Dosas are an Indian-style sourdough crepe that are typically eaten at breakfast or as a street food stuffed with a spicy filling. As a traditionally gluten free flatbread, fermented rice dosas have a wonderful sour flavour and are delicious hot and crisp straight from the frying pan.
Dosa batter naturally ferments really quickly. It usually takes less than 48 hours to turn into a bubbly batter that has doubled in size. I think it is the addition of the fenugreek that causes the ferment to go so fast. I recommend using pre-ground fenugreek, as grinding your own can be quite difficult (I’ve broken several spice grinders trying!) You can buy fenugreek at an Indian grocer or online.
Fermented rice dosas are delicious with both traditional Indian dosa filling and Western savoury crepe fillings. Here are a few of my favourite options.
Traditional Indian Fillings
Western Crepe Fillings
- Tomato with mozzarella and basil
- Scrambled eggs
- Spinach and cheese
Fermented Rice Dosa
Dosas are a traditional Indian sourdough crepe that is naturally gluten free. The batter ferments really quickly, and it only takes about 24 hours for a nice foamy batter. Dosas have an amazing flavour and are absolutely delicious hot and crisp from the frying pan.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 8 dosas 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Indian
- 1 cup white short grained rice (see notes)
- 1/3 cup split urad dal (or red lentils)
- 1/8 tsp of ground fenugreek
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Filtered water (chlorine free)
- Cover the rice with a few inches of water, and soak for 3-6 hours. In a separate container, also soak the dal for 3-6 hours.
- After soaking, drain the dal and scrape it into a blender. Grind until smooth and frothy. You will need to add a few tablespoons of water to assist with the blending.
- When the lentils are smooth, drain the rice and add it to the blender as well. Grind again, adding water as necessary. You want it to be fairly smooth, though the rice will make the mixture a bit grittier, which will add to the texture of the dosa.
- Scrape the ground lentils and rice from the blender and into a glass container for fermenting. You can use a bit more filtered water to help get any remaining ground rice and lentils from the bottom of the blender. The batter should be about 3 cups (rice, lentils and water.)
- Mix in the fenugreek.
- Cover the container with a tea towel and leave it somewhere warm to ferment for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours. The dosa batter is officially ready when it has doubled in size, but you can be flexible on this to fit your schedule. The longer it goes the more sour it will be.
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat. I use a cast iron pan, but non-stick pan would work as well.
- Add salt to the dosa batter, stirring gently to keep the bubbles. May need to add a bit more water. It should have a thick pouring consistency.
- Brush on a thin layer of oil in your pan. Then ladle 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and spread it around with a spoon to make a thin layer.
- The dosa is cooked when the bottom side has started to brown and the top side is dry. You can either serve it like this or flip the dosa over to lightly toast the other side. You want the dosa to be fully cooked, but still soft enough to fold and roll.
- Serve fresh and hot with your choice of fillings.
- If rice isn’t your thing, try my millet and red lentil dosa recipe instead!
- The amount of time it will take your dosa batter to double is really dependent on temperature and local strains of yeast. Unlike bread, a precise doubling of the batter isn’t required, it really only affects the flavour.
- It can take a bit of practice to make nicely formed dosas. Just make sure that you oil your pan each time as the dosas don’t have any oil and they will seize otherwise.
- Like all sourdough starters, you need to make sure that your water is pure because chlorine will prevent fermentation.
- Short-grain rice is better than long-grain because of the starchiness, however, idli rice (if you can find it) is the best rice to use.
Keywords: gluten free, vegan, pancake, filled, South Asian, breakfast, snack, sourdough, egg free, dairy free, oil free, nut free