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  • Writer's pictureShalini Vemuri

Set Dosa

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

A lip-smacking, spongy and soft lentil pancake, served with an aromatic and spicy curry or chutney. Authentic dish from South India. A must try!

#vegen option

Set dosa! This fluffy lentil pancake gets it's name, as they are made small and always served in sets of 3 per serving. An extremely healthy recipe that calls for lentils and rice to be soaked, ground and fermented. A traditional breakfast recipe, but can be served any time of the day. It is served in restaurants across South India, with chutney or a curry. In Chennai it's not just any curry, but the mouth watering Vada Curry. Set dosa and Vada curry make an awesome combo and served on a banana leaf!

South India hosts a wide array of dosa varieties. This version is super soft, porous, thick and spongy and requires little to no oil in its preparation. A ladle of the dosa batter is poured on a tawa and closed with a lid and steam cooked for a minute until a million tiny pores appear.

Key ingredients for this recipe are Urad Dhal, Parboiled rice or Raw rice, Fenugeek seeds and Flattened Rice. The softness is achieved due to the flattened rice. These are soaked and ground into a fine batter. Fermentation of the batter plays a key role in this recipe to achieve soft and porous dosas. It usual takes about 12 to 15 hours to ferment depending on climatic conditions. Easiest method is to use an Instant pot if you have one, and set on Yogurt mode for 12 to 14 hours.


Makes 15 dosas Active cook time 30 min


Before fermentation

2 cups Parboiled rice or regular rice

1/2 cup Urad dhal

1/2 cup Flattened rice/ Poha

1 tsp Fenugeek seeds

1/2 cup Buttermilk (optional)

After fermentation

1 tsp Turmeric powder

2 tsp Sugar

2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Oil to season the tawa

To serve


1. Take a medium sized bowl and add the rice, urad dhal and fenugeek seeds. Soak in water for 4 to 5 hours.

2. Add the flattened rice and butter milk to a bowl and soak them for just about 20 min just before grinding the ingredients. You can just soak it in water instead of buttermilk to make it vegan.

3. Drain the water from the rice and lentils and add them to the blender. Toss in the soaked flattened rice along with the buttermilk and blend them to a smooth batter. The consistency should resemble an American pancake batter.

4. Transfer the batter to a bowl and set it aside in a warm place in the kitchen for about 12 hours if the weather is warm. In cooler areas, place the bowl in an over that is off and turn on the oven light for the first couple of hours. Alternately, if you own an Instant Pot, ferment it in yogurt mode for 12 to 14 hours.

5. The batter will almost double in size once fermented.

6. Mix the batter. Add in salt, sugar, turmeric powder and baking soda and stir it a bit.

7. Heat a griddle or tawa to medium-high heat and season lightly with oil. Pour in a ladle of the batter and close with a lid.

8. Once tiny pores appear, remove the dosa. It doesn't have to be cooked on both sides. Serve with your favorite chutney or curry!


Serve hot! These are super soft and can be served even at room temperature as they retain the softness. If you are planning to have them later, separate the dosas with a banana leaf or parchment paper as you stack them or they will tend to stick.

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