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What is Dosa
What is Dosa


The Dosa is a South Indian crêpe made from rice and lentils. Dosa is a typical South Indian food, taken as breakfast or dinner, and is rich in carbohydrates and protein.


Regular dosa batter is made from rice and split, skinned urad bean (black lentil) blended with water and left to ferment overnight. A modified form of the same batter can be used to make idlis.

Characteristically the rice is very finely ground, more so than in idli batter. Furthermore, the rice to lentil ratio varies in both. The rice can be uncooked and/or parboiled. The urad bean and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour to make a maida dosa or semolina for a rava dosa.

The batter is then ladled in small amounts onto a hot greased tava, where it is spread out into a thin circle and fried with oil or ghee until golden brown. The dosa may then be folded in half and served or rolled as in a wrap, but in both cases it is cooked on a single side. Alternatively, it may be flipped to cook on the other side and then served.

Serving methods

hough sometimes considered a breakfast dish, dosas are also eaten at other times of day. Those with wheat allergies or gluten intolerance will find the dosa a nice addition to their diets. They can be stuffed with vegetables, meats and sauces to create a quickly prepared meal.

Dosas are typically served with a side dish which varies according to regional and personal preferences. More common side items include:

    * sambar
    * wet chutneys, often coconut chutney — a semi-solid paste usually made of coconut, dal, green chilies, and mint or coriander (cilantro)
    * dry chutney pudi or powder of spices and desiccated coconut
    * Indian pickle
    * milagai podi, fry dry chillies, dal, asafoetida, salt and grind coarsely
    * chicken or mutton curry (commonly served in non-vegetarian households in Tamil Nadu and Kerala)
    * curd with chilli powder topping
    * Muddha Pappu(dal) with large amount of ghee (the traditional way of eating dosa in many parts of Andhra Pradesh)

Masala dosa

The ubiquitous Indian dish masala dosa has its origins in Udupi. A masala dosa is made by stuffing a dosa with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices. It wraps the dosa around a onion and potato curry or sabji.

Dosa is supposed to have had its roots in the Temple Streets of Udupi.
Masala dosa showing Aloo masala filling

Before it was invented, plain dosa was served with potato curry (batata bhaji) without onions in a separate cup. During a shortage of potatoes, he created a method where potato was mashed and sauteed with onions and other spices and placed in the dosa instead of a separate cup. He did this to hide the onions which are not eaten by some Hindus and Jains. People enjoyed this new dosa. Hence, he named it "Masala Dosa", from the sautéeing of spices (masala) during the preparation of the bhaji.

Variants of Masala dosas

    Due to the huge popularity of masala dosa, many variants exist for differing tastes. The following are some of the variants.

    * Mysore masala dosa : Masala dosa with chutney spread inside along with bhaji .
    * Vegetable masala dosa : Instead of potatoes, peas and other vegetables are mashed to make bhaji.
    * Rava Masala dosa : Rava (semolina ) is used to instead of rice.
    * Chinese Masala dosa : In this noodles and other Chinese ingredients are added .

One variant of the masala dosa, the Mysore masala dosa, is served with both coconut and onion chutneys. In Bangalore, the masala dosa is usually served with a red chutney applied to its inside surface. This peculiarity lends itself to a unique taste and is something that is not found elsewhere. The red chutney usually has generous amounts of garlic (traditionally garlic is not used in masala dosa especially in the Brahmin community), and adds a nice flavor to the dosa when it is fried with ghee. In recent times this has become popular in other parts of Karnataka. Davanagere benne masala dose is another variant of the masala dosa from Karnataka. It is named after Davanagere in Karnataka. It is prepared by adding liberal doses of butter (benne) and also a potato filling (palya) that is unique. It is devoid mostly of any extra ingredients and is just mashed potato. The Rave dosa or Rava dosa is another variant which is made from semolina. Ragi dosa and Ade or Aday dosa are other variants that are native to Karnataka.

Dosa variations

    * Egg dosa - a dosa spread with an omelette.
    * Chilli dosa - chilli powder is spread on the dosa.
    * Onion dosa - chopped and sautéd onions are spread on the dosa.
    * Ghee (thuppa/neyyi) dosa - ghee is used instead of oil while frying the dosa.
    * Butter dosa - butter is used instead of oil while frying dosa and a small amount on top of it while serving.
    * Roast - the dosa is spread thinly and fried until crisp.
    * Family roast - a long dosa which can be spread over 2 or 3 feet.
    * Paper dosa - a long and very thin delicate dosa which can be spread over 2 feet.
    * Green dosa - a dosa stuffed with fresh vegetables and mint chutney.
    * Chow-chow dosa - a dosa stuffed with (Indian flavored) Chinese noodles.
    * Cheese dosa - a dosa stuffed with cheese.
    * Masala dosa - a dosa stuffed with spiced potatoes (famous in South India)

Though dosa typically refers to the version made with rice and lentils, many other versions of dosa exist and are popular in varying degrees. This is sometimes specific to a region in India. Some common ones are:

    * Rava dosa - made with rava or semolina, which doesn't need fermentation and is usually considered a fast snack/tiffin.
    * Wheat dosa - made with wheat flour, and served with coconut chutney,mysore masala dosa
    * Vella dosa - a sweet dosai made of jaggery[citation needed], with ghee/neyyi.
    * Ragi dosa - made of ragi or millet flour, usually considered "a poor man's fare".
    * Muttai dosai - eggs are added to the regular batter; the word muttai in Tamil means "egg".
    * Set dose - a popular type of dosa in Karnataka, which is cooked only on one side and is served in a set of two, hence the name.
    * Cabbage dosa - a dosa made out of cabbage. Paste is prepared with rice, red chillies, Asfotedia and Turmeric. Once the batter is ready, cabbage cut into small pieces is added to the paste and left for about 30 mins.Once this is done, the batter is poured and the dosa is made crisp.
    * Neer dosa - a dosa prepared from rice unique to Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts.
    * Pesarattu - a dosa prepared from moong dal; Andhra special. The variations include a) making from soaked whole moong seeds (along with green cover), which gives a greenish tint to the Dosa, and, b) making with yellow coloured moong dal (green cover removed and dal is refined), which gives a fine golden yellow tint to the dosa when roasted. Both these forms are famous in Andhra Pradesh, and are typically served with chutney made from Ginger and Tamarind.
    * Adai - a dosa prepared from a combination of dals namely Urad, Channa & Moong dal.
    * Appam - a dosa prepared from a combination of patted rice (Avalakki), rice & yogurt.
    * 70 MM Dosa - Similar to Masala Dosa, but it is bigger in size, about 60cm in diameter.

Instant dosa

Packs of readymade "instant" dosa batter are available all over India. These are typically available in 500g and 1kg denominations, and are ready to be spread onto a hot plate (in some cases requiring addition of salt or water first). Typically, instant dosa batter can also be used to make idlis (see Idli).

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