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Dosa — 27 Comments

  1. Hi Ted. Thanks again for inspiring a wave of fermenting projects. Tried your Dosa recipe, with a few alterations, and I have some quick questions which you might be able to answer. One, do you know how long the batter will last in the fridge before it goes off? I cooked up all of mine today out of fear that it would, but now of course I have a pile of dosas to use up somehow (I’ll worry about that later). Separately, a question about your recipe instructions: after you soak the rice and lentils (I used Quinoa), do you put everything in the blender just like that, or do you strain it all and add new water. It probably doesn’t make a difference, but the soaking water was cloudy and a bit musty after 24 hours of soaking, and I wondered if straining and the pureeing with fresh water would have just made for a slightly cleaner taste. Also, I experimented afterwards with stirring cumin, turmeric, chile powder into the batter. Have you tried adding anything to it? Thanks a bunch. S

  2. Hey Sam, Very cool that you are trying so many of these ferments. Dosa is one of my favorites and has become a dietary staple of mine. As a non-meat eater, I find it’s another nice was of getting more good healthy protein into my diet. As to your questions, I find the batter last for a few days. If left unused for too long, I think the fermentation breaks down the structure of the batter too much and it will start to get runny and not fluff up so well when cooked, sometimes remaining doughy and sticky in the center when cooked.

    Regarding the water, I simply use the same water I soaked the grains in. Haven’t tried straining and using fresh water so can’t speak to that. If you find an improvement when using a fresh batch of water, let me know. I also haven’t soaked the indgredients for 24 hours as you have, usually just 4-6 hours. Perhaps that lengthier time is adding a little mustiness to the water for you, or perhaps it’s a reflection of the quinoa.

    Finally, as to experiments, I haven’t done too much. I tried “mexican dosa” using pinto beans, rice, cumin and chili powder and while it worked practically, I really didn’t like the flavor or scent very much. I’ll try the quinoa as you suggest.

    Let us know when you find some good flavor combinations. I appreciate your sharing your experiences here.

    • If you soak the lentils or rice for 4-6 hours then its fine to use the same water esp the lentils one to grind it into a paste but if soaking more than that…water turns cloudy and has patches of bubbles on it….guess the wild yeast from the air. This makes the batter and or the dosa very bitter. Fenugreek seeds help in attracting the yeast for better fermentation.

      We make dosas with:
      1 cup urad dal, 2 cups brown rice and a little more than a cup of oats flour, pearl barley and puffed amaranth soaked together which when made into paste sizes up to almost more than the pasted rice.

      Add a teaspoon of himalayan rock (pink) salt into the batter before leaving it to ferment to refrain the growth of any bad bacteria. Never use any Iodized Salt as it retards fermentation to some extent.

      Never use chlorinated tap water to wash/soak or grind the rice or urad dal as chlorine has a negative impact on the yeast which are required to for fermentation.

      • Thanks so much for sharing that information. I’ll play around with some of your ideas with my next dosa batch. Excited to learn and share more! Thanks again!

  3. Second try and after 48 hrs the batter had mold all over :/. First time I fermented 2 days and put the batter in the oven with the light on (Denmark is cold already) a d that was fine, now I left it out and unfortunately it didn’t work out.. Ever happened to you??

    • Never happened to me. I’ve made probably 15 batches of dosa in my life and never once has it molded over. Maybe a little more salt would be helpful. Perhaps there is mold in the air where you are fermenting?

      • It was next to kefir and sauerkraut, maybe that was why.. Anyway, made a new one and that one is fine. How long can you keep the batter in the fridge for?? Thank…

  4. Has anyone baked the dosa batter? I’d like to cut down the time it takes to make all the individual pancakes and just pour it all into a pyrex baking dish and bake it, then cut it into squares when done.

    Any suggestions? BTW, this is a delicious recipe! We tried it for the first time this week and salted some of it, and put grape jelly on the rest. Yum!

  5. Hello!

    I am from South India, and my situation is sort of the opposite. I live in a place where I don’t really get urad dal or fenugreek (at least not fresh enough that the wild yeast on them can be harnessed for the traditional dosa fermentation). I think you have used the wild yeast on fenugreek as well.

    Turns out along with migrations of south indians elsewhere have come newer fermentation techniques as we adapt to our new homes. Our gold standard is a batter similar to dosas, but thicker and a little sourer (for idlis). Here are some of the newer variations (full props to the author of that blog to try collecting variations from blogs across the web in one place, despite a few misconceptions about wild yeast).

    http://ramkicooks.blogspot.com/2008/02/1001-less-known-idlis.html

    I chanced on your blog because I was trying to see if someone had harnessed the bacteria on sauerkraut to ferment the batter. It shouldn’t be so hard—there are versions of dosa that are made with vegetables as the base. Question is what temperature does the sauerkraut bacteria like, and what all bases does it like? Is there any ingredient that should be avoided since it will hinder the growth of the sauerkraut bacteria?

    • Hi Prasad,
      An old comment, I know, but I just wanted to tell you that I always use a tablespoon full of kefir whey to kickstart my dosa batter. I never had a problem, and it always tastes great.

      • I forgot to say that the kefir bacteria and yeasts prefer temps of between 18c and 26c roughly, so that should be achievable somewhere in the house. If my room is too hot, I put it in the oven with some freezer blocks on a tray underneath. If it’s too cold I put the batter in a jar in an esky with some hot tap water in a hot water bottle. But put a towel between the jar and the HW bottle.

        Never had an issue doing this. I use kefir to start all my ferments. Good luck!

  6. Pingback: Dosa | Fermat's Last Recipe

  7. Um…..wow! I have just experienced my first.. and then second…and soon a third Dosa! This may be a new obsession thanks for being the instigator!

    • Awesome! So glad to hear. I’m a huge fan of dosas too. So simple, tasty and healthy at the same time. Let me know if you try anything else from the site. Also, there is a separate recipe for Quinoa Dosa here. You might look at that as a fun variant.

  8. I do a lot of fermented things, and enjoy them – but whenever I see one that involves cooking, I have a concern that the cooking negates (kills) the fermentation. I never see any comments or concerns about that. Any thoughts or insight?
    Thanks, john

    • I agree with you John. I don’t think there is any probiotic benefit from dosa once it is cooked. The fermentation, in this case, is there to break down the grains, add flavor, and make a batter that cooks well on a griddle.

  9. I live in a very small coastal town and can’t find Fenugreek. Do you use the seeds or the dried leaves? What is a good substitute?

    • I use the seeds. Mehti is the common name for the powdered form of Fenugreek.not sure about substitutes. It does impart a flavor to the batter, but am honestly not certain if it plays a role in creating the right environment for fermentation. My hunch is that everything will work fine without it, but have never tried. If you do try, please let us know here how it goes. Thanks!

  10. Hi, thank you for your website these and recipes!
    I have a question about the dosas. My house is warm this summer, maybe 79′. I’m at the 24 hr mark post blending, and the batter looks tall, foamy and with a clear liquid starting to collect at the bottom.
    I want to wait abother 14 hrs to use it. Should I put it in the refrigerator? I’m concerned that the bacteria and yeast will run out of food in the heat of my kitchen.
    My experience is with sourdough, and at this point (liquid collection, but on top), I’d say food is running low, feed or use asap.
    Is it the same for dosa batter?
    Thank you!

    • I’d suggest enjoying the dosa now. You are correct, the dosa batter will exhaust itself if left too long. Thanks for writing. Good point about fermenting the batter at a higher than normal temperature.

  11. Hiya, I made this with chana flour and rice flour and a bit of whey. I leave it to bubble up and make dosa after 24 hours. I used the flours rather than the whole rice and lentils simply because I had them and wanted to see what would happen. What I miss though, is the uneven texture you get when you use whole lentils and rice but it is an easier option. Also less messy(!)I think the flavour is less pronounced as well so I’ll probably not do it again unless I’m feeling extra lazy.

  12. Love all the info here……..starting with the recipe and then all the comments. Always on the search for healthy good tasting food. Love Indian flatbreads but have never tried dosas. On my “to make” list.

  13. Ted, did you get around to try the flax seed version? I searched for it and couldn’t find it. I’d love it if I can incorporate flax into this because my current staple diet doesn’t allow for addition of flax.

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