Masala dosa are crisp rice and lentil crepes stuffed with spiced and savory potato filling. They’re a popular breakfast snack from the south Indian menu.
Ingredients for Batter
- 1.5 cups idli rice – 330 grams, or 1.5 cups regular rice
- ½ cup urad dal – 125 grams, husked whole or split black gram
- ¼ cup thick poha – 35 grams, flattened rice
- 1 tablespoon chana dal – husked and split bengal gram
- 20 fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
- 1 cup water for soaking urad dal
- 2 cups water for soaking rice
- 1 cup water for grinding rice & poha
- ½ cup water for grinding dal
- ½ teaspoon rock salt (edible and food grade), add as required or sea salt or pink salt
Ingredients for Potato Filling
- 4 potatoes medium-sized potatoes – 300 grams or 2 cups boiled, chopped or crumbled potatoes
- 2 tablespoons oil – any neutral oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon chana dal (husked and split bengal gram) soaked in ¼ cup hot water for 30 minutes – optional
- 1.25 cups thinly sliced onions or 2 medium to large – 150 grams
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger
- 8 to 10 curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies or 1 to 2 green chillies
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons cashews – optional
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar – optional
- salt as required
Soaking Rice and Lentils
- First take all the ingredients in bowls. Take rice and flattened rice in separate bowls. Take the urad dal, chana dal and fenugreek seeds in one bowl.
- Rinse the urad dal, chana dal and fenugreek seeds a couple of times. Then soak them in 1 cup water for 4 to 5 hours.
- Rinse the rice a couple of times and keep aside.
- Rinse flattened rice once or twice and then add to the rice.
- Pour 2 cups water. Stir and soak both rice and flattened rice together for 4 to 5 hours.
- Before grinding, strain the water from the soaked lentils and keep it for grinding urad dal.
- Add the lentils in the grinder jar. Also add ½ cup of the soaked and strained water to the dal. You can even use fresh water while grinding.
- Grind the urad dal, chana dal and fenugreek seeds till you get a batter which is light and fluffy. The urad dal has to be ground really well, so that the batter ferments well.
- Remove the batter in a bowl or pan with a spatula.
- Strain the rice well. Then in the same grinder, add the soaked rice and 1 cup fresh water. You can grind rice in one batch or in two to three batches. This will depend on the size of the grinder jar. To make the batter, I added 1 cup water. You can even add ¾ cup water while grinding. Addition of water will depend on the quality of rice.
- Grind the rice till you get a fine grainy consistency in it. The rice batter should have a fine rava (cream of wheat) like consistency. You can even grind to a smooth batter.
- Now pour the batter in the same pan or bowl containing the urad dal batter.
- Add ½ teaspoon edible rock salt or add as per taste. You can also use sea salt or pink salt.
- Mix the salt very well with the batter. Also mix both the batters very well. Cover and keep aside to ferment for 8 to 9 hours. You can keep batter to ferment for less or more time and this will depend on the temperature conditions in your city.
Preparation for Potato Filling
- First rinse and then boil 4 medium sized potatoes in 2 cups water for 5 to 6 whistles in a pressure cooker. You can also boil potatoes in a pan or in an Instant pot. The potatoes have to be completely cooked and fork tender.
- When the potatoes are cooking, soak the Chana dal in hot water for 30 minutes. Then drain the Chana dal and keep aside.
- When the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, remove the lid. Drain the water from the potatoes and let them become warm. Then peel and chop them.
- Also slice the onions thinly and chop the green chilies, ginger and coriander leaves.
Making Potato Filling
- Heat oil or ghee in a frying pan or a skillet. Fry cashews and keep aside. This step of frying cashews is optional.
- Lower the flame and add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add the Chana dal.
- Sauté the Chana dal for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame or till they turn light golden or golden. Now add the sliced onions, curry leaves, green chilies and ginger.
- Sauté the onions stirring often till they soften and turn translucent.
- Add the turmeric powder and asafetida (Hing). Mix very well.
- Add water. Mix well and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or till the mixture thickens a bit.
- Next add the boiled chopped potatoes and mix very well. You can also mash the potatoes if you like while cooking them.
- Season with salt according to taste. Also add ¼ teaspoon sugar for a slight sweet taste.
- Simmer on a low flame for 3 to 4 minutes stirring occasionally. The water will reduce and the consistency will thicken.
- Switch off the flame and then add chopped coriander leaves. Also add the fried cashews now and mix well. The potato filling should be moist and easily spreadable on the dosa. Make sure there is no water in the potato filling. It should not be of a curry or gravy consistency.
- Stir and keep the potato filling aside.
Making Masala Dosa
- Lightly stir the batter, before you begin to make dosa. You will also see tiny air pockets in the batter and it would have increased in volume.
- Heat a cast iron pan or a flat non-stick pan. The pan should be medium hot. Smear some oil if using an iron pan or griddle. Don’t smear oil on a non stick pan, as then you won’t be able to spread the batter.
- Keep the flame to a low, while spreading batter.
- Spread the batter in a circular way on the pan.
- On a medium flame, cook the dosa.
- Sprinkle some oil on top and edges.
- Cover with a lid and let it cook. You can spread the oil which was sprinkled earlier on the dosa with a spoon. Cook till its base becomes golden and crisp.
- When you see the base has become golden and the edges separate from the pan, place a portion of the potato filling on the dosa. You can spread it a bit if you want.
- Now fold the dosa and serve.