These savory crêpes made with pounded, soaked rice and black lentils are a go-to comfort food for almost everyone hailing from South India. Some of the most common dosa toppings include coconut chutney, sweet-sour tamarind sambar, and spiced mashed potatoes. When preparing them, it's important to spread the batter quickly, from the center of the pan to the edges, to ensure wide, thin, evenly cooked crêpes. This recipe first appeared in our August/September 2014 special India issue with Vikram Doctor's story Southern Comfort.
- 3 cups long grain white rice
- 1 1⁄4 cups urad dal (skinned split black lentils)
- 1⁄2 cup chana dal (yellow split peas)
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Melted ghee, for cooking
- Masala potatoes for serving (optional)
- Coconut and and coconut-cilantro chutneys for serving
Rinse rice and dals in a bowl until water runs clear; cover with 8 cups water and let sit 3 hours. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; transfer to a blender. Add 3 1⁄2 cups water and purée until smooth to create a slightly thick, grainy batter. Cover; let sit at room temperature 6 hours to ferment.
Heat a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high. Stir salt and sugar into batter. Brush skillet lightly with ghee. Using a ladle, pour 1⁄2 cup batter into center of pan. Immediately and in a circular motion, spread batter from center toward edge of pan, creating a thin pancake (some holes are fine). Drizzle 1–2 tbsp. ghee around edges and on surface of dosa. Cook until golden and crisp, 3–4 minutes. Slide spatula around edges of dosa and fold in half; slide onto a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with ghee between dosas. Serve with masala potatoes and chutneys if you like. Leftover batter can be chilled 1 week or frozen up to 3 months.