Dosa is a type of pancake from the Indian subcontinent, made from a fermented batter. It is somewhat similar to a crepe in appearance. Its main ingredients are rice and black gram. Dosa is a typical part of the Southern Indian diet and popular all over the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, Dosa is served hot along with sambar, stuffing of potatoes and chutney. It can be consumed with idli podi as well.


Dosa is indigenous to South India; its exact birthplace in that region is a matter of conjecture.[1] According to food historian K. T. Achaya, dosa (as dosai) was already in use in ancient Tamil country around the 1st century AD, as per references in the Sangam literature.[2] According to historian P. Thankappan Nair, dosa originated in the Udupi town of present-day Karnataka.[3]

In popular tradition, the origin of dosa is linked to Udupi, probably because of the dish's association with the Udupi restaurants.[1] Also, the original Tamil dosa was softer and thicker. The thinner and crispier version of dosa, which became popular all over India, was first made in present-day Karnataka.[4] A recipe for dosa (as dosaka) can be found in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by Someshvara III, who ruled from present-day Karnataka.[5]

After the Independence of India, south Indian cuisine became gradually popular in North. In Delhi the Madras Hotel[6] in Connaught Place became a landmark that was one of the first restaurant to serve South Indian cuisine.[7] It arrived in Mumbai with the Udipi restaurants in 1930s.[8] K. Krishna Rao, who ran Old Woodlands in Chennai during early 1940s. is sometimes regarded to be the originator the of the Masala Dosa in its modern form.


Dosa with Sambar and various Chutnies in restaurant
This is one of the many varieties of Dosas prepared in India and served for breakfast. It's made with ground tomatoes and seasoning

Dosa is known by several names. The standard transliterations and pronunciations of the word in various South Indian languages are as follows:

Language Transliteration Pronunciation (IPA)
Kannada: ದೋಸೆ dōse d̪oːse
Malayalam: ദോശ dōsa d̪oːɕa
Tamil: தோசை dōsai t̪oːsʌj
Telugu: దోసె[9] dōsa d̪oːɕe
Tulu: ದೋಸೆ dōse d̪oːse


Dosa with chutney and sambar traditionally served in banana leaf

Dosa is high in carbohydrates and contains no added sugars or saturated fats. As its key ingredients are rice and black gram, it is also a good source of protein.[10] The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.[11] There are also instant mix products for making dosa which usually contain higher amounts of rice.


Dosa making

A mixture of rice and black grams that has been soaked in water is ground finely to form a batter. Some add a handful of fenugreek seeds soaked along with the rice. The proportion of rice to lentils is generally 4:1 or 5:1. The batter is allowed to ferment overnight. After the overnight fermentation, the batter is mixed with water to get the desired thickness. The batter is then ladled onto a hot tava (griddle) greased with oil or ghee (clarified butter). It is spread out evenly with the base of a ladle or bowl to form a pancake. A dosa is served hot, either folded in half or rolled like a wrap. It is also usually served with chutney and sambar. The mixture of black grams and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour or semolina.


Dosa can be stuffed with fillings of vegetables and sauces to make a quick meal. They are typically served with a vegetarian side dish which varies according to regional and personal preferences. Common side items are:

  • Sambar
  • Chutney: examples include coconut chutney (a semi-solid paste made up of coconut, dal (lentils), green chilli and mint or coriander)
  • There are varieties of chutney served along with Dosa[12]
  • Idli podi or molagapodi: a powder of spices and sometimes desiccated coconut mixed with sesame oil or ghee
  • Indian pickles


The most popular version version is the Masala Dosa, with a filling of the potato masala. Mysore Masala is the spicier version of it. Sada (plain) is without filling, paper dosa is a thin and crisp version. Rava dosa is made crispier using semolina. [13] Newer recipes have been developed that use fusion.[14]

Though dosa typically refers to the version made with rice and lentils, many other versions exist.

Types of dosa
Name Key ingredients
Masala dosa spiced potatoes tucked inside the dosa.
Plain Dosa Dosa served with only chutney and sambar and no filling.
Paneer dosa spiced paneer filling inside the dosa.
Palak dosa layered with palak (spinach) paste inside the folds of dosa.
Mini soya dosa[15] soya milk and wheat flour[16]
Pesarattu (Green Dosa)[17] green gram[18]
Light white dosa rice and coconut[19]
Mysore Masala Dose[20] rice, black gram, fenugreek seeds
Onion Rava Dosa[21] Semolina, rice flour
Ragi Wheat Dosa Ragi, Whole Wheat Flour[22]
Rava dosa rava or sooji
Benne Dose butter
Neer dosa watery rice batter
Amboli, Ghavan, Dhirde In coastal parts of Maharashtra, variations known as amboli, ghavan and dhirde (or Dhirade) exist. Amboli and Ghavan (like dosa) are thin rice crêpes prepared with fermented batter, while dhirde is prepared with unfermented batter.

Masala dosa

The masala dosa is made by stuffing a dosa with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices. The dosa is wrapped around an onion and potato curry or masala. Masala dosa was listed as number 49 on World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011.[23]

Related foods

  • Uttapam: a dosa-like dish made from the same batter. Unlike a dosa, which is crisp and unlike relatively soft crepes, it is a thick pancake mostly topped with diced onions, tomatoes, cilantro or cheese. Uttapam is sometimes characterized as an Indian pizza.
  • Pesarattu: a dosa-like preparation prepared from green gram, which is typically served with a ginger and tamarind chutney
  • Adai: a dosa-like dish prepared from a combination of lentils, namely black gram, kadalai (Chickpea) and green gram
  • Appam/aappam/hopper : a pancake prepared from a combination of patted rice batter. The center is thicker and the outer rim is very thin. Served with sweet coconut milk.
  • Chakuli pitha: batter contains more black gram and less rice flour
  • Apam balik: made from a mixture of flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda, coconut milk and water.
  • Jianbing: dosa like dish made in china

See also


  1. ^ a b Charmaine O' Brien (15 December 2013). The Penguin Food Guide to India. Penguin Books Limited. p. 378. ISBN 978-93-5118-575-8. 
  2. ^ K. T. Achaya. The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 80. ISBN 81-7371-293-X. 
  3. ^ P. Thankappan Nair (2004). South Indians in Kolkata. Punthi Pustak. p. 320. ISBN 81-86791-50-7. 
  4. ^ Vir Sanghvi (1 January 2004). Rude Food: The Collected Food Writings of Vir Sanghvi. Penguin Books India. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-0-14-303139-0. 
  5. ^ K.T. Achaya (2003). The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-81-7371-293-7. 
  6. ^ [Bride at Ten, Mother at Fifteen: Autobiography of an Unknown Indian Woman, Sethu Ramaswamy, Namita Gokhale Editions, 2003, ..in 1942 and stayed in the Madras Hotel in Connaught Place]
  7. ^ Much Ado Over Coffee: Indian Coffee House Then And Now, Bhaswati Bhattacharya, Routledge, 2017
  8. ^ 8 oldest Udupi restaurants in Mumbai, Sep 09, 2015, since 1937 is Mani’s Lunch Home a famous South Indian restaurant
  9. ^ http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/app/brown_query.py?qs=%E0%B0%A6%E0%B1%8B%E0%B0%B8%E0%B1%86&searchhws=yes
  10. ^ Srilakshmi, B. (2006) [2002]. Nutrition Science (Revised 2nd ed.). New Age International (formerly Wiley Eastern Ltd.). p. 403. ISBN 978-81-224-1633-6. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  11. ^ Nutrition and Dietetics - Higher Secondary - First Year (PDF). Directorate of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu. 2004. p. 31. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  12. ^ refer the link http://www.chitrasfoodbook.com/2014/10/35-chutney-recipes-sidedish-for-idli.html
  14. ^ A Dosa Lesson From a Professional - A Good Appetite, MELISSA CLARK, New York Times, OCT. 6, 2017
  15. ^ "Recipe: Mini soya dosa". The Times of India. 
  16. ^ "Mini Soya Dosa". food.ndtv.com. 
  17. ^ "Healthy snack recipe: Green Dosa". The Times of India. 
  18. ^ "Pesarattu (Green Gram Dosa)". food.ndtv.com. 
  19. ^ "Recipe: Light white dosa". The Times of India. 
  20. ^ "Mysore Masala Dosa". food.ndtv.com. 
  21. ^ "Onion Rava Dosa". food.ndtv.com. 
  22. ^ "Ragi Wheat Dosa". food.ndtv.com. 
  23. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011.

External links

  • Media related to Dosa at Wikimedia Commons
  • Dosa at Wikibook Cookbooks