Traditional South Indian recipe to make dosa batter for crispy, thin dosa and some secret tips!

Dosa recipe: How to make crispy Paper Dosa and Masala Dosa

Archana Venkatraman

Dosa, chutney and sambar and Masala Dosa are quintessential South Indian dishes that have universal appeal. Children and grown-ups as well as people outside of India are big dosa fans. But making authentic, thin and golden crispy dosa or masala dosa can be a bit tricky, here's an elaborate recipe of the dosa batter with some tips and tricks that will help you make near-perfect Dosas!

Crispy paper dosa - Recipe to make dosa batter and thin, golden paper dosas!
Crispy paper dosa - Recipe to make dosa batter and thin, golden paper dosas!

Dosa batter recipe:


  • White rice
  • Boiled rice (Easy Cook rice which is ivory-coloured and is available in all supermarkets in the UK including Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury's.)
  • Urud dal (black lentils but split and without the skin. Also available as urud dal in the UK from brands such as Natco, TRS)  
  • Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds)
  • Salt to taste

How to make dosa batter:

Soak 1 cup plain white rice, 1/2 (half) cup boiled ric, 1/2 cup urud dal and 2-3 spoons of methi seeds. Soak all together generously in plain room temperature fresh water. Ideally it is best to soak them overnight or at least 6 hours. While methi seeds are not essential, they give dosa its typical smell and taste and when soaked overnight, they are very healthy and nutritious, so it is best to add methi seeds.

After soaking for 8 or more hours, grind the ingredients together into soft batter. It is best to use a wet grinder as it makes the batter fluffy. But a regular mixie will work just fine too – just remember to grind it longer and in smaller batches when using a mixie to ensure it grinds softly and becomes fluffy. The batter shouldn't be too thin or else it will stick to the tava. The batter should be thick in consistency but when taken on a spoon, it should fall smoothly and not in thick lumps. (if it is falling in thick lumps, add some more water to loosen it up a bit). Add salt to the batter and mix it thoroughly.

Tip and trick for soft dosa: Here's a granma secret sauce for soft yet crispy dosa: Add a handful of soaked poha (flat rice flakes) while grinding for extra softness!

Leave the batter to rest for a couple of hours and give it a good 2 minute mix before using.

How to make crispy dosas:

Take a tava – while some prefer non-stick, authentic dosas are made in regular tavas. Heat the flame in medium and place the tava on the hob for approximately 1 minute until the tava becomes hot and ready to use. Sprinkle a few drops of water with your fingers on the hot tava and if the water droplets sizzle and evaporate quickly, the tava is ready for dosas. Now add 2-3 drops of oil on the tava and use a kitchen tissue on the tava to spread the oil all around the tava – be careful not to burn your fingers! Simmer the gas a little bit and take a ladle of dosa batter, pour it on the centre of the tava and gently spread it wide circling from inside. If there are pockets of holes in the dosa, then it means the water quantity is more than required. The dosa should spread thinly and evenly and easily. Add a few drops of oil across the circumference of the dosa and leave it for 20-30 seconds before using a flat ladle to flip the dosa over. Be patient with the first dosa – if that sticks and doesn't come out well it's ok and doesn't necessarily mean all dosas will break. Repeat the process of clearing the crumbs from the tava with a tissue, sprinkling oil and water and spreading the oil with the tissue and pouring dosa batter again.

Dosas are best eaten straight from the tava as they retain their crispiness for a short while before absorbing moisture and softening up.

Get the kids grab their plates first and lick the sambar while you start making dosas, so they can have it sizzling hot, paper thin and butter crisp. You can add potato-onion masala stuffing, cheese or paneer or simply sambar and chutney… enjoy the crispy dosas!


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