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Dosai Chutney Hotel Saravana Bhavan.jpg
Alternative name(s) Dosé, Dosai, Dosay, Dosa, Dhosha, Thosay
Type Breakfast or Supper
Place of origin South India
Serving temperature soft crispy hot with sambar (dish) and chutney and vada
Main ingredient(s) rice & black lentils batter
Variations masala dosa, rava dosa, onion dosa, neer dosa, paneer dosa

Dosa (Tamil: தோசை, Telugu: దోస,Malayalam: ദോശ,Sinhala: තෝසේ), is a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice batter and black lentils. This staple dish is widely popular in all southern Indian states Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, as well as being popular in other countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.[1]


The origins of Dosa have been widely discussed in literature and books. A few of them are listed below:

  • "The Story of our Food", a book written by K. T. Achaya, an eminent Indian food scientist and food historian, states that foods like Appam, Idiyappam, Dosai and Adai were already known in ancient Tamil country around 1st century AD, as per references in Tamil Sangam literature[2]
  • The English food writer Pat Chapman and Lisa Rayner, as well as Indian writer Thangappan Nair, state in their works that dosa originated in Udupi, Karnataka.[3][4][5][6]

Orthography and transliteration[edit]

There are various ways of transliterating the word dosa. The standard transliterations and pronunciations in various South Indian languages is shown in the table below.

script transliteration pronunciation
Telugu: దోస dōsa [d̪oːsa]
Kannada: ದೋಸೆ dōse [d̪oːse]
Tamil: தோசை tōcai [t̪oːsʌj]
Malayalam: ദോശ dōśa [d̪oːɕa]
Sinhala: තෝසේ tōsē [t̪oːseː]

Various non-standard spellings are used, including dosé, dosai, dhosa, dosey, dosay, doza, dozé, dozai, dhoza, dozey, dozay, thosa, thosé, thosai, thhosa, thosey, thosay, thoza, thozé, thozai, thhoza, thozey and thozay.


ಅಕ್ಕಿ ಸಂಪಣೆ / rice batter - A thick batter for Cuisine of Karnataka Dosé

Dosa, a common breakfast dish[7] and street food,[8] is rich in carbohydrates, and contains no sugar or saturated fats. As its constituent ingredients are rice and lentils, it is gluten-free and contains protein.[7][9] The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.[10][11] There are also instant mix products for making dosa, with somewhat lower nutritional benefits.[12]

Basic preparation[edit]

Dosa making

A mixture of rice and urad dal that has been soaked in water is ground finely to form a batter. The proportion of rice to lentils is basically 4:1 or 5:1. The batter is allowed to sit overnight and ferment. Sometimes a few fenugreek seeds are added to the rice-dal mixture. The rice can be uncooked or parboiled. The mixture of urad dal (black lentils) and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour to make a maida dosa, or semolina for a rava dosa.

A thin layer of 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 served usually with aloo curry, chutney, or sambar.

Serving methods[edit]

Cheese dosa served with sambar and fresh coconut chutney.

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:


Home made neer dosa with thick coconut chutney

Though dosa typically refers to the version made with rice and lentils, many other versions exist, often specific to an Indian region. Some variations include egg dosa, which is spread with an omelette, and cheese dosa, which is stuffed with cheese.

  • Quinoa dosa: a dosa made with quinoa
  • Moong dal dosa[13]
  • Chilli dosa: spread with chilli powder
  • The Davanagere Benne Dosa (Kannada: ದಾವಣಗೆರೆ ಬೆಣ್ಣೆ ದೋಸೆ) or Butter Dosa is a dish originated in Karnataka. Butter is used instead of oil when frying, and a small amount is placed on top of it while serving.
  • Open dosa: chutney powder is spread on it while cooking, before serving, spiced and mashed potato is placed on top
  • Onion dosa: spread with chopped and sautéed onions
  • Ghee (thuppa/nei) dosa: ghee is used instead of oil while frying.
  • Roast: the dosa is spread thinly and fried until crisp.
  • Kerala dosa: a different kind of traditional dosa, it is small, thick, soft and spongy. It is more like a pancake and somewhat similar to appam, but dal is used in the batter for appam, and the appam is not flat.
  • Family roast: a long dosa which can be spread over two or three feet
  • Paper dosa: a long and very thin, delicate dosa which can be spread over two feet
  • Green dosa: stuffed with fresh vegetables and mint chutney
  • Thalir dosa:made of Maida and is very soft and delicate,eaten with sugar.
  • Chow-chow dosa: stuffed with (Indian flavored) Chinese noodles
  • Masala dosa: stuffed with spiced potatoes, invented by Udupi hotels
  • Mexican Dosa: [14]
  • Methi dosa: flavoured with fenugreek
  • Cone dosa: shaped like a cone
  • Rava dosa: made with rava (semolina), it does not need fermentation and is usually considered a snack or fast food.
  • Wheat dosa: made with wheat flour, and served with coconut chutney
  • Vella dosa: made of jaggery with ghee or nei
  • Ragi Dosa: made of ragi or millet flour
  • Muttai dosa: eggs are added to the regular batter; the word muttai in Tamil means "egg".
  • Uththapam: thick round dosa in South India
  • Set dose: a popular type of dosa in Karnataka, it is cooked only on one side and served in a set of two to three, hence the name.
  • Cabbage dosa: made of cabbage, a paste is prepared with rice, red chillies, asafoetida and turmeric. Once the batter is ready, cabbage cut into small pieces is added to the paste and left for about 30 minutes. Once this is done, the batter is poured and the dosa is made crisp
  • Neer dosa (Kannada: ನೀರ್ ದೋಸೆ): It literally means Water dosa. It is a very famous delicacy from Karnataka. It is part of Udupi cuisine. Rice is soaked in water for 3 to 4 hours. It is then ground to make a runny rice batter. Most types of dosa require the batter to be fermented for a few hours or even a day. However, fermentation can be skipped while preparing a neer dosa. Salt is added. A thin layer of batter is poured onto a heated flat griddle (tawa) greased with oil. The batter is spread with the base of a ladle or bowl to form a pancake. It is flipped to heat both crusts and removed from the griddle when the crust becomes dry. It is served hot.[15][16][17][18]
  • 70 MM dosa: similar to masala dosa, it is larger, about 60 cm in diameter
  • American chop suey dosa: served with a filling of fried noodles and tomato ketchup
  • Uppu Huli Dose (Kannada: ಉಪ್ಪು ಹುಳಿ ದೋಸೆ): This is originated in Karnataka and is a very popular break fast dish in Mangalore and Udupi of Karnataka. It is made by adding Uppu (salt in Kannada) and Huli (the taste of tamarind in Kannada) to the batter. It requires no accompaniment of Chutney or Sambar.[19][20][21][22][23]

Masala dosa[edit]

Masala dosa as served in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Masala dosa showing potato masala filling

A masala dosa is a south Indian delicacy 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 sabji[clarification needed] and is originally invented by Udupi Hotels. One of the stories of its invention is that one day the Mysore Maharaja hosted a big festivals and at the end of it there were lot of foods left wasted. So he order all the Chefs to think creatively and make sure no food is left waste, and the brilliant chefs came up with this unique recipe and it was a no doubt instant hits, they stuffed the plain Dosa with potato and spices and lot of Ghee too[24]

It is listed as number 49 on World's 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011.[25] It is also cited as top ten tasty foods of the world (2012).[citation needed]

Some variants are:

  • Mysore masala dosa (Kannada: ಮೈಸೂರು ಮಸಾಲೆ ದೋಸೆ ): masala dosa with coconut and onion chutneys spread inside along with the potato stuffing
  • Vegetable masala dosa: instead of potatoes, peas and other vegetables are mashed to make the stuffing
  • Rava masala dosa: rava (semolina), especially the Bombay rava, is used instead of rice
  • Chinese masala dosa: noodles and other Chinese ingredients like schezwan sauce are added
  • Paneer chilli dosa: stuffed with sautéed cottage cheese (paneer) and capsicum
  • Palak Masala dosa: coated with a thin layer of puréed spinach, and filled with the traditional potato/onion mixture
  • Egg Masala dosa: one or two fried eggs served on top
  • Davanagere benne masala dosa (Kannada: ದಾವಣಗೆರೆ ಬೆಣ್ಣೆ ಮಸಾಲೆ ದೋಸೆ ): named after Davanagere in Karnataka, this is prepared by adding liberal doses of butter and also a potato filling.
  • Set Masala dosa: or simply set masala contains two smaller masala dosas. Sometimes one of them is filled with vegetable korma/kurma and the other one with the usual potato-onion mix.

In Bangalore, the masala dosa is usually served with a red chutney applied to its inside surface. The red chutney usually has generous amounts of garlic.

Similar foods[edit]

  • Pesarattu: a dosa-like preparation prepared from mung bean, which is typically served with a ginger and tamarind chutney in Andhra Pradesh. The variations include:
    • using soaked whole moong seeds (along with green cover), which gives a greenish tint to the pesarattu; and
    • using yellow-coloured moong dal (green cover is removed and the dal is refined), which gives a golden-yellow tint to it when roasted.
  • Adai: a dosa-like dish prepared from a combination of dals, namely urad, channa and moong dal.
  • Appam, aappam or hopper in Sri Lanka — a pancake prepared from a combination of patted rice (avalakki), rice and yoghurt. The primary differences between an appam and a dosa are that an appam is thicker (up to five times as thick as a dosa), can optionally contain curd, the dough differs in the ratio of rice and urud dhal and is more finely ground than dosa batter, the centre is thicker and the outer rim is very thin (whereas a dosa is more or less uniformly thick). Sometimes other ingredients are added to the top of the appam as it is cooked. This gives rise to the Sri Lankan "egg hopper" where an egg is cooked on top of the appam/hopper as it is fried, or the uttapam (see below).
  • Uttapam: a dosa-like dish made by cooking the ingredients in its batter. Unlike a dosa, which is crisp and crepe-like, an uttapam is a thick pancake. Uttapam is sometimes characterized as an Indian pizza.
  • Injera: a pancake-like flatbread made out of teff flour that is traditionally eaten in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia (where it is also called canjeero or laxoox) and Yemen (where it is known as lahoh).
  • Chakuli pitha: similar to utthappam, although it has more black gram and less rice flour. It is found in Oriya cuisine.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ K. T. Achaya. The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 80. ISBN 81-7371-293-X. 
  3. ^ Raja M - The dosa, like most other south Indian culinary exports, is often linked to Udipi, a small temple town in the state of Karnataka. "India's new offering to curry Western flavor". Asia Times, June 24, 2004. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  4. ^ Lisa Rayner (2009). Wild Bread: Hand-baked Sourdough Artisan Breads in Your Own Kitchen (First ed.). Lifeweaver LLC Flagstaff, AZ. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-98006081-2. 
  5. ^ Pat Chapman (2007). India: Food & Cooking: The Ultimate Book on Indian Cuisine. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. p. 40. ISBN 978 184537 619 2. 
  6. ^ P. Thankappan Nair and Punthi Pustak (2004). South Indians in Kolkata: history of Kannadigas, Konkanis, Malayalees, Tamilians, Telugus, South Indian dishes, and Tippoo Sultan's heirs in Calcutta. p. 396. ISBN 81-86791-50-7. 
  7. ^ a b "Eat healthy: dosa". Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  8. ^ Dalal, Tarla. Mumbai Roadside Snacks. Sanjay & Co. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-89491-66-6. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Pal, Dr J. S. (December 2006). "Traditional Indian Foods: Physio-Chemical Aspects". PFNDAI Bulletin: 3. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  11. ^ Nutrition and Dietetics - Higher Secondary - First Year. Directorate of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu. 2004. p. 31. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  12. ^ "Calories in Dosa (Pan Cake)". calorie count. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  13. ^ Recipe Preparation
  14. ^ Recipe Preparation
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  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-11

External links[edit]

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