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Dosa with chutneys
Alternative names Dose (in Kannada), Dosai, Thosai (in Tamil), Dosha
Course Breakfast , snacks
Place of origin South India
Serving temperature hot
Main ingredients rice and black lentils batter
Variations Masala dosa, Rava dosa, Onion dosa, Ghee dosa
Cookbook: Dosa 

Dosa is a fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils. It is a staple dish in South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil nadu, Kerala and Telangana. It is also popular in other parts of India, and other countries like Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore.


  • History 1
  • Names 2
  • Nutrition 3
  • Preparation 4
  • Serving 5
  • Variations 6
    • Masala dosa 6.1
  • Related foods 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


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 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]


Masala Dosa as served in Tamil Nadu, India.Masala dosa was listed as one of the World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN
This is one of the many varieties of Dosas prepared in India and is 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 ()
Kannada: ದೋಸೆ dōse d̪oːse
Malayalam: ദോശ dōsa d̪oːɕa
Tamil: தோசை dōsai t̪oːsʌj
Telugu: దోస dōsa d̪oːsa

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.


Dosa with chutney and sambar traditionally served in banana leaf

Dosa, a common breakfast dish[5] and street food,[6] is high in carbohydrates, and contains no sugar or saturated fats. As its constituent ingredients are rice and urad dal (Vigna mungo), it is also a source of protein.[7] The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.[8][9] There are also instant mix products for making dosa, with somewhat lower nutritional benefits.[10] Dosa are considered a high glycemic index food and should be avoided by diabetics.[11] Dosa are high in fat but are considered low in calorie.[12][13]


Dosa making

A mixture of rice and urad dal (ulundu) 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 urad dal and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour or semolina.


Butter Masala dosa served with coconut chutney, sambar and ghee

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
  • Wet chutney: examples include coconut chutney (a semisolid paste made up of coconut, dal (lentils), green chilli and mint or coriander)
  • There are variety of chutney served along with Dosai[14]
  • Dry chutney (podi or molagapodi): a powder of spices and sometimes desiccated coconut
  • Indian pickles


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
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 Dosa[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 Dosa butter
Neer dosa watery rice 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 crepe-like, 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 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 (Chickpea) and moong (Mung bean) 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.
  • Chakuli pitha: batter contains more black gram and less rice flour

See also


  1. ^ a b Charmaine O' Brien (15 December 2013). The Penguin Food Guide to India. Penguin Books Limited. p. 378.  
  2. ^ K. T. Achaya. The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 80.  
  3. ^ P. Thankappan Nair (2004). South Indians in Kolkata. Punthi Pustak. p. 320.  
  4. ^ Vir Sanghvi (1 January 2004). Rude Food: The Collected Food Writings of Vir Sanghvi. Penguin Books India. pp. 109–110.  
  5. ^ "Eat healthy: dosa". Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  6. ^ Dalal, Tarla. Mumbai Roadside Snacks. Sanjay & Co. p. 3.  
  7. ^ Srilakshmi, B. (2006) [2002]. Nutrition Science (Revised 2nd ed.). New Age International (formerly Wiley Eastern Ltd.). p. 403.  
  8. ^ Pal, Dr J. S. (December 2006). "Traditional Indian Foods: Physio-Chemical Aspects" (PDF). PFNDAI Bulletin: 3. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  9. ^ Nutrition and Dietetics - Higher Secondary - First Year (PDF). Directorate of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu. 2004. p. 31. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  10. ^ "Calories in Dosa (Pan Cake)". calorie count. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  11. ^ "Miracle Diets - Glycemic Index". 
  12. ^ "how healthy are dosas". live strong. 
  13. ^ "Recipes and nutrition fact". Arogya food. 
  14. ^ refer the link
  15. ^ "Recipe: Mini soya dosa". The Times of India. 
  16. ^ "Mini Soya Dosa". 
  17. ^ "Healthy snack recipe: Green Dosa". The Times of India. 
  18. ^ "Pesarattu (Green Gram Dosa)". 
  19. ^ "Recipe: Light white dosa". The Times of India. 
  20. ^ "Mysore Masala Dosa". 
  21. ^ "Onion Rava Dosa". 
  22. ^ "Ragi Wheat Dosa". 
  23. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011.

External links

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