A dosa is a rice pancake, originating from South India, made from a fermented batter. It is somewhat similar to a crepe in appearance. Its main ingredients are rice and black gram, ground together in a fine, smooth batter with a dash of salt. Dosas are a common part of the diet in South India, but have become popular all over the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, dosas are served hot along with sambar and chutney.

Dosa at Sri Ganesha Restauran, Bangkok (44570742744).jpg
Dosa with sambar and chutney
Place of originSouth India
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsRice and black gram
VariationsMasala dosa, rava dosa, ghee roast dosa, neer dosa and many more


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

In popular tradition, the origin of the 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 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 the North. In Delhi the Madras Hotel[6] in Connaught Place became a landmark that was one of the first restaurants to serve South Indian cuisine.[7] It arrived in Mumbai with the Udupi restaurants in the 1930s.[8]


Dosa with chutney and sambar with sauteed potato filling in a restaurant
Dosa served with sauteed potatoes.

Dosas are 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]
Tulu: ದೋಸೆ dōse [d̪o:se]
Malayalam: ദോശ dōśa [d̪oːɕa]
Tamil: தோசை dōse [t̪oːsʌj]
Telugu: దోస[9] dōsa [d̪oːɕe]


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] One home made plain dosa without oil contains about 112 calories, of which 84% is carbohydrate and 16% protein.[11] The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.[12] There are instant mix products for making dosa which usually contain higher levels of rice.


Dosa making

A mixture of rice and black gram that has been soaked in water is ground finely to form a batter. Some add a handful of soaked fenugreek seeds. The proportion of rice to lentils is generally 3:1 or 4:1. The batter is allowed to ferment overnight, before being mixed with water to get the desired consistency. The batter is then ladled onto a hot tava (griddle) greased with oil or ghee (clarified butter). It is spread out with the base of a ladle or bowl to form a pancake. It can be made either to be thick like a pancake, or thin and crispy. A dosa is served hot, either folded in half or rolled like a wrap. It is 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[13]
  • Idli podi or milagaipodi (in Tamil): a powder of chili with spices and sometimes desiccated coconut, mixed with sesame oil or groundnut oil or ghee
  • Indian pickles


The most popular 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.[14] Newer recipes have been developed that use fusion, like Chinese dosa, cheese dosa, paneer dosa and many more.[15]

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 with red chutney smeared over the dosa.
Oats dosa healthy, crisp and lacy instant dosa made with oats.
Set dosa very spongy, soft and light, served in a set of 3 dosa per serving.[16]
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[17] soya milk and wheat flour[18]
Pesarattu (green dosa)[19] green gram[20]
Light white dosa rice and coconut[21]
Kadapa karam dosa[22] Rice flour fermented overnight and mixed with sodium carbonate. The topping is a mixture of onion and chili paste (called yerra karam) and a chutney made with tomato and flour made in a gravy of curd. It is also occasionally topped with fried gram powder.[22]
Mysore masala dosa[23] rice, black gram, fenugreek seeds
Onion rava dosa[24] Semolina, rice flour
Ragi wheat dosa Ragi, whole wheat flour[25]
Rava dosa rava or sooji[26] (semolina)
Benne dose butter ('benne' in Kannada)

Predominantly famous as "Davanagere benne dose" associated with Davanagere district in Karnataka.

Neer dosa watery rice batter
Vodu dose or Kappa roti Vodu dose or Kappa roti is made from rice, fenugreek seeds, grated coconut, thinly flattened rice and sometimes leftover cooked rice is also added.

It is non fermented type of dosa. It is cooked on a earthen pan that has a rounded bottom. It is fluffy and appears like a bread. It is cooked without the use of oil.

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.
Buttermilk dosa Semolina, maida, buttermilk[27]
Jaggery dosa Rice flour, maida, grated coconut, jaggery

Masala dosaEdit

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.

Related foodsEdit

  • 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: in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 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 toor dal, rice, curry leaves, red chillies and asafoetida. The batter is not fermented. Usually eaten with jaggery or aviyal.
  • 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
  • Bánh xèo: a dosa-like dish made in Vietnam.
  • Chebab, a Middle Eastern rice pancake

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ P. Thankappan Nair (2004). South Indians in Kolkata. Punthi Pustak. p. 320. ISBN 81-86791-50-7.
  3. ^ K. T. Achaya (November 2003). The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 80. ISBN 81-7371-293-X.
  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
  9. ^ "A Telugu-English Dictionary. New ed., thoroughly rev. And brought up to date...2nd ed". 1903.[permanent dead link]
  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 22 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Calorie Chart, Nutrition Facts, Calories in Food | MyFitnessPal | MyFitnessPal.com". www.myfitnesspal.com. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  12. ^ Nutrition and Dietetics - Higher Secondary - First Year (PDF). Directorate of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu. 2004. p. 31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  13. ^ refer the link http://www.chitrasfoodbook.com/2014/10/35-chutney-recipes-side dish-for-idli.html
  14. ^ A Beginner’s Guide to the Great Wide World of Indian Dosa, Priya Krishna and Shailendra Krishna, October 6, 2016
  15. ^ A Dosa Lesson From a Professional - A Good Appetite, Melissa Clark, New York Times, 6 October 2017
  16. ^ "Set Dosa Recipe from Udupi". Udupi-Recipes. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Recipe: Mini soya dosa". The Times of India.
  18. ^ "Mini Soya Dosa". food.ndtv.com.
  19. ^ "Healthy snack recipe: Green Dosa". The Times of India.
  20. ^ "Pesarattu (Green Gram Dosa)". food.ndtv.com.
  21. ^ "Recipe: Light white dosa". The Times of India.
  22. ^ a b "The karam dosas from kadapa". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  23. ^ "Mysore Masala Dosa". food.ndtv.com.
  24. ^ "Onion Rava Dosa". food.ndtv.com.
  25. ^ "Ragi Wheat Dosa". food.ndtv.com.
  26. ^ "Instant Rava Dosa recipe with Video". Udupi-Recipes. June 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  27. ^ Verma, Neera. South Indian Cook Book. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. ISBN 978-81-7182-836-4.

External linksEdit

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