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This article is about a type of food. For the notion of "doṣe" (bodily humor) in Newari medicine, see dosha.
Dosai Chutney Hotel Saravana Bhavan.jpg
Type Breakfast or Supper
Place of origin
South India
Serving temperature
soft crispy hot with sambar (dish) and chutney
Main ingredients
rice and black lentils batter
Variations masala dosa, rava dosa, onion dosa
Cookbook:Dosa  Dosa

Dosa or Dosai, 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, Dosa 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 dose 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
Kannada: ದೋಸೆ dōse [d̪oːse]
Telugu: దోస dōsa [d̪oːsa]
Tamil: தோசை tōcai [t̪oːsʌj]
Malayalam: ദോശ dōśa [d̪oːɕa]
Sinhala: තෝසේ tōsē [t̪oːseː]

Other spellings used include dosé, dosai, dhosa, dosey, dosay, doza, dozé, dozai, dhoza, dozey, dozay, thosa, thosé, thosai, thhosa, thosey, thosay, thoza, thozé, thozai, thhoza, thozey and thozay.


rice batter used for dosa

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 Urad Dal (Vigna mungo), it is gluten-free and becomes a complete protein.[7][9] The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.[10][11] There are also instant mix products for making dosai, with somewhat lower nutritional benefits.[12]

Basic preparation[edit]

Dosa making

A mixture of rice and urad dal or ulundu 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 ferment overnight. After the overnight fermentation, 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 dosai is served hot, either folded in half or rolled like a wrap. It is also served usually with chutney and sambar. The mixture of urad dal and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour or semolina.


Cheese dosa served with sambar and 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:


Butter Masala dosa served with coconut chutney, sambar and ghee
neer dose with thick coconut chutney
Wheat batter mixed with fenugreek leaves, spread on a griddle

Though dosa typically refers to the version made with rice and lentils, many other versions exist, often specific to an Indian region.

Types of dosa
Name Key ingredients Notes
Onion dosa chopped and sautéed onions
Masala dosa spiced potatoes
Rava dosa rava or sooji
Ghee dosa ghee
Wheat dosa wheat flour
Moong dosa[13] Moong dal
Podi dosa dry spices powder
Benne Dosa butter
Roast rice batter spread thinly and fried until crisp
Paper/Family/70MM roast rice batter variants of roast
Vegetable dosa steamed vegetables
Egg/Muttai dosa egg
Ragi dosa millet flour or ragi
Cauliflower/Gobi dosa cauliflower
Mushroom dosa mushroom
Paneer dosa paneer
Greens/Keerai dosa greens
Chow Chow dosa chow chow
Vendhaya dosa fenugreek
Babycorn dosa baby corn
Cabbage dosa cabbage
Noodles dosa noodles
Mexican dosa[14]
Set dosa cooked only on one side and served in a set of three
Neer dosa[15][16] watery rice batter
Uppu Huli dosa[17][18][19] salt, tamarind paste

Masala dosa[edit]

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

A masala dosa is made by stuffing a dose with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices. The dose 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.[20]

Related foods[edit]

  • Pesarattu: a dosai-like preparation prepared from mung bean, which is typically served with a ginger and tamarind chutney
  • Adai: a dosa-like dish prepared from a combination of lentils, namely urad, kadalai and moong paruppu.
  • 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.
  • Uttapam: a dosai-like dish made from the same batter. Unlike a dosai, which is crisp and crepe-like, it is a thick pancake. Uttapam is sometimes characterized as an Indian pizza.
  • Chakuli pitha: batter contains more black gram and less rice flour


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 Dosai (Pan Cake)". calorie count. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  13. ^ Recipe Preparation
  14. ^ Recipe Preparation
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011.

External links[edit]

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