Masala Dosa

By Published On: 26 Jan '21Last Updated: 14 Apr '24

A popular crispy dosa served as a snack all throughout South India with Sambhar (lentil stew) and chutney. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Delish!

Masala Dosa

Masala Dosa to Indian people is like a plate of beautifully cooked farm fresh eggs, grilled tomato, smokey bacon and mushrooms for Australians. Having said this, I know some Australians who love Masala dosas as much as they love their eggs and bacon breakfast. Isn't that encouraging for a foodie like me?

Masala dosa simply means an Indian crispy bread prepared with fermented batter of rice and a type of lentil called urid dhal. This dosa is stuffed with spiced potatoes and sauteed onions, rolled and served accompanied by one or two chutneys. There is a certain amount of crispiness to the edges of this dosa that makes it so special and this comes from pan frying the dosa on medium to low temperature until we achieve that crispiness. When people of India go to eat the masala dosa, they expect that it will be crispy on the edges and reasonably crispy all around. You would almost at once see the disappointment if the dosa lacks this crispiness. It's that crisp dosa that is most desired if one goes to eat them at a restaurant. It is that crispiness that distinguishes a masala dosa from a normal dosa which is soft all around.

Masala dosa originated in Udupi. It is a city on the west coast of India in the state of Karnataka where I was born, raised and educated. I have grown up eating masala dosas and that childhood taste never left me as of today.

The size of this dosa is very much a result of how experienced you are in making these dosas. It is a known fact that an experienced hand can make dosas as big as 25-30 cm in diameter or even bigger. If you find that your dosas are medium size (15-20 cm in diameter), there is nothing to worry. You will learn to make bigger dosas by practise and most of all whether they are small or large, they taste awesome nevertheless. I would say, don't worry about the size, focus on the crispiness and you will be right.

Masala dosa was listed as one of the world's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN

Masala Dosa

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
A popular crispy dosa served as a snack all throughout South India with Sambhar (lentil stew) and chutney. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Soaking time: Overnight 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 35 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dinner, lunch, Snack
Cuisine Fusion, Indian
Servings 13 dosas


  • 1 cup urid dhal (split black beans without husk)
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 10 fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp. Bengal gram dhal channa dhal
  • 2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • Oil for shallow frying


  • Soak urid dhal in a deep bowl with plenty of water overnight. Soak rice separately in plenty of water overnight with fenugreek seeds and Bengal gram dhal. Soaking the grains overnight makes it easy to blend these grains.
  • Next morning drain the dhal and blend to a fine paste adding 1 cup water. Pour into a deep saucepan bearing in mind that the batter rises during fermentation. Blend the rice and the other grains to a smooth paste in 2 two batches with 250mL water for each batch and pour it into the same saucepan. Wash the blender with ¼ cup water and add to the batter. Add salt and mix thoroughly till the ground dhal is well combined with the rice batter. The batter should resemble pancake batter. Cover with a muslin cloth and tie loosely with a kitchen string. Leave to ferment in a warm place for about 12 to 16 hours or more in colder conditions. The batter can take 24 hours in colder climatic conditions. The batter is ready when it has increased in volume and tiny bubbles appear on top and it looks frothy. Dosa batter does not always double in quantity particularly in cold climate.
  • For frying dosas, heat a 18-20 cm frying pan or a griddle on the large burner of your gas stove. I usually use my non-stick masala dosa pan which I purchased in India. The pan should be hot but not smoking. Sprinkle some water and if bubbles form and evaporate without too much smoke, then you know the pan is ready. Maintain a steady temperature for your pan in order to get crispy and golden brown dosas.
  • Using your pastry brush, brush the pan with a little oil. I use coconut oil to grease the pan, but you can use olive oil or vegetable oil. Pour about 150-175mL batter in the centre of the pan. Using the back of your rounded ladle, spread the batter outwards in a circular clockwise motion until the batter is spread thinly and evenly to the outer edge of the pan or as far as you can spread. This takes a little practise but do not panic, the dosa will look great even if there are some holes in the dosa. In the beginning, you will be able to make only small dosas but with a little practise, you will be able to make bigger and bigger dosas. When the dosa starts to get some holes, sprinkle some oil on the top and around the edges. Leave for a couple of minutes till the bottom of the dosa has a golden colour. Flip and brown on the other side for about 2 minutes by pressing down the dosa with the spatula. Add a teaspoon of oil around the edges to help crisp up the dosa.
  • Fill the dosa with potato bhaji and serve immediately with sambhar and coriander chutney for a vegetarian breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. As I have linked this recipe with Corned Beef Chilli, you can fill this dosa with the Corned Beef Chilli and serve it with chutney. This batter makes about 12-14 dosas depending on the size of your dosas.


  1. Just to add some air into the batter in Step 2, I beat the batter well with my right hand for 2-3 minutes once I add the ground rice to the ground urid dhal. This step is optional if you are happy that you have combined both the ground urid dhal and the rice batter thoroughly well.
  2. The long grain rice I use for this recipe is available in the Woolworths Supermarket and it is called Sun Rice Long Grain White Rice which comes in 1kg or 2kg bags.  
Keyword dosa, Indian crepes, Masala dosa

Lavina with Deliciously Indian

Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

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