Masala dosa

Masala dosa is a popular Indian breakfast dish (although in the UK it's often served at lunch or dinner) consisting of a crisp crepe-like pancake made from a fermented batter of grains and pulses. It is served with a spiced potato masala and an array of southern Indian chutneys.

Dosa can be tricky to make at home – much like pancakes, the first few attempts might not come out right, but persevere! It's key to have a smooth, well-fermented batter and a good non-stick pan. You can use any short-grain rice to make the batter, but the best is 'parboiled' rice (also known as ukda rice) or rice called 'dosa rice' or 'idli rice' – all are available from specialist Indian grocers.

First published in 2021
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Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Dosa

  • 500g of short grain rice, ideally dosa rice or 'parboiled' rice (which can be bought in specialist Indian grocers)
  • 125g of urad dal
  • 1/2 tbsp of fenugreek seeds, (methi)
  • 1 tbsp of chana dal
  • sea salt, to taste
  • vegetable oil, for drizzling

Masala

To serve

  • A selection of chutneys, pickles or other Indian vegetable side dishes

Method

1

Begin with the dosa batter 6 hours in advance. Wash then soak all the dosa ingredients (apart from the salt) in cold water for 6 hours

  • 500g of short grain rice, ideally dosa rice or 'parboiled' rice (which can be bought in specialist Indian grocers)
  • 125g of urad dal
  • 1/2 tbsp of fenugreek seeds, (methi)
  • 1 tbsp of chana dal
2

After this time, strain the ingredients and place in a blender. Add a little fresh cold water and blend until smooth, slowly adding more water if needed – you want it to be the consistency of double cream. Transfer to a bowl, cover loosely and leave at room temperature to ferment overnight. It ferments better in a warm environment

3

To make the masala, heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds until they begin to crackle. Add the urad dal and chana dal, both chillies, the ginger and curry leaves and cook for a minute, but be careful not to burn

4

Add the onions and cook over a medium-low heat until soft then add the turmeric and cook for a final minute

5

Crush the boiled potatoes – do not mash completely as you still want some texture. Add the crushed potato to the pan and mix to combine evenly. Taste and season with salt. Set aside to reheat before serving or keep warm

6

To cook the dosa, heat a very wide non-stick or cast-iron flat pan until it starts to smoke. Turn the heat down and add a ladle of the batter, spreading it evenly on the pan in a circular motion using the back of the ladle

7

Drizzle a bit of oil and salt over the batter and cook until the dosa is golden in colour. Flip it over and cook for a further minute

  • sea salt, to taste
  • vegetable oil, for drizzling
8

Serve up immediately on a tray with the masala potatoes sprinkled with coriander along with a selection of chutneys and curries. Avinash serves his with a summer vegetable sagu (a dish from Karnataka), coconut chutney and tomato and split pea chutney

  • A selection of chutneys, pickles or other Indian vegetable side dishes
  • fresh coriander, chopped, to serve
First published in 2021
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After leaving India to perfect his cooking in the UK, Avinash Shashidhara worked his way through restaurants including The River Cafe before opening Pahli Hill Bandra Bhai, where he serves ingredient-led Indian dishes inspired by traditional recipes.

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