These crispy, lacy dosas are for people who love Indian food but find it hard to get the right ingredients. These dosas are naturally gluten free and are perfect for snacks, dipping into chutneys, topped with great fillings and as accompaniment for curries.
I tend to get obsessed with something and then research it, try it over and over again until I’m happy with it. I think I’ve spent way too long trying to get this dosa recipe right! I could’ve written many other posts in the time its taken me to finally get here, and we’ve eaten way too many flabby failed attempts than we’ve wanted to in the process. But once its in my head, I just can’t stop!
I wanted a thin and crispy dosa just like I can imagine they serve up for breakfast in Kerala, eaten dipped in sambar and green chutney. The problem is, for the westerner its hard to find the right ingredients: the right kind of lentils for the batter for one, and as soon as you read that you have to let the batter ferment overnight, it just feels like it might be a lot of hassle. So I was determined to find a way to make this taste like the real thing, but using ingredients we have at home and skip the fermentation process!
I looked to classic French cooking to find my solution. You know those amazing crispy galettes and crepes you can buy from street vendors – sometimes filled with cheese, spinach and egg? They are made with buckwheat flour. I like the nutty flavor and the fact they are gluten-free too. Traditional Indian dosas are made with rice flour and ground lentils. Rice flour is something we can easily get: tick. In fact rice flour is often added to shortbread to give a crisp texture. This might be coming together!
Before some more water was added to thin this batter out.
Other important aspects of traditional dosas I wanted to include in this recipe: lightness and taste. I decided to mix some yogurt for the traditional sour taste but with the lightness of carbonated water. The C02 in the bubbles ensures a light batter that will be thin enough to spread and crisp up. This idea comes from putting beer in classic English fish and chip batter. There are so many cross cultural references and fusions here – I love it! Chopped spring onion, coriander, cumin and fresh chili really make these dosas sing.
To fry the dosas, you spread some batter in a very hot pan, and immediately twist and turn the pan so that it spreads out. If you wanted to add a more substantial filling and fold the sides together (sometimes dosas eaten like a filled pancake in this way), you could add it while the first side is cooking – when you see most of the liquid evaporating. You could then turn up the sides to fold towards the middle. If you are just going to use your dosa for dipping like me, then turn over to the other side to crisp up further.
I love the lacy look of the batter when it fries, and the little holes helps keep the dosa light. In order to get it light and lacy, make sure your batter is about the consistency of pouring cream. Any thicker and they will be spongey. Add enough fizzy water to get the right consistency, and then let it cook long enough so that the water evaporates well.
These dosas would be a great accompaniment to this Coconut, Spinach and Sweet Potato Rice. My whole family loved this, especially the baby! The flavours are so tasty. A green chutney or Sambar would complete this meal. Here is a really fast and easy video showing how to make a vibrant green chutney to dip these light and crispy dosas into:
Here is your Light and Crispy South Indian Dosa Recipe:
- ½ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ cup rice flour
- ¼ cup plain yoghurt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup carbonated water
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt
- 1 green jalapeño chili, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Add the buckwheat flour, rice flour, yogurt, coconut oil and water to a blender. Mix well and check the consistency of the batter. It should be about like double cream. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed.
- Add the salt, chopped chili, coriander, onion, cumin and chia seeds. Stir to combine and let this mixture rest for about 15 minutes. Check again the consistency and add a little water if thickened too much.
- Heat a large griddle or frying pan until smoking hot. Pour a ladle of batter in a circular motion and turn the pan to allow it to spread out as much as possbile yet still stay together.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes on this side, then flip for another minute on the other side. Set aside on a plate while you cook the other dosas.
2. These dosas can be made in advance then heated up in a skillet right before serving.