For the notion of doṣa (bodily humor) in Ayurveda, see dosha. For the genus of moth, see Dosa (moth).
Dosa with chutneys
Alternative names Dosai, Thosai, Dosha
Course Breakfast or Supper
Place of origin India
Serving temperature soft crispy hot with sambar (dish) and chutney
Main ingredients rice and black lentils batter
Variations Masala dosa, Rava dosa, Onion dosa, Ghee dosa
16x16px Cookbook:Dosa  16x16px Dosa

Dosa is a fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils. It is a staple dish in South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. It is also popular in other parts of India, and other countries like Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Nepal, Malaysia and Singapore.


Dosa is indigenous to South India; its exact birthplace in that region is a matter of conjecture.[1] According to food historian K. T. Achaya, dosa (as dosai) was already in use in ancient Tamil country around the 1st century AD, as per references in the Sangam literature.[2] According to P. Thankappan Nair, dosa originated in the Udupi town of present-day Karnataka.[3]

In popular tradition, the origin of dosa is linked to Udupi, probably because of the dish's association with the Udupi restaurants.[1] Also, the original Tamil dosa was softer and thicker. The thinner and crispier version of dosa, which became popular all over India, was first made in present-day Karnataka.[4]


File:Masala Dosa as served in Tamil Nadu,India.JPG
Masala Dosa as served in Tamil Nadu, India.Masala dosa was listed as one of the World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN

Dosa is known by several names. The standard transliterations and pronunciations of the word in various South Indian languages are as follows:

Language Transliteration Pronunciation (IPA)
Template:Lang-kn dōse d̪oːse
Malayalam: ദോശ dōsa d̪oːɕa
Tamil: தோசை dōsai t̪oːsʌj
Telugu: దోస dōsa d̪oːsa

Other spellings used include dosé, dosai, dhosa, dosey, dosay, doza, dozé, dozai, dhoza, dozey, dozay, thosa, thosé, thosai, thhosa, thosey, thosay, thoza, thozé, thozai, thhoza, thozey and thozay.


File:Dosa with chutney and sambar traditionally served in banana leaf.jpg
Dosa with chutney and sambar traditionally served in banana leaf

Dosa, a common breakfast dish[5] and street food,[6] is high in carbohydrates, and contains no sugar or saturated fats. As its constituent ingredients are rice and urad dal (Vigna mungo), it is also a source of protein.[7] The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.[8][9] There are also instant mix products for making dosa, with somewhat lower nutritional benefits.[10] Dosa are considered a high glycemic index food and should be avoided by diabetics.[11]


A mixture of rice and urad dal (ulundu) that has been soaked in water is ground finely to form a batter. Some add hand full of fenugreek seeds soaked along with rice. The proportion of rice to lentils is basically 4:1 or 5:1. The batter is allowed to ferment overnight. After the overnight fermentation, batter is mixed with water to get the desired thickness. the batter is then ladled onto a hot tava (griddle) greased with oil or ghee (clarified butter). It is spread out evenly with the base of a ladle or bowl to form a pancake. A dosa is served hot, either folded in half or rolled like a wrap. It is also served usually with chutney and sambar. The mixture of urad dal and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour or semolina.


File:Butter Masala Dosa.png
Butter Masala dosa served with coconut chutney, sambar and ghee

Dosa can be stuffed with fillings of vegetables and sauces to make a quick meal. They are typically served with a vegetarian side dish which varies according to regional and personal preferences. Common side items are:


Though dosa typically refers to the version made with rice and lentils, many other versions exist.

Types of dosa
Name Key ingredients
Masala dosa spiced potatoes
Mini soya dosa[12] soya milk and wheat flour[13]
Pesarattu (Green Dosa)[14] green gram [15]
Light white dosa rice and coconut[16]
Mysore Masala Dosa[17] rice, black gram, fenugreek seeds
Onion Rava Dosa [18] Semolina, rice flour
Ragi Wheat Dosa Ragi, Whole Wheat Flour[19]
Rava dosa rava or sooji
Benne Dosa butter
Neer dosa watery rice batter

Masala dosa

Main article: Masala dosa

The masala dosa is made by stuffing a dosa with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices. The dosa is wrapped around an onion and potato curry or masala. Masala dosa was listed as number 49 on World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011.[20]

Related foods

  • Pesarattu: a dosa-like preparation prepared from mung bean, which is typically served with a ginger and tamarind chutney
  • Adai: a dosa-like dish prepared from a combination of lentils, namely urad, kadalai and moong paruppu.
  • Appam/aappam/hopper : a pancake prepared from a combination of patted rice batter.The center is thicker and the outer rim is very thin. Served with sweet coconut milk.
  • Uttapam: a dosa-like dish made from the same batter. Unlike a dosa, which is crisp and crepe-like, it is a thick pancake. Uttapam is sometimes characterized as an Indian pizza.
  • Chakuli pitha: batter contains more black gram and less rice flour

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Charmaine O' Brien (15 December 2013). The Penguin Food Guide to India. Penguin Books Limited. p. 378. ISBN 978-93-5118-575-8. 
  2. K. T. Achaya. The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 80. ISBN 81-7371-293-X. 
  3. P. Thankappan Nair (2004). South Indians in Kolkata. p. 320. ISBN 81-86791-50-7. 
  4. Vir Sanghvi (1 January 2004). Rude Food: The Collected Food Writings of Vir Sanghvi. Penguin Books India. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-0-14-303139-0. 
  5. "Eat healthy: dosa". Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  6. Dalal, Tarla. Mumbai Roadside Snacks. Sanjay & Co. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-89491-66-6. 
  7. Srilakshmi, B. (2006) [2002]. Nutrition Science (Revised 2nd ed.). New Age International (formerly Wiley Eastern Ltd.). p. 403. ISBN 978-81-224-1633-6. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  8. Pal, Dr J. S. (December 2006). "Traditional Indian Foods: Physio-Chemical Aspects" (PDF). PFNDAI Bulletin: 3. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  9. Nutrition and Dietetics - Higher Secondary - First Year (PDF). Directorate of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu. 2004. p. 31. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  10. "Calories in Dosa (Pan Cake)". calorie count. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  11.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011.

External links

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