dosa – a fermented rice & dal pancake

25th June 2009

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We travel to India at least three times a year to spend time with our teacher in the South of India and because of this connection, I cook a lot of Indian dishes.  Through the years of studying yoga, I have learnt that to quieten the mind is to lead the correct lifestyle, and the type of food we eat plays a very important role in helping us on this yogic journey.

Like many other types of Dosa, it supports all constitutions, can be used at any season and can be easily digested. Dosa also strengthens the body and is especially recommended for morning time. One may consume it once a week. It is recommended to consume it with greater amounts of water for digestion and to avoid thirst, especially during the summertime.

Dosa batter is a wonderful, quick and nutritious meal.  It is a typical South Indian breakfast.  The rice and urad dal (a type of white lentil available from Indian stores) combine to make a perfectly balanced protein and because of the fermentation process, they are easy to digest.  The success of a good dosa is in perfecting the fermentation.

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dosa – a fermented rice & dal pancake

The traditional dosa recipe is made with just white rice, but I like to add a bit of wholesome goodness, by adding brown rice.  Red lentils or green moong beans can be used instead of the urad dal.

I start soaking in the morning and grind in the evening, and ferment through that night and depending on the season it is ready for mid-morning breakfast.

ingredients :

1 cup urad dal

2 cup white basmati rice

1 cup brown basmati rice

8-10 cups water (for the soaking)

1 Tblsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp fine rock salt

pre-preparation :

Place the urad dal, rice and fenugreek in a bowl.  Rinse well with at least 3 changes of water (keep the rinsing water for the garden).  Add enough water to the bowl to generously cover the rice and the dal, about two inches over the rice & dal.  Leave to soak for at least 12 hours.  The lentils and rice swell and soften during this soak.

Drain a little water out of the rice and lentils.  Put this water aside, as you may need it later.  Grind in a high – speed blender with the water they have been soaking in.   Grind until fine and smooth, adding a little of the water that you had put aside.  Be careful, as you don’t want the batter too runny.  A similar consistency to pancake batter is what you are aiming for. Add salt and mix well.  Put the batter in a bowl with plenty of room to expand.  Leave to stand in a warm place for at least 8 hours, in wintertime can take up to 24 hours.   The mixture will get slightly thicker, fizzy and rise.  Perfect!  This is the fermentation taking place.

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‘Fermented foods, because of their vital digestive enzymes, aid in the absorption of  B12 from other sources and stimulate B12 bacterial growth in the intestines.’


Heat a heavy skillet or a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  The batter should be of a thick, pouring consistency.  Make sure the pan is very hot.  Drop a ladleful of batter into the pan.

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Using the back of the ladle, very gently swirl the batter from the centre outwards to make a thin crepe-like dosa.

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Cook over medium heat until the edges of the dosa start to lift, about 1 – 3 minutes.  Drizzle a little ghee lightly over the dosa and turn it over.  If you try to turn it over too soon before it has started to set, the dosa will break.  Cook until golden.

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Serve with a palya or simple dal and slices of avocado. We always finish our meal with a sweet dosa, drizzled with ghee and maple syrup or with home-made strawberry jam and tahini/almond butter.
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Goodness shared from Stacey

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