Dosas are a crepes-like pancake from South India. Traditionally, they are made from rice and split black gram (a variety of mung bean). However, I really like to make red lentil and millet dosas.
I particularly like cooking with millet because it’s an affordable, gluten-free grain. I don’t use it a lot, so I’m always looking for ways to get more millet into our diet.
Dosas are made with a naturally fermented batter. And it only takes 24-48 hours for dosa batter to catch wild yeasts. The resulting pancake has a wonderful sour flavour that is delicious served hot and crisp straight from the frying pan.
If you are interested in a more traditional dosa recipe, check out my recipe for white rice and lentil dosa.
Dosas are typically eaten at breakfast or as street food stuffed with flavourful fillings. Usually served with spicy South Indian fillings, dosas are also delicious with other savoury crepe fillings.
Here are few suggestions:
- Sambar (very traditional)
- Potato masala (also traditional)
- Apple chutney (a favourite recipe)
- Indian spiced sauerkraut (for fermenting foodies)
- Roasted vegetables with mozzarella (not traditional)
- Sliced tomato, alfalfa sprouts and cream cheese (fresh and delicious)
Lentil and Millet Dosas
Dosas are South Indian crepes made from fermented grains. These lentil and millet dosas are a delicious alternative to the more traditional rice dosas.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Snack
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Gluten Free
1 cup millet
1/4 cup red lentils
1 pinch of fenugreek seeds
½ tsp salt
1/4 – 3/4 cup filtered water (chlorine-free)
- Place the millet, lentils and fenugreek in a large glass bowl or jar. Cover with water and soak for 3-6 hours.
- After soaking, drain the excess water and scrape the mixture into a blender. Grind until smooth and frothy. You may need to add a bit of water to assist with the blending, however, it should be quite dry.
- Scrape everything back into the large glass container for fermenting. The container should have enough room for the dosa batter to double in size.
- Cover the container with a tea towel, place it somewhere warm. Leave it to ferment for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours. Ideally, the dosa batter will have doubled in size, however, you can cook the dosas whenever it is convenient.
- When you are ready to cook the dosas, add salt to the dosa batter, stirring gently to keep the bubbles. You may also need to add a bit more water if the batter is too thick. It should have a thick, pourable consistency.
- Heat a frying pan on medium. When it is warm, put a little oil in the pan, then ladle a spoonful of batter into the pan, and spread it around to make a thin layer. I typically make smaller dosas using 1/4 cup of batter, since they are easier to flip.
- The dosa is cooked when the bottom 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 dosas hot from the pan with your choice of fillings. (See the section above for some suggestions.)
- The amount of time it will take your dosa batter to double is dependent on temperature and local strains of yeast. Unlike bread, the precise doubling of the batter isn’t required, so just cook the dosas whenever you want. However, leaving the batter to ferment for more than 24 hours will result in a VERY sour-tasting dosa.
- Leftover dosas can be quickly toasted in a hot pan to refresh their crisp texture.
- Like all ferments, you need to make sure that your water is chlorine-free because chlorine inhibits the wild yeast fermentation.
- The fenugreek is said to help capture the wild yeasts, however, it’s not necessary for this recipe to work.
Keywords: Indian, South Indian, crepe, pancake, vegan, vegetarian, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, rice-free, simple