Masala dosas

Masala dosas

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  • Makes 8–10 dosas
  • Easy
  • 1 hour 45 minutes, plus 12 hours soaking and fermenting

Dosas are fermented pancakes made from rice and lentil batter, and a staple in India, where they’re wrapped around cooked vegetables, chutney and other spiced fillings. There are various ways to make them, but this version is straightforward – just make sure the batter is not too thick. These fermented pancakes are stuffed with a comforting, mildly spiced potato curry, made sweet with coconut milk. – Sue Quinn


  • For the dosas:
  • 50 g urad dhal
  • 1⁄2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • scant 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 t chilli oil
  • 1⁄2 t sea salt flakes
  • vegetable oil, for brushing
  • For the potato curry:
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 1⁄2 t mustard seeds
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 small green chillies, finely sliced
  • a pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 1 heaped t garam masala
  • 700 g potatoes, cut into 2-cm cubes
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1⁄2 t sea salt flakes, plus more to taste
  • 3⁄4 cup coconut milk
  • handful coriander leaves, chopped

Cooking Instructions

To make the dosa

1. Rinse the dal several times in cold water, then place it in a bowl with the fenugreek seeds. Cover generously with cold water and leave to soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse well, then transfer to a blender or food processor.

2. Add 50ml  cold water and blitz until completely smooth. Scrape into a mixing bowl, add the rice flour, oil and salt, and stir in 300ml (10fl oz) cold water to make a thin batter. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside to ferment for 8 hours.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush with oil. Pour 60ml (1⁄4 cup) batter into the pan, swirling to cover the base. Lots of tiny bubbles should immediately form on top – if this doesn’t happen, add a little more water to the batter. Cook for 1–2 minutes on each side.

4. Serve immediately or layer between sheets of greaseproof paper and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

To make the potato curry

5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium–high heat until shimmering hot. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, moving them about in the oil with a wooden spoon. When the mustard seeds start to pop, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, chillies and salt.

6. Gently fry for about 8 minutes until soft, turning the heat down if needed to avoid burning. Stir in the garlic, turmeric and garam masala, and cook for a further 2 minutes.

7. Add the potatoes and tomato, mixing to coat in the spiced oil. Pour in 100ml (scant 1⁄2 cup) cold water and cook over a medium heat for 25–30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. You will need to add frequent splashes of water to keep the potatoes moist and prevent them sticking, but you don’t want any liquid left at the end of cooking. When done, add the coconut milk and cook for a couple of minutes more. Finally, stir in the coriander.

8. Place spoonfuls of the potato mixture in the centre of each dosa and roll into a cone shape. Serve immediately.

Extract reproduced with permission from Seriously Good Pancakes by Sue Quinn. Published by Hardie Grant. Photography by Faith Mason. Price: R315

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Sue Quinn Recipe by: Sue Quinn
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Sue Quinn is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and journalist. Her books span a range of cuisines, from Japanese to vegan, as well as children’s cookery and healthy eating. Her articles and recipes regularly appear in the UK’s leading food publications including the Telegraph, Sunday Times, Guardian, delicious and BBC Good Food magazines. She won the Fortnum & Mason’s Online Food Writer Award in 2016.

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