Soft idlis and perfect crispy dosa is synonymous with South Indian restaurant. It is a signature dish from Indian food which is both vegan and gluten-free. Fluffy idli is fermented lentil rice cakes. You can make dosa as a thin crepe or as a thick pancake. This snack has gained popularity all over thanks to Udupi restaurants. It is that tiffin recipe which has gain cult status. While the west goes with pancake we get our proteins thanks to the lentils in it. It is as versatile as your pita bread a wrap. Add any filling to it and make it your own special recipe. Serve it with a large bowl of sambar and peanut chutney / coconut chutney or just idli podi.
Nowadays, Indian food is very popular even in the western world. Thanks to eateries like Saravana Bhavan, Dosa Plaza and Dosa hut, Indian cooking has come to the forefront.
Traditionally, we use wet grinder to make perfect idli dosa batter. consistency of the batter should be thick but flowing. Fermented batter generally rises to twice the volume of the original mixture used to make smooth paste. Most common brand used in southern India is Ultra stone grinder which I used in India. However, abroad Vitamix high speed blender does a good job. Dry jar especially is very effective to make this batter.
Why do people like dosa?
You can find it everywhere, from streets of Benaras to down south in Kanyakumari. Some like it plain others with mashed potato filling. Nowadays, people even make different types of masala. I have attended food festivals as a kid. Hotel Green Park Vizag would sell 108 types in their food festival. There were different recipes of masala dosa both traditional and fusion ones. Rava masala, onion masala, schezwan, mutton, chicken keema and even chopsuey.
Some eateries like Sai Ram parlor are famous for their crispy and cheap fare. The most unique stuff, I have even seen is butter loaded version on a mobile stove in the streets of Benaras some years back. Seeing this south Indian dish in Hindi heartland shows its popularity Typical street food made mobile as butter is easy to carry. It provides the fat needed for cooking. Thus, you can cook batter and serve fresh to devotees coming from Ghat post morning prayers. Vendors sell fresh butter laden dosai and idli on makeshift stalls on steps of shops which are yet to open for the day. They disappear as soon as the shops are ready to open. Quite unique arrangements I must say, making best of space and time.
- Urad dal/black lentils soaked
- Rice 1.5 cup rice, 1.5 cup idli rice/boiled rice soaked
- Handful of poha /rice flakes
- Tuvar dal/ pigeon pea lentils
- fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
- Mixer grinder/blender (for making batter from scratch)
- Cast iron pan for dosa.
How to make dosa batter?
Dosa ingredients are simple. We soak rice and black split gram overnight in different bowls. Add rice flakes/poha to rice and fenugreek seeds/methi dana to dal, to make it extra crispy. We then grind rice first. Then the dal (after removing the water used for soaking)to make a good batter. Mix rice and lentil batter together. Let it ferment for few hours, until it rises. For step by step pictures, click on instructions
If you reside in a cold country, preheat the oven for few minutes. Switch it off. Put the batter in a steel/oven friendly vessel and leave it for few hours. It surely rises and doubles. I use the same trick for fermenting yogurt. Nowadays people even use instant pot to ferment dosa batter.Crispy rava dosa recipe also comes to rescue if you forget to soak this batter. Make thin crepes or pancakes as per your choice.
Trivia: Rava dosa is generally made in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh while batter with idli rice is made in Tamil Nadu.
- Take the quantity of rice and poha separately in a bowl.
- Add some tuvar dal & methi dana to urad dal in another bowl
- Wash the rice twice and soak it in enough water to cover it.
- Similarly wash and soak the lentils.
- Grind rice along with water in a mixer grinder and add some salt to it. Once its done, add lentils to it and grind it again until you get a smooth batter. Repeat until all soaked rice and lentils are done.
- Let it rise in a big pot. The quantity will increase as it ferments. If you live in a cold country. Preheat the oven for 2-4 mins at 160 deg C. Switch it off. Keep the batter in a steel pot after covering it. This will help it rise in time for the next day.
- You can use the same batter to make idli too. Just grease the idli plates with some oil or butter before adding the batter. Steam it in idli moods for 15-20 mins until toothpick comes clean.
- Top tip: Let it cool before you scoop it out with a spoon or by hand for a clean sweep.
- In order to make dosas, take some batter in a bowl. If it is too thick add little water to make a thinner batter. Heat cast iron pan. Once its hot, sprinkle some water drops. Add a ladle of batter and move in a circular motion to make a large dosa. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon oil. Cover it with a lid. Once it is cooked you will be able to flip it like a pancake. Flip over and let it cook on the other side. Plain dosa is ready. Serve with chutney.
how to make idli fry??
Generally we end up making many more idlis than required. While you can always steam them again and eat it. There is another good recipe you can make using the left over idlis. Make fried idli masala. It is super tasty. Here is an easy way to do it in an air fryer.
- Preheat the air fryer to 200 deg C for 10 mins.
- Cut the idli in desired shapes and oil spray on it. Place it in the basket. Spray once again in middle 8-9 mins at 200 deg C.
- Sprinkle a tablespoon of masala as per your choice( red chilli powder, turmeric powder and amchur )or chutney podi on top and mix well.
Read the detailed recipe here.
How to make a perfect dosa?
To make a perfect dosai, ensure your cast iron pan is hot. If it is too hot, sprinkle some water on the pan. Always put the batter first. Once, you spread the batter with a ladle. Pour few drops of oil and cover it with a glass lid. Flip once it stops sticking to the pan. If the batter sticks at one end, it still needs few minutes of cooking. So do not rush just wait. Else, the dosa will break. Good seasoned cast iron pan is great for making crisp dosai. My Lodge cast iron pan gives me good results for dosas everytime!
- South Indian breakfast recipes
- Rava idli
- Uttapam - Mix Veg pancake
- Pesarattu- moong dal dosa
- Urad dal vada | Medu Vada ( Air fry / Fry )
- Air fryer fried idli
- Tomato upma
Idli Dosa batter recipe
- 1 cup black lentils / urad dal, soaked
- 3 cups rice 1.5 cup rice+ 1.5 cup idli rice/boiled rice soaked
- handful poha /rice flakes
- 2-3 tablespoon pigeon pea lentils / tuvar dal
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds / methi dana
- 2-3 teaspoon Salt or as per taste
- Wash and soak 1 cup urad dal in a bowl with 2 cups of water overnight.
- Wash and soak rice and all the other ingredients except salt in 6 cups of water overnight.
- Blend rice mix in a mixer with little water,once its nearly done, add the urad dal without any water.
- You may blend the above in 2 or more batches depending on the capacity of the mixer.
- Mix salt in the batter.
- Keep the batter aside to ferment overnight in a warm place.
- Heat the cast iron tawa for few mins on low heat.
- In a bowl take some amount of batter and add some water to get a thin pouring consistency.You may add salt if required
- Once its medium hot,add a ladle of batter and spread it evenly.Cover it with a lid
- Let it cook for few minutes ,until rawness dissapear.Flip it and cook on the other side for few mins.
- Using a spatula,take out the dosa.
- Serve hot with coconut chutney.
- Before you start with the next uttapam, add few drops of water on the tava, so that the temperature of the tava has come down,else the batter will stick.
Yes this dish is rich in Iron and protein. It is also great for your bones and gut as it is fermented. Also, low on fat. Serve it with coconut chutney. Coconut gives you enough fiber to help digest the dal. Instant tomato chutney also goes great with it.
If you do not follow the batter ingredient ratio correctly, it will not come out perfectly. Also, use a cast iron pan for them. Perfection guaranteed! If your dosa is sticking to the pan, its either too hot or not seasoned properly.
Yes you can easily do that. For so many years we have been using 1 batter for both dosa and idli. However if you want to make your idli more fluffier then you can use idli rava . To use idli rava, take 1 ratio of uri dal, 1.5 ratio of boiled rice and 1.5 ratio of idli rava. You need to squeeze of the excess water from the idli rava else the dough will be too water.
Also, you can add little more Urad dal when using with rice to make more soft idli. For example you can use 1.5 ratio of urad dal with 3 ratio of rice.
Yes, the dosa batter is gluten free . However you need to take care of ingredients that you are adding to them. If you are just adding the rice and lentils , then it's 100% gluten free. If you are adding additional items like oats etc., then its not gluten-free.
Once you have grinded the batter, it should be kept in a warm place. There are number of ways you can do that if you live in a cold location
1. Pre heat your air fryer / oven for 5-7 minutes at 160C. Turn off the appliance, keep your batter in a pot(with lid) in the oven / airfryer. Some people also use the yogurt option in an instant pot or electric pressure cooker and keep it overnight.
2. In your kitchen shelf, use an old sweater/shawl/warm clothing to cover the batter pot (that has a lid on top) from all direction.
Conclusion: Once you get the batter right ,making softest idlis and masala dosas is as easy as it gets. Budget friendly too!