|Place of origin||India|
|Region or state||Udupi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, Telangana|
|Main ingredients||Rice and black gram|
|Variations||Masala dosa, rava dosa, ghee roast dosa, neer dosa and many more|
A dosa is a thin savory pancake in South Indian cuisine made from a fermented batter of ground black lentils and rice. Dosas are served hot, often with chutney and sambar. Dosa is a signature dish in South India and Sri Lanka, and is popularly served in their respective restaurants around the world.
Dosas originated in South India, but its precise geographical origins are unknown. According to historian P. Thankappan Nair, dosa originated in the town of Udupi in present-day Karnataka. However, according to food historian K. T. Achaya, references in the Sangam literature suggest that dosa was already in use in the ancient Tamil country around the 1st century CE. Achaya states that the earliest written mention of dosa appears in literature of present-day Tamil Nadu, in the 8th century, while the earliest mention of dosa in the Kannada literature appears a century later.
In popular tradition, the origin of the dosa is linked to Udupi, probably because of the dish's association with Udupi restaurants. The Tamil dosai is softer and thicker. The thinner and crispier version of dosa was first made in present-day Karnataka. A recipe for dosa can be found in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by Someshvara III, who ruled from present-day Karnataka.
Dosa most likely arrived in Sri Lanka as part of the culture of Tamils native to the country.
After the Independence of India, South Indian cuisine became gradually popular in the North. In Delhi, the Madras Hotel in Connaught Place became one of the first restaurants to serve South Indian cuisine. It arrived in Mumbai with the Udupi restaurants in the 1930s.
Dosa is the anglicised name of a variety of South Indian names for the dish, for example dosai in Tamil, dosey in Kannada and dosha in Malayalam.
The standard transliterations and pronunciations of the word in various South Indian languages are as follows:
|Tamil: தோசை||dōsai||[d̪oːsaɪ̯], [t̪oːsaɪ̯]|
Dosa is high in carbohydrates and contains no added sugars or saturated fats. As its key ingredients are rice and black gram, it is a good source of protein. A typical homemade plain dosa without oil contains about 112 calories, of which 84% is carbohydrate and 16% protein. The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.
A mixture of rice and black or green gram that has been soaked in water is ground finely to form a batter. Some add a bit of soaked fenugreek seeds. The proportion of rice to lentils is generally 3:1 or 4:1. The batter is allowed to ferment overnight, before being mixed with water to get the desired consistency. The batter then ladled onto a hot tava or griddle greased with oil or ghee. It is spread out with the base of a ladle or bowl to form a pancake. It can be made either to be thick like a pancake, or thin and crispy. A dosa is served hot, either folded in half or rolled like a wrap. It is usually served with chutney and sambar. The mixture of black grams and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour or semolina.
Batter poured on a tava or griddle
Batter being spread uniformly
After being cooked for some time
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:
Masala dosa is a roasted dosa served with potato curry, chutney and sambar, while saada (plain) dosa is prepared with a lighter texture; paper dosa is a thin and crisp version. Rava dosa is made crispier using semolina. Newer versions include Chinese dosa, cheese dosa, paneer dosa, and pizza dosa.
Though dosa is typically made with rice and lentils, other versions exist.
|Masala dosa||Roasted and crispy dosa. Served with potato curry, chutney or sambar.|
|Oats dosa||Healthy, crisp and lacy instant dosa made with oats.|
|Wheat dosa||Dosa made with wheat flour batter.|
|Set dosa||Spongy, soft and light, served in a set of 3 dosa per serving.|
|Plain dosa||Dosa has lighter texture can be crispy too.|
|Ghee roast||(Nei dosai in Tamil) Plain dosa cooked with Ghee instead of oil and usually with no filling.|
|Egg dosa||(Muttai dosai in Tamil) A thicker base of dosa topped with beaten egg, or beaten egg is added to batter before cooking.|
|Kari dosai||A Tamil Nadu specialty with a dosa of thicker base topped with cooked meat, usually chicken or mutton.|
|Paneer dosa||Spiced paneer filling inside the dosa.|
|Palak dosa||Layered with palak (spinach) paste inside the folds of dosa.|
|Mini soya dosa||Soya milk and wheat flour|
|Pesarattu (green dosa)||Made with green gram.|
|Adai dosa||From Tamil Nadu a dosa-like dish prepared from a combination of toor dal, rice, curry leaves, red chillies and asafoetida. The batter is not fermented. Usually eaten with jaggery or aviyal.|
|Light white dosa||Rice and coconut.|
|Kadapa karam dosa||Rice flour fermented overnight and mixed with sodium carbonate. The topping is a mixture of onion and chili paste (called yerra karam) and a chutney made with tomato and flour made in a gravy of curd. It is also occasionally topped with fried gram powder.|
|Onion rava dosa||Semolina, rice flour,onion|
|Ragi wheat dosa||Ragi, whole wheat flour|
|Rava dosa||Made with rava or sooji (semolina).|
|Benne dose||Made with butter ('benne' in Kannada) ('vennai' in Tamil). Predominantly famous as "Davanagere benne dose" associated with Davanagere district in Karnataka.|
|Neer dosa||Made with a watery rice batter.|
|Vodu dose or Kappa roti||Vodu dose or Kappa roti is made from unfermented rice, fenugreek seeds, grated coconut, thinly flattened rice and sometimes leftover cooked rice. It is cooked on an earthen pan with a rounded bottom. It is fluffy and appears like a bread. It is cooked without the use of oil.|
|Amboli, ghavan, dhirde||In coastal parts of Maharashtra, variations known as amboli, ghavan and dhirde (or dhirade) are thin rice crêpes prepared with fermented batter, while dhirde is prepared with unfermented batter.|
|Buttermilk dosa||Semolina, maida, buttermilk.|
|Jaggery dosa||Rice flour, maida, grated coconut, jaggery.|
Masala dosa served traditionally with chutney, sambar, sauteed potato filling
Uttapam is one of the many varieties of dosa prepared in India and served for breakfast.
Urad plain dosa
Wheat flour dosa
Paper roast, a wafer-thin crispy dosa, served in restaurants
Butter dosa, known as benne dose in Karnataka. Predominantly famous as "Davanagere benne dose" associated with Davanagere district.
Pesarattu (moong dal dosa) and ginger chutney in Andhra Pradesh
Mangalorian neer dosa popular in South Canara districts, Karnataka
Kambu (bajra/pearl millet) dosa
Rava dosa made from sooji rava flour, more popular in Karnataka and Udupi restaurants in Mumbai
Godi mau dosa (wheat dosa)
Ragi dosa made of ragi flour mixed with small portions of rice and urad dal
Uthappam or utthapa, a version with onion, chilli and tomato
Methi dosa on a pan, known as vendhyam dosai in Tamil Nadu
Masala dosa at a street food center in Bengaluru
"Table dosa" which covers almost half of the table
Indian street dosa masala in Varanasi, India
Onion dosa, with coconut chutney and aloo curry
Set dosa, a set of 3 dosas with coconut chutney, curry and Mangalore bajji
The ingredients for dosa preparation are not limited to just rice and black gram instead pure rice or a mixture of rice, wheat, sorghum, maize or millets can also be used.