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Dosai Chutney Hotel Saravana Bhavan.jpg
Dosa with chutneys
CourseBreakfast or Supper
Place of originSouth India
Serving temperaturesoft crispy hot with sambar (dish) and chutney
Main ingredientsrice and black lentils batter
VariationsMasala dosa, Rava dosa, Onion dosa, Ghee dosa
Cookbook:Dosa  Dosa
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This article is about a type of food. For the notion of doṣa (bodily humor) in Ayurveda, see dosha.
Dosai Chutney Hotel Saravana Bhavan.jpg
Dosa with chutneys
CourseBreakfast or Supper
Place of originSouth India
Serving temperaturesoft crispy hot with sambar (dish) and chutney
Main ingredientsrice and black lentils batter
VariationsMasala dosa, Rava dosa, Onion dosa, Ghee dosa
Cookbook:Dosa  Dosa

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


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, the earliest mention of dosa (as dosai) can be found in the Tamil literature of 6th century CE.[2][3] According to P. Thankappan Nair, dosa originated in the Udupi town of present-day Karnataka.[4]

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.[2]


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

Dosa is known by several names. The standard transliterations and pronunciations of the word in various South Indian languages are as follows:

LanguageTransliterationPronunciation (IPA)
Kannada: ದೋಸೆdōsed̪oːse
Malayalam: ദോശdōśad̪oːɕa
Tamil: தோசைtōcait̪oːsʌj
Telugu: దోసdōsad̪oːsa

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 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.[5][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 making

A mixture of rice and urad dal (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 dosa 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.


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:


Though dosa typically refers to the version made with rice and lentils, many other versions exist.

Types of dosa
NameKey ingredientsNotes
Onion dosachopped and sautéed onions
Masala dosaspiced potatoes
Rava dosarava or sooji
Ghee dosaghee
Wheat dosawheat flour
Moong dosaMoong dal
Podi dosadry spices powder
Benne Dosabutter
Roastrice batterspread thinly and fried until crisp
Paper/Family/70MM roastrice battervariants of roast
Vegetable dosasteamed vegetables
Egg/Muttai dosaegg
Ragi dosamillet flour or ragi
Cauliflower/Gobi dosacauliflower
Mushroom dosamushroom
Paneer dosapaneer
Greens/Keerai dosagreens
Chow Chow dosachow chow
Vendhaya dosafenugreek
Babycorn dosababy corn
Cabbage dosacabbage
Noodles dosanoodles
Set dosacooked only on one side and served in a set of three
Neer dosawatery rice batter
Uppu Huli dosasalt, tamarind paste
Kari dosaDosa topped with mutton.A specialty in Madurai.

Masala dosa[edit]

Masala dosa as served in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The masala dosa was invented in Mumbai, formerly Bombay, and features the South Indian dosa wrapped around a typically Gujarati potato curry. In brief, it 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.[11]

Related foods[edit]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b 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. 
  3. ^ K. T. Achaya. The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 80. ISBN 81-7371-293-X. 
  4. ^ P. Thankappan Nair (2004). South Indians in Kolkata. p. 320. ISBN 81-86791-50-7. 
  5. ^ a b "Eat healthy: dosa". Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  6. ^ Dalal, Tarla. Mumbai Roadside Snacks. Sanjay & Co. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-89491-66-6. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Pal, Dr J. S. (December 2006). "Traditional Indian Foods: Physio-Chemical Aspects". PFNDAI Bulletin: 3. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  9. ^ Nutrition and Dietetics - Higher Secondary - First Year. 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. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011.

External links[edit]