urad dal

dosa – fermented rice & dal pancake

25th June 2009

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, our diet is 70 per cent 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 vital role in helping us on this yogic journey.

Dosa supports all constitutions, can be used in any season, and is easily digested when eaten in moderation. Dosa also strengthens the body and is especially recommended for the first meal. 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. Because of the fermentation process, they are easy to digest.  The success of a good dosa is in perfecting the fermentation.

dosa - 1 (17)

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.  Whole or split moong dal can be used instead of the urad dal.

I start soaking in the morning, grind in the evening, ferment through that night and prepare for the first meal. (depending on the season).

Pre-preparation – 20 hours

Preparation – 5 minutes

Makes – 25 dosa (half recipe – serves 5)


1 cup/200g urad dal/moong dal

2 cup/400g white basmati rice

1 cup/200g brown basmati rice

8-10 cups water (for the soaking)

1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp fine rock salt


1.  In a large bowl, rinse the dal, rice and fenugreek until the water runs clear, then refill with enough water to generously cover – about 2 inches and soak for a minimum 12 hours.


3.  Drain a little water out and put this water aside, as you may need it later.

4.  In a high-speed blender with the water they have been soaking in, grind until fine and smooth, adding if needed a little of the water that you had put aside, and add salt.  Be careful, as you don’t want the batter too runny.  Aim for thick pancake batter consistency.


5.  Pour the batter in a large bowl with plenty of room to expand, cover and leave to stand in a warm place for at least 8 hours, can take up to 24 hours in wintertime.  The batter will get slightly thicker, fizzy and rise.  Perfect!  This is the fermentation taking place.

dosa-fermentation - 1

‘Because of their vital digestive enzymes, fermented foods aid in absorbing B12 from other sources and stimulate B12 bacterial growth in the intestines.’


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

7.  Using the back of the ladle, very gently swirl the batter from the centre outwards to make a thin crepe-like dosa. Optional, drizzle ghee lightly over the dosa.

8.  Cook over medium heat until the edges of the dosa start to lift – about 2 – 3 minutes. If you try to turn it over too soon before it has started to set, the dosa will break. Flip and cook until golden.

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 homemade strawberry jam and tahini or almond butter.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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