Dosa Recipe

Photo by Ali Donzé Photography

The crisp and savory dosa is a South Indian flatbread made without wheat or gluten. It is a nutritious alternative to tortillas, pancakes, and pitas and can be used for wraps or dipping.

Ferment: Lacto
Prep: 1 hour
Time: 2 to 3 days
Yield: 30 dosa

Dosa are best eaten immediately, but the batter can be made up to a week ahead and kept in the refrigerator until ready for use. Just thin with water as needed before using.

You Will Need

  • 2 cups rice (any variety)
  • 1 cup lentils (Lentils come in several varieties including brown, yellow, black, red, and green. Any variety may be used for dosa, however, green lentils are harder and may be more difficult to blend.)
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek (methi)
  • 1/4 cup chana daal (optional)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup ghee, butter, or oil

Photo by Adobe Stock


  1. In two separate bowls, soak rice and lentils in spring or filtered water for 8 to 10 hours. Soak fenugreek and chana daal (if using) along with lentils. (Add enough water to fully cover rice and lentils.)
  2. Drain rice and discard soaking water. Transfer rice to a blender and blend into a thin batter, adding soaking water from lentils as necessary. Pour batter into a 1-gallon (4l) jar or stainless steel pot.
  3. Transfer lentils, fenugreek, and chana daal to blender, along with the remainder of their soaking water. Blend to a thin batter, adding more spring or filtered water if necessary. Combine with blended rice in jar. Add salt and mix batter to fully incorporate rice and lentils. (The lentil batter should have a thick but pourable consistency.)
  4. Cover mouth of jar with fabric and a rubber band so the ferment can breathe. Let sit at room temperature (at least 70?F or 21?C) for 1 to 2 days or until it has risen significantly.
  5. Stir batter and, if necessary, add water. Batter should be a bit thinner than pancake batter but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. To cook, heat a cast iron pan or griddle over medium heat until it barely begins to smoke. Sprinkle with a small amount of water and wipe it clean. With a large spoon, add 1/4 cup batter to the cooking surface and quickly spread it in a circular motion, evening out any thick spots as you go. (Spread batter thinly for a crisp, crepe-like texture.)
  7. Add 1/2 tsp. ghee, butter, or oil to the surface of the dosa. Let cook until dosa begin to brown and the edges curl up, about 2 minutes. It should easily release from the pan. Flipping it is optional, but not necessary.
  8. (To make Masala Dosa, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the surface of the dosa after adding the ghee, and top with raw onions and peppers, potato masala, and garam masala.)
  9. Serve immediately with the toppings and accompaniments of your choice.

A common street food in South India, dosa are often served with chutney and sambar, a hearty lentil and vegetable stew.


Fermenting Food Step by Step shows you how to master the fermenting process with more than 80 step-by-step recipes – plus you’ll learn about the history and processes of fermentation throughout. For thousands of years, cultures around the world have practiced fermenting as a way to preserve food, and its health benefits now are at your fingertips. Adam Elabd includes more than 80 recipes covering fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy, breads and grains, and even beverages like kombucha. From pickles and sauerkraut to kefir and yogurt smoothies to sausages and corned beef, every meal and snack is delectable.

Excerpted from Fermenting Food Step by Step, reprinted by permission of DK, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2015 by Adam Elabd. Photos by © Ali Donzé Photography.

Published on Jul 9, 2019


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