Masala Dosa (Rice and lentil crepes with Potato Filling)

Masala Dosa

‘Masala Dosa’ South Indian recipe is quite simple. Although it originated in South India it is a popular dish in all parts of India. ‘Masala’ refers to the spiced potato filling and ‘Dosa’ refers to the rice and lentil crepe. It is usually a breakfast item in most households back home. It is also a popular lunch or dinner menu item as well, as it is quite filling! The crepe is made by grinding soaked rice and lentils to a smooth batter which is then fermented. Traditionally, the filling or stuffing of the dosa is mashed potatoes flavored with spices.

These days there are many different types of dosas to suit each and every palate. There are batters made of different combinations of ingredients, of which, lentils and rice are the most common ones. One can also get creative and have a variety of stuffings like cheese, spinach, meat, veggies, eggs, spices, and so on.

How is the south Indian masala dosa batter made ?

The first step is to soak all the required ingredients in plenty of water overnight or for six to eight hours . Idli rice (short grain parboiled rice), raw rice , fenugreek seeds and urad dal (split black gram lentils) are the main ingredients. A little chana dal (split chickpeas) and tuvar dal (split pigeon peas) can be added optionally to get the light yellowish tinge for the dosas. In addition , cooked rice and salt is added while grinding as well.

The batter can be mixed well with your hands, which they say is the trick to kick start the fermentation process .You can then keep the batter in a warm and humid place for fermentation. It is usually fermented and ready by eight hours.

To ferment the dosa batter :

The recipe posted here is what I normally make at home .To make a perfect dosa , the batter needs to ferment and rise well .The typical tell -tale sign of a good fermented batter is the tart like pleasant smell with a light , frothy and airy consistency .A dosa batter made perfectly is pure bliss .I am sure most of us who make this often will agree . The dosa that is fermented well ,will form nice visible pores on cooking .I usually prefer fermenting the dosa batter overnight in a warm place in the oven .This works perfectly when the weather is warm and humid. Many folks use the instant pot with the yogurt option button for fermentation.I have not tried it so far, but am sure it is a great option . It will especially help in winters when temperature drops and fermentation can be challenging.

How to make the south Indian masala dosa ?

To make the dosa, pour a ladle full of batter on a non stick pan and spread it into a large circle by forming smaller inner circles from the center or in other words concentric circles (see the picture for reference) . Dosa making process is indeed an art in itself . When pouring the batter, take care not to overheat the pan ,else you will not get a smooth round crepe. If the pan gets overheated , sprinkle cold water and continue making.

Serving Masala Dosa

The Dosa is served with different kinds of chutneys like coconut , tomato or mint , peanut , coriander and sambar (lentil soup) .The Masala dosa by itself is a great option as the crepe with the potato filling tastes out of the world. You do not even need any sides to go with it .Optionally you can spray it with butter and oil to make it rich. If you are health conscious ,you can make it in a non stick pan with very less oil as well.

Can this batter be used to make Idlis ?

Masala dosa batter can also be used to make idlis as well .However I normally skip the split chickpeas and split pigeon lentils addition for the idli batter .They are usually added to get the yellow tinged dosas. We normally prefer white idlis and so can skip that. I have a post for the Idli where you can see the difference in the batter preparation .

5 from 5 votes
Masala Dosa
Masala Dosa (Rice and Lentil Crepes with Potato Stuffing)
Prep Time
8 hrs
Cook Time
30 mins

Masala Dosa (Rice and Lentil Crepes with Potato Stuffing) is a very delicious South Indian breakfast made using fermented rice and lentil batter to get crispy mouthwatering crepes filled with aromatic and spiced potato stuffing.

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: aromatic, crispy, delicious, masala dosa, popular, potato filling, rice and lentil crepes, savory crepes, south indian breakfast
Dosa Batter
  • 4 cups Idli Rice (parboiled short grain rice)
  • 1 cup Raw Rice
  • 2 cups split black gram lentils
  • 2 tbsp split chickpea
  • 2 tbsp split pigeon lentils
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tbsp salt
Potato Stuffing
  • 3 medium potatoes boiled and peeled
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 green chillies
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp split black gram lentils
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 cup coriander leaves chopped finely
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
How to make dosa batter
  1. Soak the rice in a big bowl submerged in plenty of water for 6 to 8 hours

  2. Soak the lentils, fenugreek, cooked rice in another bowl submerged in plenty of water for 6 to 8 hours.

  3. Grind the soaked rice , lentils, fenugreek, cooked rice in a mixer or grinder until you get a smooth batter .

  4. Add salt and mix well . Use your hand to mix the batter well and keep it in a warm and humid place.

  5. The batter will double and rise up after about 8 to 10 hours . It can be used immediately or stored in a refrigerator for later use.

How to make Potato Filling
  1. Heat a pan with a little oil .

  2. Add mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter.

  3. Add split black gram and wait until it turns brown.

  4. Add onions , ginger and green chilies.

  5. Add turmeric and salt .

  6. Add mashed potatoes , curry leaves and coriander leaves and mix well.Cook for about 5 minutes with a closed lid . Remove from heat and keep aside.

How to make dosa
  1. Heat a non stick pan .

  2. Take a ladle full of batter and go in circles inside out or concentric circles to form a thin crepe.

  3. Spray oil, butter or ghee and wait till it browns .

  4. Filp it over and make sure its cooked well. Flip it back again.

  5. Place a little potato filling in the center and fold it as you like, either into a semi circle or like a envelope.

  6. Serve it hot and while still crisp with a little coconut chutney or sambar (lentil soup).

Masala Dosa Preparation steps
Masala Dosa
Masala Dosa

Hope you enjoyed this post on the Masala Dosa . I would love to hear your comments .Have a wonderful day!

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  • Reply
    Nisha Sharma
    September 17, 2020 at 2:03 am

    Such a classic ☺️ I would happily eat this daily

    • Reply
      September 17, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      It’s a classic for sure . Agree that once the dosa batter is ready ,we can have it in different forms every day 🙂 Most of us can never get bored of it ! Thank you so much for the comments Nisha!

      • Reply
        Nisha Sharma
        September 17, 2020 at 3:20 pm

        Absolutely, can never get bored of it❤️❤️

  • Reply
    Anita Malta
    September 17, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    I can definitely imagine testing your recipe, very different from what my regular breakfast looks like. 😀 I guess it also fits as lunch as well.

    • Reply
      September 17, 2020 at 1:21 pm

      Yes it’s definitely very filling and can be had as a brunch as well. Hope you enjoy making and having it. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    5 stars
    This is a perfect crispy breakfast, satisfying and that potato filling keeps the flavours going long! Thanks for an amazing perfect dosa making recipe. It’s therapeutic!

    • Reply
      September 18, 2020 at 1:51 am

      So true Hasin very satisfying and filling as well. Glad you liked the recipe shared .The process of making and having Dosa can be indeed therapeutic , guess because it brings back warm memories of family and childhood ! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2020 at 2:59 am

    Crepes filled with potato! It doesn’t get any better than that!

    • Reply
      September 18, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      Yes rightly said Diane , who wouldn’t love crepe filled with potatoes right ! Many Thanks .

  • Reply
    September 18, 2020 at 9:58 am

    I love having dosa with idlis in my breakfast. But I didn’t know how to ferment it. Because I think fermented one is much healthier.

    Thanks for sharing, dear.

    • Reply
      September 18, 2020 at 3:10 pm

      Yes Shikha, fermented one has a very natural taste and is healthy as well. I hope you get to try it some time. My pleasure to share .Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply
    The Karavali Wok
    September 18, 2020 at 11:32 am

    5 stars
    I am drooling over these scrumptious Masala Dosas Nisha! Thank you for the awesome recipe !

    • Reply
      September 18, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Thank you so much dear Smitha, we really do love our dosas isn’t it , especially the home made ones!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    5 stars
    Wonderful explanation and easy to follow steps – the soaking and fermentation of the rice & lentils boosts the nutrition of this recipe! Thanks Nisha! 🌾

    • Reply
      September 18, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      Glad to hear that Anna, yes wonderful to hear that from a dietitian like you on this .The nutrition from soaking and fermentation makes it a wonderful dish as well. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    5 stars
    Oh, YUM, Nisha! This looks and sounds absolutely delicious!! My husband and I enjoy egg wraps, and this kind of reminds me of those? What do you think?

    I love the idea of fermenting in the Instant Pot too. Funny you should mention this – I’ve been meaning to try making homemade yogurt with it. I can see how it would work perfectly for this too. Although, as you say, heat and humidity do the trick!

    I really want to try this recipe. My mouth is watering just reading your description! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this, my sweet friend. I pray you & your family are well! ❤

    • Reply
      September 18, 2020 at 9:36 pm

      Glad to hear you loved this share Holly . We love egg wraps too. The dosa will have a different texture as the crepe is made from batter being fermented from soaked and ground rice and lentil.

      Oh yes! I have been wanting to make yogurt in my instant pot as well and it has been put on the back burner every time 🙂 . I hope you get to try this wonderful dish sometime .Most Indian restaurants here have it in their menu as well. We are all fine .Thank you for stopping by and hope you and your family have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    Aarthi | Prepbowls
    September 19, 2020 at 7:04 am

    I cannot stop eating masala dosas , Always! love to eat idli and dosa . Dosa looks perfectly crispy, Nisha! It is sleeping time, and you made me crave for this. Potato stuffing texture and color is soo good, I am going to eat dosa tomorrow first thing in the morning. Have a great weekend!

    • Reply
      September 19, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      Thank you for such a wonderful comment, I hope you have a satisfying dosa breakfast in the morning ! We really love crispy dosas and the classic potato goes so well with it .Hats off to the person who first invented this recipe . You too have a good weekend my friend.

  • Reply
    Glee Sparkle
    September 20, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Yum Dosa😍

    Don’t forget to Glee and spread Sparkles ✨
    -Nani 💖

  • Reply
    Swarnali Das
    September 20, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    I am making Dosa in our breakfast in an alternate days after lockdown. it is very healthy and tasty also.

    • Reply
      September 20, 2020 at 7:22 pm

      Wonderful to know Swarnali, lockdown has helped many of us to have a leisure breakfast for sure. Indeed it is a healthy and delicious breakfast! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  • Reply
    Dennis Yannakos
    September 21, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    5 stars
    I will definitely make this and eat happily today!

    • Reply
      September 21, 2020 at 6:40 pm

      Wonderful, hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Thank you so much for the wonderful comment!

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