4.6/5 rating (12 votes)

Masala Dosa

Crisp Lentil Pancakes

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 6
  • Prep 2 days
  • Cook 10 mins

Light crisp pancakes made from a lentil and rice batter stuffed with a delicious spicy potato filling

Hari says

These are an amazing South Indian delicacy which everyone simply has to try. The Indian street vendors that make these pancakes are so talented. They ladle the batter onto huge griddles then smear the batter round in circles until it's as thin as a sheet of paper. This makes the dosa crisp and light so it can be stuffed full of a spiced filling.

Now i'm not going to lie to you lovely people, these require some forward planning. From start to finish we are talking 3 days! Day one - soak the lentils, Day two - blend the lentils to a batter and leave it to ferment overnight, Day three - cook the Dosa and enjoy!

There is a knack to getting the dosa right and I have had a few disasters with them so don't be dishearten if your first one isn't great (that is the law with pancakes after all). Keep going because when you get it right and you get that wonderfully light crepe you will be in your happy place. In India these crepes are so long that they hang off the sides of the plates they are served on - fun food! 

Please don't let me frighten you, these dosa are well worth the effort, just make sure that if it's your first attempt a good nonstick pan will help. They are delicious filled with the spicy masala aloo filling and a wonderfully warming coconut chutney!

  • Ingredients
  • Method

Dosa Pancake Batter

  • 190g rice
  • 105g white lentils (split urid with skin removed)
  • 20g split chana lentils
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Masala Potato stuffing

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seed, crushed 
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 potatoes, diced into 3cm pieces
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped


Dosa Pancake Batter

  1. Wash and soak the lentils, rice & fenugreek seeds in enough cold water to cover the mixture by about an inch.
  2. Leave at room temperature for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Blend the lentils and rice with some of the water to create a grainy batter. It should be of a pouring consistency with a slightly rough texture. Empty the batter into a bowl and leave to ferment overnight at room temperature (not too cold).

Masala Potato Stuffing

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  2. Once the mustard seeds splutter add the onions and stir until they turn a light brown colour.
  3. Stir in the crushed coriander and cumin seeds, the turmeric, green chilli and chilli powder.
  4. When fragrant (after a minute or so) stir in the potatoes and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat and stir in 3 tbsp of water, put the lid onthe pan and leave to cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Add a little more water as and when required.
  6. Once cooked finish with a handful of fresh coriander.

Making the Dosa

  1. Add the salt to the batter and stir.
  2. Pour oil into a nonstick frying pan or tava (Indian griddle) and wipe with kitchen roll and heat on a gentle heat.
  3. Pour a ladle full of the batter into the middle of the pan, move the batter around the pan using the bottom of the ladle in a circular motion to spread the batter out to fill the pan so its nice an thin.
  4. Once it starts to cook, drizzle oil around the sides and a little over the top and with the back of a spatula spread it all over.
  5. As the edges start to crisp up lift the pancake edges up with a spatula.
  6. Pile the masala filling on top and when golden brown on the bottom, roll it up so the filling is wrapped inside the crisp pancake.
  7. Serve straight away with some chutney or a lentil dhal.

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Comments (2)

  • Jason Murtagh

    Jason Murtagh

    13 August 2019 at 11:39 |
    Hi Hari, fabulous website and recipes. Can you please tell me the make of blender you use in your potato dosa video to blitz the dal and rice batter?
    Many thanks,


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      07 September 2019 at 12:42 |
      Hi Jason its the Cuisinart Spice and nut grinder and its fantastic!


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