. The white lentil can be ground to a fine paste whereas the rice should have some fine grainy particles for better results. You can use a Grinder specially made for this or you can use your food processor / mixer grinder for this. The consistency of the batter should me semi-liquid - not too thick or not too watery.

Mix well both the pastes in a vessel and add salt to taste. Keep this mix in a warm place for about eight to ten hours to ferment. In colder climate, it may take more time for the batter to ferment. No need to add any additives. Now your Dossa batter is ready

Step 2: Coconut Chutney

One of the main side dishes served with Dossa is Coconut chutney. Here is an easy to make Coconut chutney recipe:

Ingredients required:

  • About a handful of Fresh Coconut
  • Half that quantity of fried white chickpeas
  • About four to five Garlic cloves
  • Two to three Green chilies (Adjust to your own taste)
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for tempering:

  • A bunch of curry leaves
  • A tablespoon of Black mustard seeds mixed with broken white lentils
  • A tablespoon of any cooking oil

Grind fresh coconuts, fried white chickpeas, garlic cloves and green chilies with salt in a mixer grinder. Do not make a very fine paste. Remove from grinder and keep in a bowl.

Tempering: In a small frying pan add a tablespoon of cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add Black mustard seeds mixed with white lentils. When the the mustard seeds start to crack, add curry leaves to oil.

Take care, the oil may splatter...

Immediately remove from fire, add it to the ground chutney and mix well. Your Coconut chutney is ready.

Step 3: Sambar

A simple recipe to make plain Sambar, which is also being served with Dossa:

Pressure-cook about half a cup of Yellow Pigeon pea (Toor Dal) mixed with one medium sized chopped onion, one tomato chopped, a bunch of curry leaves, four green chilies (splitted vertically), four or five Garlic cloves, half a tablespoon of turmeric powder, a pinch of Asafoetida and salt to taste with about three cups of water. This will take about ten minutes in all. Remove from heat and allow the pressure to come down.

Heat one table spoon of cooking oil in a frying pan. Add black mustard seeds mixed with white lentils. When the mustard seeds starts to crack, add the cooked pigeon pea mix. Add a tablespoon of sambar powder, cook for a minute and remove from fire.

That's all... Our simple, plain sambar is ready.. Now let us start making Dossa

Step 4: Plain Dosa

Plain Dossa is the commonest of all varieties which we make frequently at our home.

Heat a normal or non-stick flat frying pan in the stove. If you are using a normal pan, apply a little amount of oil over the surface. You can use an half-cut onion for this purpose. For a non-stick pan, applying oil at this stage is not necessary. When the pan is about medium hot, pour one ladle full of Dossa batter and spread to a round shape using the back side of the ladle. Apply little amount of cooking oil around the edges and cover with a steel lid. Covering will make the Dossa more crispy. Remove the lid after about 30 seconds and check. When the underside is cooked golden brown, remove it from the pan using a flat Dossa flipper. Serve hot with sambar and Coconut chutney.

Step 5: Masala Dossa

Masala Dossa is a stuffed version of plain Dossa. Let us make mashed potato stuffing for this variety first.


  • One cup of boiled and mashed potato
  • Two onions finely chopped
  • Four green chilies finely chopped
  • Handful of coriander leaves finely chopped
  • One tablespoon of Cumin powder
  • Half tablespoon of turmeric
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • One tablespoon of black mustard seeds mixed with white lentil
  • Two tablespoon of cooking oil


  • Mix chopped green chilies, coriander leaves, turmeric, asafoetida and salt with mashed potato and mix well.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan.
  • When the oil is hot add black mustard seeds.
  • When the mustard seeds start cracking and chopped onion and stir fry.
  • When the onion is golden brown, add the potato mix and stir fry for about a minute.
  • Remove the pan from heat.

Your mashed potato stuffing is ready...

Making Masala Dossa:

  • Make a plain Dossa as explained in Step 4.
  • Using a spoon, spread a layer of stuffing over the Dossa.
  • Fold the Dossa into half using a Dossa flipper and remove from the pan.

Serve hot with sambar and coconut chutney.

I have used mashed potato for the stuffing. You can be more imaginative and use any cooked vegetable for the stuffing. There is no limit...!!!

Step 6: Onion Dossa

Onion Dossa is another avatar of the Dossa, made by mixing chopped onions and chopped green chilies with the batter. You can also add chopped coriander leaves for added aroma.

  • Take about a cup of Dossa batter.
  • Finely chop two medium sized onions and about two or three green chilies.
  • Finely chop a handful of coriander leaves (Optional. Normally not required)
  • Mix all the above ingredients together with the batter.
  • Oil a heated Dossa pan and pour the onion-mixed batter.
  • Spread it over the pan using the back of the ladle.
  • Add little oil over the sides. No need to cover the Dossa.
  • When the bottom side is cooked, turn it over using a flat Dossa flipper.
  • Allow the top side also to cook well.
  • Remove from the pan and serve hot with sambar and coconut chutney.

Step 7: Rava Dossa

Rava Dossa in one of the popular avatar which is very crispy and tasty. We normally make Rava Dossa with left-over batter which is a bit over-fermented. The addition of fine semolina will neutralize the over-fermentation and make it normal.

  • Take one cup of Dossa batter and mix it with about half a cup of fine semolina (Rava). 
  • Add a little bit of water if required.
  • Heat and oil the Dossa pan.
  • Using a ladle pour and spread the batter over the pan.
  • Add little oil over the sides of the Dossa. Do not cover with the lid.
  • Once the bottom side is fried to a golden brown, turn it over using the Dossa flipper.
  • Remove from the pan when the bottom side also been cooked.

Serve the crispy Rava Dossa with sambar and coconut chutney.

Step 8: Egg Dossa

And for those of you who are very fond of eggs, here is Egg Dossa. The method is almost same as making Plain Dossa, with a little difference.

  • Heat and oil the Dossa pan over medium heat.
  • Pour a ladle of batter and spread it to a round shape using the back side of ladle
  • Add little oil over the sides and cover with a lid
  • When the bottom side of the Dossa is about half done, remove the lid, crack an egg and pour over the top.
  • Using a spoon spread the egg over the top.
  • When the egg is not runny, flip it over and fry it for about 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Remove from the pan and serve hot with sambar and chutney.

Step 9: Few Notes Before the Curtain Call

Hope you all have enjoyed this Instructable. The recipes here are not limited to what have been presented. There are many more avatars of Dossa, different varieties of Sambar, Chutney and stuffing used in Masala Dossa. Use your imagination, make alterations and enjoy the most delicious South Indian cuisine at your dinner table.

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