Dosa : the food everyone loves

Dosas are a common dish in South Indian cuisine, but have become popular all over the Indian subcontinent in recent times. Traditionally, dosas are served hot along with chutney and in recent times sambar. Other accompaniments include chutney powder (a fine groundnut and lentil powder).

The origins of Dosa have been widely discussed in literature and books. A few of them are listed below:

  • A reference to Dosa occurs in the Tamil Sangam Literature from around 6th century AD.Edward Farnworth mentions the first reference to Dosa in Tamil Sangam literature in the sixth century A.D.
  • The Sanskrit classic Manasollasa written in 1051 AD by Western Chalukya king Somesvara III describes Dosai.
  • Modern writers have conflicting views on the origin of Dosa. The English food writer Pat Chapman and Lisa Rayner as well as Indian writer Thangappan Nair state in their works that Dosa originated in Udupi, Karnataka.

It is a common breakfast dish, and street food.The dosa is rich in carbohydrates, contains no salt, sugar or saturated fats and its constituent ingredients of rice and lentils mean that it is glutton-free and contains protein.The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.There are also instant mix products for making dosa, with somewhat lower nutritional benefits.

Rice is ground finely to form a batter. Rice can be uncooked or parboiled. The mixture of urad dal (black lentils) and rice can be replaced with highly refined wheat flour to make a maida dosa or semolina for a rava dosa.

A thin layer of the batter is then ladled onto a hot tava (griddle) greased with oil or ghee (clarified butter). It is spread out evenly with the base of a ladle or bowl to form a pancake. It is flipped to heat both crusts and removed from the griddle when the crust becomes dry. Dosa are served hot, either folded in half or rolled like a wrap.

The types of Dosas can vary according to the regions and palletes bt here are somemost preffered variations

*Masala dosa (Spiced potatoes tucked inside the dosa with red chutney smeared over the dosa.)
*Oats dosa (Healthy, crisp and lacy instant dosa made with oats.)
*Set dosa (Very spongy, soft and light, served in a set of 3 dosa per serving.)
*Plain dosa (Dosa served with only chutney and sambar and no filling.)
*Paneer dosa (Spiced paneer filling inside the dosa.)
*Palak dosa (Layered with palak (spinach) paste inside the folds of dosa.)
*Mini soya dosa (Soya milk and wheat flour)
*Pesarattu (Green dosa) (green gram)
*Light white dosa (Rice and coconut)
*Kadapa kara dosa (Rice flour fermented overnight and mixed with sodium carbonate. The topping is a mixture of onion and chili paste (called yerra kara) and a chutney made with tomato and flour made in a gravy of curd. It is also occasionally topped with fried gram powder.)
*Mysore masala dosa (Rice, black gram, fenugreek seeds)
*Onion rava dosa (Semolina, rice flour)
*Ragi wheat dosa (Ragi, whole wheat flour)
*Rava dosa (Rava or sooji (semolina))
*Benne dose (Butter (‘benne’ in Kannada))
*Predominantly famous as “Davanagere benne dose” associated with Davanagere district in Karnataka.
*Buttermilk dosa (Semolina, maida, buttermilk)
*Jaggery dosa (Rice flour, maida, grated coconut, jaggery)
*Garlic cheese Dosa (Plain Dosa with thinly chopped garlic,coriander and grated cheese as a filling)
*Neer dosa (Watery rice batter)
*Vodu dose or Kappa roti (Rice, fenugreek seeds, grated coconut, thinly flattened rice and sometimes leftover cooked rice is also added.
it is non fermented type of dosa. It is cooked on a earthen pan that has a rounded bottom. It is fluffy and appears like a bread. It is cooked without the use of oil.)
*Amboli, ghavan, dhirde In coastal parts of Maharashtra, variations known as amboli, ghavan and dhirde (or dhirade) exist. Amboli and ghavan (like dosa) are thin rice crêpes prepared with fermented batter, while dhirde is prepared with unfermented batter.

  • Roast: the dosa is spread thinly and fried until crisp.
  • Kerala dosa: a different kind of traditional dosa, that is small, thick, soft and spongy. It is more like a pancake and somewhat similar to appam, but dal is used in the batter for appams and appams are not flat.
  • Family roast: a long dosa which can be spread over 2 or 3 feet.
  • Paper dosa: a long and very thin delicate dosa which can be spread over 2 feet.
  • Green dosa: stuffed with fresh vegetables and mint chutney.
  • Chow-chow dosa: stuffed with (Indian flavored) Chinese noodles.
  • Masala dosa: stuffed with spiced potatoes.
  • Methi dosa: flavoured with fenugreek.
  • Chilli dosa: spread with chilli powder.
  • Open dosa: chutney powder is spread on it while cooking. Before serving spiced & mashed potato is placed on top.
  • Onion dosa: spread with chopped and sautéed onions.

Dosa can be stuffed with fillings of vegetables and sauces to make a quick meal. They are typically served with a vegetarian side dish which varies according to regional and personal preferences. Common side items are:

  • Sambar.
  • Wet chutney: examples include coconut chutney (a semi-solid paste made up of coconut, dal (lentils), green chilli and mint or coriander)
  • Chutney Powder : a powder of spices and desiccated coconut.
  • Indian pickles.
  • Chilli Spice Powder: fried dry chillies, dal, asafoetida i.e., hing, salt. All the ingredients are put together and ground coarsely.
  • Curd: (meaning Yogurt in Indian English) with chilli powder topping.
  • Sugar: Children are often given dosa with sugar instead of curries, which may be too spicy for them.
  • Ghee: Everyone likes a dosa with some generous amounts of ghee.

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