The Dosa, also known as dhosai or thosai, is a South Indian crêpe made from rice and lentils. Dosa is a typical South Indian food, taken as breakfast or dinner, and is rich in carbohydrates and protein.
Regular dosa batter is made from rice and split, skinned urad bean (black lentil) blended with water and left to ferment overnight. A modified form of the same batter can be used to make idlis.
Characteristically the rice is very finely ground, moreso than in idli batter. Furthermore, the rice to lentil ratio varies in both. The rice can be uncooked and/or parboiled. The urad bean and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour to make a maida dosa or semolina for a rava dosa.
The batter is then ladled in small amounts onto a hot greased skillet, where it is spread out into a thin circle and fried with oil or ghee until golden brown. The dosa may then be folded in half and served or rolled as in a wrap, but in both cases it is cooked on a single side. Alternatively, it may be flipped to cook on the other side and then served.
Though sometimes considered a breakfast
dish, dosas are also eaten at other times of day. Those with wheat allergies or gluten intolerance
will find the dosa a nice addition to their diets. They can be stuffed with vegetables, meats and sauces to create a quickly prepared meal.
Dosas are typically served with a side dish which varies according to regional and personal preferences. More common side items include:
The ubiquitous Indian dish masala dosa has its origins in Udupi. A masala dosa is made by stuffing a dosa with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices. It wraps the dosa around a onion and potato curry.
One variant of the masala dosa, the Mysore masala mosa, is served with both coconut and onion chutneys. In Bangalore, the masala dosa is usually served with a red chutney applied to its inside surface. This peculiarity lends itself to a unique taste and is something that is not found elsewhere. The red chutney usually has generous amounts of garlic (traditionally garlic is not used in masala dosa especially in the Brahmin community), and adds a nice flavor to the dosa when it is fried with ghee. In recent times this has become popular in other parts of Karnataka. Davanagere benne masala dose is another variant of the masala dosa from Karnataka. It is named after Davanagere in Karnataka. It is prepared by adding liberal doses of butter (benne) and also a potato filling (palya) that is unique. It is devoid mostly of any extra ingredients and is just mashed potato. The Rave dosa or Rava dosa is another variant which is made from semolina. Ragi dosa and Ade or Aday dosa are other variants that are native to Karnataka.
Other types of dosa include:
- Egg dosa - a dosa spread with an omelette.
- Chilli dosa - chilli powder is spread on the dosa.
- Onion dosa - chopped and sautéd onions are spread on the dosa.
- Ghee (thuppa/neyyi) dosa - ghee is used instead of oil while frying the dosa.
- Butter dosa - butter is used instead of oil while frying dosa and a small amount on top of it while serving.
- Roast - the dosa is spread thinly and fried until crisp.
- Family roast - a long dosa which can be spread over 2 or 3 feet.
- Paper dosa - a long and very thin delicate dosa which can be spread over 2 feet.
- Green dosa - a dosa stuffed with fresh vegetables and mint chutney.
- Chow-chow dosa - a dosa stuffed with (Indian flavored) Chinese noodles.
- Cheese dosa - a dosa stuffed with cheese.
- Masala dosa - a dosa stuffed with spiced potatoes (famous in South India)
Though dosai typically refers to the version made with rice and lentils, many other versions of dosai exist and are popular in varying degrees. This is sometimes specific to a region in India. Some common ones are:
- Rava dosa - made with rava or semolina, which doesn't need fermentation and is usually considered a fast snack/tiffin.
- Wheat dosa - made with wheat flour, and served with coconut chutney,mysore masala dosa
- Vella dosa - a sweet dosai made of jaggery, with ghee/neyyi.
- Ragi dosa - made of ragi or millet flour, usually considered "a poor man's fare".
- Muttai dosai - eggs are added to the regular batter; the word muttai in Tamil means "egg".
- Set dose - a popular type of dosa in Karnataka, which is cooked only on one side and is served in a set of two, hence the name.
- Neer dosa - a dosa prepared from rice unique to Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts.
- Pesarattu - a dosa prepared from moong dal; Andhra special. The variations include a) making from soaked whole moong seeds (along with green cover), which gives a greenish tint to the Dosa, and, b) making with yellow coloured moong dal (green cover removed and dal is refined), which gives a fine golden yellow tint to the dosa when roasted. Both these forms are famous in Andhra Pradesh, and are typically served with chutney made from Ginger and Tamarind.
- Adai - a dosa prepared from a combination of dals namely Urad, Channa & Moong dal.
- Appam - a dosa prepared from a combination of patted rice (Avalakki), rice & yogurt.
- 70 MM Dosa - Similar to Masala Dosa, but it is bigger in size, about 60cm in diameter.
Packs of readymade "instant" dosai batter are available all over India. These are typically available in 500g and 1kg denominations, and are ready to be spread onto a hot plate (in some cases requiring addition of salt or water first). Typically, instant dosai batter can also be used to make idlis (see Idli
There are various ways to transliterating dosa
: dhosa, dosay, dosai, dhosai, tosai, thosai (used in Malaysia