Dosas with coconut lentil curry

Dosas are made from rice and lentils soaked overnight and blended into a batter, then left to ferment. The longer you leave the batter to ferment, the more intense the flavour (this step can also be left out). Dosas are cooked as you would a crêpe, and we serve them here with a simple lentil curry. Use a non-stick frying pan or a crêpe pan; cook a couple of small ones first - as with pancakes, the first ones tend to stick. The key to success is to be patient and wait until the base is golden and set well before turning.

You'll need

100 gm urid dhal (see note) 40 gm basmati rice Melted ghee, for brushing Spanish onion, finely chopped and mixed with lime juice and salt, to serve Plain yoghurt, coriander, nigella seeds and fried curry leaves, to serve   Lentil curry 1 tbsp ghee 1 onion, finely chopped ½ tsp fenugreek seeds 3 cardamom pods, bruised 8 fresh curry leaves 3 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle 2½ tsp chilli powder, or to taste 2½ tsp ground turmeric 400 ml coconut milk 120 gm dried yellow split peas


  • 01
  • For dosas, rinse and drain dhal and rice, then soak together in a bowl of water overnight. Drain and rinse, then process in a blender on high speed with 500ml water until mixture is smooth and has the consistency of thick pouring cream, adding a little more water if necessary. Season, then cover and stand at room temperature to ferment (about 8 hours for a light fermentation).
  • 02
  • For lentil curry, melt ghee in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and sauté until translucent (8-10 minutes). Add fenugreek seeds, cardamom pods and curry leaves, and fry until spices are toasted (1-2 minutes). Add cumin, chilli powder and turmeric, and stir until fragrant (1-1½ minutes). Add coconut milk, split peas and 400ml water, bring to a simmer and cook, adding a little extra water if curry thickens too much, until mixture is creamy (40-45 minutes). Season to taste and keep warm.
  • 03
  • Heat a crêpe pan or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush with ghee, then add about ¼ cup of dosa batter and, working quickly, tilt pan to spread batter thinly and evenly (if it’s too thick to spread easily, add a little more water to remaining batter). Fill any gaps that appear by tilting pan again, then increase heat to high and cook until base of dosa is crisp and golden, and the top is almost dried out (2-4 minutes). Flip and cook the other side until golden brown (1-2 minutes). Keep warm and repeat with remaining batter.
  • 04
  • Top lentil curry with onion mixture, yoghurt, coriander, nigella seeds and fried curry leaves, and serve with dosas.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people

Additional Notes

Urid dhal, a small dried black bean also known as black gram, is available from Indian grocers, select supermarkets and online from

Featured in

June 2017

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