Masala Dosa Take I


Just like the gluten-free samosa, I’m struggling with making dosa.

It’s hard to accept that I learned how to make both of these dishes in India, but can’t seem to replicate the process in my own kitchen no matter how hard I try.

First error in all this dosa making attempting was trying to make my own lentil flour. Sure, it’s good in theory… if you soak them and have a proper grinder.

Not so good when you’re relying on your coffee grinder to do the job.

Second error was thinking green lentils would yield a white (classic) dosa. Seriously? Where was my head at when I made this assumption?

Third error (that I keep reliving over, and over, and over again…) making the potato mixture before I try out the dough.

One more lunch of unused masala potatoes and samosa filling and I think I’ll turn into a potato.

That’s not a bad thing though… right?

This is how the dough should look,

how it should be spread across the pan,

how it’s rolled,


and consumed…

Maybe if I just look at these pictures over and over it’ll give me the power I need to get ‘er done?

Is there a recipe or task in your life currently that you can’t seem to master?

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  1. Funny…I’ve never had a problem making dosa. And trust me, I am a VERY unexperienced Indian food cooker (and eater)!

    I just soak red lentils and brown basmati rice overnight, then drain and rinse in the morning. Blend them up in your blender with enough water to achieve a pancake batter consistency, then leave the batter to ferment on your counter until dinnertime. At that point, add any seasonings you want and cook the dosa in a hot, well-oiled cast iron skillet. Easy peasy! I’m a huge fan of masala potatoes as a filling, topped with a little whole-milk yogurt and some cilantro! Mmmm, now I’m drooling…

    • Thanks for the step by step, Vanessa. I’ll try it that way tomorrow!

  2. I’ve only have dosa once but it was phenomenal. Looks like maybe you need higher temps and a better greased surface? Hard to say. I hope you figure it out because I’d love to know how to make it.

    And I can’t master french macarons for the life of me.

  3. I have never had dosa, let alone any other Indian food (I know, so sad), but this dosa stuff you’ve been talking about sounds and looks amazing! Lol, I will happily come over and eat your “fails” and leftover potatoes ;) What can’t I seem to master right now? Making time to actually do some creating in the kitchen. That’s my mission for the day :) Have a wonderful weekend Leanne!

  4. You’ll get it. I have no doubt.

    I’ve yet to get a decent gluten-free, vegan cupcake that doesn’t sink in the middle when it’s done. I think it’s because cupcakes KNOW I don’t like them. The missing ingredient has got to be love. :)

    • haha isn’t that the way of it. Sometimes I find that’s what’s missing when I’m rushing through a recipe and it doesn’t turn out right. Good luck with your cupcake adventures, Deanna!

  5. Well the dosa may not have worked but I’m LOVING your new site redesign!!! WOW, Leanna! Gorgeous! I’m sure you DIY, too. So impressed! Great header, great page tabs and recent recipes at the top scrollbar, all the new boxes on the sidebar; great job. Wow! You’re hired :)

  6. I haven’t eaten Indian Food much either, but now I’m quite curious and desiring to make or attempt some dishes. Don’t fret, your “attempts” are tempting everyone’s taste buds. I know you will get it right and when you do, what a happy victory you will have. As my kiddies tv shows say: “keep trying, keep trying, don’t give up, never give up”…lol!

  7. If it makes you feel any better, my Indian mother-in-law always has trouble making dosas when she comes here to the US and she’s been making dosas for a long time. Part of her problem is the electric stovetop isn’t as forgiving as her gas one so getting the correct temperature for frying is hard. The second is that even in the summer here (if we are having a mild summer), she has trouble getting the fermentation going. She discovered that if she put the mix into an oven that has been just warmed, and then leave it there overnight, that was the best method. I don’t know if either of those will help you, but I thought I’d share.

  8. you will get there, I know.

    in cooking, the vegan French macaron still sort of eludes me. I can get it to look okay, about half the time. I have created many versions.

    outside of cooking, I am learning code. just because. and my brain must be stuffed so full right now that I cannot seem to retain much. but it is fun when I actually do something and it works!

  9. Love the new logo!! FAB! And i adore Masala Dosa – staying in Lil India in SG. =)

  10. Wow, thanks for introducing me to the dosa, I can’t wait to try one. I checked out Holy Cow! Vegan. ( and sure enough, she’s got tons of dosa recipes and tips.
    Classic Dosas (Rice-and-lentil crepes)
    Crispy Dosa
    Coriander Adai
    Moong Dal Dosa
    Brown Rice Dosa
    Jaggery Dosa

    • What? AH! I’ll look into it. Thanks for the heads up.

  11. I wonder what you need to make your own flour… I’d love to make my own chickpea flour, I go through it like there’s no tomorrow. The dosa looks awesome. I hope you manage it someday!

    No matter how many times I try, I absolutely cannot manage making gnocchi. I fail every time. No matter what I use, no matter how careful I am with the measuring, with the mixing. They fail every time.

    • You may look into the Blendtec blender – it can do dry grinding from beans. Or, at least it’s manufacturers and promoters say it can. I’m still saving up the cash for one!

  12. Umm Yeah, your potato masala looks absolutely AMAZING- could you PLEASE do a post on that?

    • I think I might have to just share the potato masala recipe and give up on the dosa for now. Stay tuned!!

      • So looking forward to it! I made dosas only a few times before and they turned out the same way that your’s did, my thoughts were that the pan wasn’t hot enough when I added the batter, but I’m not sure. Anyways you’ll get it, don’t give up!

  13. I just found a link that may help you with your dosas-
    She lists some do’s and don’ts which might be helpful

    • I love the do’s and don’ts thank you very much, Becky!

      • You’re very welcome, good luck! I am going to try to make some tomorrow, I’ll let you know how it goes:)

  14. Hi Leanne,
    I love your website, which I found when googling how to make flax milk (now how is it I never thought of this until I saw that Whole Foods is selling it???) So, first of all, congratulations on your beautiful website and great SEO. I am also a holistic nutritionist (I see we have a lot in common!) and have to get some SEO for my own site.
    In regard to the dosa issue, I had the same problem as you. I have made great idlis though, both from scratch and from a box mix which I purchased at a local Indian grocer. The box doesn’t ferment as its made with baking soda but it’s great to have a fast (GF-type of bisquit) and it goes great with sambar. Maybe you also had this in India? I find the idlis very easy to make. I don’t even have the correct mold but have made them in little custard cups and am sure you could use muffin tins also.
    Thanks for your good work in the health and wellness world.

    In health,


    • Hi Maxime, thanks for stopping in and saying hello. I ate many idlis in India and love your idea of making them in custard cups, brilliant! I never would have thought to make flax milk either had I not seen it on the shelf and purchased a pack just to see what it was like. As with anything, I know it’d be much better if I just made my own, so off I went! Hope you had a fabulous weekend :)

  15. Oh by the way, if a person is going to use the oven, even with just pilot light on, to ferment, beware that overnight can be too long and result in a massive overflow. At least you could put a cookie sheet under your crock or bowl in the oven to prevent a big mess from overspillage.

  16. Leanne,
    did you get the dosa making figured out? It takes a lot of trial and error. I’d be happy to help… I think I see one or two smallish mistakes which I used to make which make a huge difference in the results. A properly seasoned pan, + timing and temperature make significant differences!

  17. Hi Leanne… you have a gorgeous blog… After reading this article, I had to comment… The pan for making the dosa should be well-seasoned (rubbing the surface of the pan with a greased onion half before making each dosa helps)… but to make things easier, start off with a non-stick pan… get a hang of the dosa batter spreading and the speed needed to do it… if the temp is too high, the dosa batter will not spread and hence a splash of a tbsp of water into the pan before pouring the batter will help to bring down the temp. And then you need to work quickly to pour the batter and then spread it (make sure you hear a slight sizzle when u spread the batter, if not, then u poured too much water)

    • Greased onion, I love that idea! We used half a coconut in India, but onion sounds a lot less extravagant for Canada. Thanks for the tips on the water, I think the pan being too hot has been another one of my issues. Thanks again, Sarah :)

      • Hi Leanne,
        Sarah said it very well.The pictures you had put out on tells me clearly that that dose has rice in it– regular long grain rice( basmati is fine too—but long grain rice is best) . Also the ratio of lentil to rice is
        1 cup lentils to 4 cups rice and add abt 3/4 of a tsp .of Fenugreek seeds which helps with the texture and taste of dosa. soak them all together over nite. Drain the mixture but save the water to help with the grinding/blending process. I use my faithful vitamix blender for this. blend to a very smooth paste. satin smooth. it is done when you drop a little bit of the batter in a bowl of water and it floats to the top immediately. transfer the batter to a large bowl so that it can rise without spilling over with a cookie sheet under it for good measure and out it into an oven with the pilot light on over nite. Once it rises even a little bit, its done and then you should add salt to taste and mix really well and store in refrigerator if not using right away. When u are ready to make doses, take the batter out and let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes before you start making them. I get a cast iron well greased pan really hot until there is a very slight sizzle and you start seeing a tiny wisp of smoke. then take a ladle flu or two put it on pan and gently but swiftly start rotating your arm until the pancake is spread into a circle. I then drop a few drops of grape seed oil around it( or use nonstick pan—u won’t need the oil) and cover it for a minute or so. Then I use a spatula to lift and fold or roll it up or even flip it to the other side. I generally use Mung Beans–( dried) it is called Mung Dal in Indian Grocery stores only these days to avoid the rice. You can add cooked quinoa, finely chopped onions and green chillies, spinach or cilantro, ginger to the batter
        and make little pancakes with them. you can add 1 to 2 tbsps semolina flour to make them crispier.
        I usually have them with my very own gunpowder mix with some evoo!! ( a blended powder of red chillies, red and bengal gram lentils, curry leaves, sugar, salt, asafoetida and sesame seeds). Hope this helps.

  18. The effort must be appreciated! I prepare a variety of dosas. Will share a few easy recipes with you. :-)
    I’m glad that I stumbled up on your website; it’s beautiful.

    • Thank you, Asha! I honestly haven’t tried since. I leave it up to the pros and just go out to a restaurant to have one when the craving strikes!

  19. Okay I’m sold. Gathering up all the ingredients this week and thanks for all these helpful hints. My kitchen is so tiny I have no room for error (though I keep making them!). :)

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