Karnataka Dosa: A Native Specialty You Should Strive

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Karnataka Dosa

Visitor article by Priyanka Gupta.

Dosa entered my life after I first moved to Bengaluru, Karnataka in 2010. By that point I had eaten dosas at residence in Uttar Pradesh, a state in North India, however I had no thought how dosas tasted in South India — the place they originated. 

Our North Indian model of dosa is a crispy crêpe product of rice and urad dal and crammed with spicy potato mash. We eat it with coconut chutney and tamarind sambhar, a curry that accompanies dosa all through the nation.

What’s a Karnataka Dosa?

triangular masala dosa
Dosa is beloved all through India however is very fashionable within the state of Karnataka.

Referred to as dose in Kannada, the native language spoken within the state of Karnataka, dosa (the anglicized identify) is generally made with a fermented batter of rice and lentils. I had my first dosa in Bangalore at one of many quintessential Shiv Sagars.

This chain of multi-cuisine vegetarian eating places in Bangalore and different Indian cities serves each North Indian and South Indian meals, however their signature dishes are the dosas, idly, and vadas they serve at breakfast time. 

I keep in mind that crispy goodness crunching in my mouth with the smooth coconut chutney. The sambhar I ate a spoonful of after every chew crammed my palette with a medley of many flavors.

Thus started my love for dosas and my everlasting dosa search. Whether or not I used to be in Bangalore, on a visit from Bangalore to Coorg, exploring the Biligiriranga Hills (recognized domestically because the BR Hills) or in another a part of Karnataka, I appeared for the tiniest outlets to eat dosas earlier than beginning my day.

Amongst the myriad of issues to do in Hampi, I first spent hours daily consuming each form of crispy dosa I may discover. The dosas in Hampi are recognized to be the crispiest in all of Karnataka. 

After I returned from a protracted journey in South America, it was not roti curry that I craved, however somewhat dosa.

After having spent nearly six years in complete in Karnataka, I can fortunately say that dosa is part of on a regular basis life for all who’ve been to or stay on this state.

Dosa and Veganism

Masala dosa triangle
Even the milky-looking chutneys served with dosas are normally vegan, as they’re created from coconut milk.

After I first moved to Karnataka, I used to be an omnivore, so my first experiences of dosa have been a mixture of vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices. 

However slowly as I finished consuming most meat, dosas turned my quintessential meals merchandise to search for each time I couldn’t discover something vegetarian or I wanted to really feel at residence. It’s a really dependable vegetarian/vegan possibility in India.

My vegan journey mates who visited from world wide would additionally ask me to take them to a dosa store. They knew that dosa was one Indian dish that could possibly be made with out hurting any animals.

Dosas promote veganism unintentionally. The batter doesn’t include milk, there is no such thing as a want so as to add butter or ghee (although some cooks do), and buttermilk and curd will not be required both. For tips about avoiding ghee in India, see this text.

There are such a lot of totally different sorts of fillings for dosas that it’s straightforward to seek out one which’s totally plant-based. Tonnes of vegetarian curries can accompany dosa, or you possibly can simply eat them with one of many thousand chutneys (sauces) served up in India. 

Dosas are as healthful and as animal pleasant because it will get, and they’re one of many coolest crêpes of the world, fashionable amongst residents of each nation. 

Sorts of Dosas in Karnataka

masala dosa on the road to hampi
Dosas are available in many styles and sizes!

Dosas might be created from many grains, and the grinding and fermentation course of differs from home to deal with. The cooking course of adjustments in each geographical area, each residence and each restaurant.

Additionally, the fillings differ, and the crunchiness or softness of the dosa will depend on the place you might be consuming. Dosas could possibly be skinny or a bit thicker. They could possibly be plain or first smeared with spicy crimson garlic chutney.

With out attempting to pigeonhole dosas into rigid classes, let’s take a look at the assorted ingredient choices and types of dosa which might be accessible in Karnataka. 


Dosas might be made out of virtually any legume that may be soaked and softened and mixed with rice to get an ideal texture. The rice could possibly be sona masuri rice, dosa rice, uncooked rice, parboiled rice or rice flour, however the locals say that the uncooked rice tastes the perfect. 

Listed below are among the essential sorts of grain mixtures used for Karnataka dosas:

1.        Urad dal and rice combine: generally toor dal, chana dal, moong dal, fenugreek seeds, and flattened rice are added to this combination to reinforce the softness, texture, taste, and style

2.        Multigrain dosa — made with a mixture of many grains

3.        Ragi dosa — ragi flour would exchange the dal or can be added in proportions

4.        Wheat dosa — complete wheat flour can be the principle ingredient together with rice

5.        Gram flour (chickpea flour) dosa

6.        Sabudana dosa

7.        Rava dosa — rava is coarsely or finely floor, husked wheat. Rava dosas might be made immediately with no need to ferment the batter first

8.        Millet, oats, quinoa or another grains may also be used to make dosas. 

Grinding Types

The above grains are first soaked after which floor to make the dosa batter. A dosa’s softness and texture will change relying on how the batter is floor. 

Folks in Karnataka say that the perfect, fluffiest dosa — smooth on the within and crispy on the surface — can solely be made with a stone grinder. They declare that machine-ground batter lacks flavour.

Up to now, all Karnataka houses and eating places saved massive stone grinders to make the dosa batter. However since utilizing the grinder is extra labour intensive, and the post-cleaning course of can also be robust, many households (although not so many eating places) are shifting to electrical grinders.

Varieties and Kinds of Dosas in Karnataka

Masala Dosa
Masala dosa is the traditional kind of dosa, however there are numerous different varieties.

Beneath are among the hottest kinds of dosas eaten in Karnataka right this moment. The kind of dosa chosen can rely upon the time of the day, the native weather conditions, and the tradition and consuming habits of the actual household and place. Fillings, accompanying curries, the form, and the softness and thickness adjustments in every of those.

Karnataka Masala Dosa

That is the quintessential dosa that may be discovered at each stall, each Shiv Sagar, and each native Kannadiga or non-Kannadiga restaurant.

Made with the chana dal and rice batter, masala dosa might be crammed with lots of of various fillings. It’s normally eaten with sambhar and coconut chutney and/or crimson chutney. The latter is made with roasted chana dal a.ok.a Bengal gram and with or with out coconut and garlic.

This dosa is a bit smooth on the within however crunchy on the surface and is likely one of the thick dosas.

Mysore Masala Dosa

The principle distinction between Mysore masala dosa and Karnataka masala dosa is that the Mysore model is first basted with a crimson chili garlic chutney earlier than any fillings are put inside. It’s eaten with sambhar and coconut (white) and chana dal (crimson) chutneys. 

Benne Dosa

Originating from the Davangere space of Karnataka, benne dosa is often made with butter (“benne” means butter). Nevertheless, the butter can simply get replaced with oil.

It’s served with potato playa (a easy potato filling) and spicy coconut chutney. This can be a crisp however mild dosa.

Neer Dosa

Neer dosas are eaten with wealthy curries. These dosas, themselves plain and never spiced, are skinny and fluffy. Neer means “water”, so the identify of this dosa interprets to “water dosa”.

Neer dosas are made with floor rice batter with none fermentation. These tremendous smooth dosas are nice for dipping in dal or any vegan curry. They’re normally served with veg sagu or vegetable/potato kurma. Kurma might include cream or yogurt, so examine earlier than dipping in.

Set Dosa

Set dosas are small, spongy dosas which might be smooth and never crunchy. They at all times come as a set of three dosas, as a result of one can be too small to make a full meal. When you’re acquainted with Ethiopian meals, they’re much like injera in look and texture.

Most eating places serve set dosas with a thick vegetable curry, generally known as vegetable sagu. Soaking every chew of the set dosa within the curry is an expertise, because the morsel soaks within the curry and the mix melts within the mouth.

Set dosa
Are you able to see the resemblance between set dosa and injera?

Paper Dosa

Paper dosas might be thick or skinny Karnataka dosas with none filling. The potato filling is typically served on the facet, and the dosa might or is probably not smeared with a spicy garlic powder made with chana dal and urad dal, generally known as podi.

These dosas are eaten with sambhar in addition to coconut and different chutneys. Remember the fact that paper dosas are normally longer (generally for much longer) than different dosas. Some may name paper dosa “large dosa”.

paper dosa hampi
These paper-thin dosas are so lengthy that generally they barely match on the desk!

Open Dosas

The identify says all of it. Open dosas are open like a crêpe that has fallen open so that each one the elements might be seen. Sometimes, if you order an open dosa you’ll be served a crispy dosa loaded with podi and potato stuffing fried in curry leaves.

It’s eaten with chutney and sambhar just like the common masala and paper dosas. Just like Karnataka masala dosa, open dosas are medium-thick and smooth on the within however crunchy on the surface.

Open Dosa
As a substitute of being rolled up like a cigar, open dosas are …effectively…open.

Rava Dosas

Rava dosas are made utilizing rava, also referred to as sooji or semolina, and can be found at each dosa store. These are made immediately with out fermenting the batter and are available crispier than all different kinds of dosas.

Sorts of rava dosa embody onion rava dosa, rava masala dosa and rava plain dosa. They’re eaten with sagu and crimson or white chutney.

Rava Dosa
When you like your dosas crispy, you’ll love rava dosa!

Although all Karnataka dosas include some curries, sagu, korma, sambhar, and/or chutneys, they’re so well-made and flavorful that these dosas may also be eaten plain.

Or in case you’re craving one thing candy, attempt dosa with some sugar or jaggery powder as a singular vegan Indian dessert.

Fillings of Karnataka Dosas

Karnataka is understood for the “99 masala dosa stalls” that function many as 99 totally different forms of dosa. The stall keepers will, in truth, make any form of masala dosa so long as they’ve the filling available.

Listed below are simply among the stuffings which might be utilized in Karnataka:

1.         Pea and mushroom

2.         Potato

3.         Spinach and mushroom

4.         Child corn and mushroom

5.         Combined greens

6.         Noodles (sure, that actually occurs)

7.         Pav bhaji (a well-liked Maharashtrian spicy, mashed vegetable curry loaded with garlic and a particular masala)

8.         Onion

The sky’s the restrict! Choose up any greens and make your individual combine, or ask the dosa maker to combine and match for you.

All of the dosas are cooked on a forged iron pan or flat floor, or in non-stick pans at residence.

Locations to Eat Dosa

Roadside dosa stall
View from inside a roadside dosa stall.

Dosas might be discovered on each road nook in Karnataka. The particular kind of dosa would differ from place to put, however you possibly can’t undergo a village or a road with out discovering dosa.

A number of the hottest and conventional locations to eat dosas in Karnataka are:


Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, extra popularly generally known as MTR, was established in 1924 and is likely one of the oldest and hottest vegetarian eating places in Bangalore. Their places are principally present in Bangalore and in one other metropolis referred to as Udupi.

Shiv Sagar Eating places

These are ubiquitous eating places and inns serving each North Indian and South Indian meals, relying on the time of day. Shiv Sagar eateries are reasonably priced, genuine, and located on each road.

Udupi Eating places

Named after the Udupi delicacies of the city of Udupi in Karnataka, these eating places are additionally simply discovered all through the state. Dosa is alleged to have first originated in Udupi, so you’ve probability of discovering it in Udupi eating places in its most genuine kind.

99 Sorts of Dosa

This chain of roadside dosa stalls has places unfold all through the state and is an effective place to eat Karnataka masala dosa.

Roadside Eating places

Karnataka highways are dotted with massive and small eating places and stalls that serve dosas and different meals. In case you are ever on a street journey in Karnataka, do finances some further time for these roadside stops to eat as many crunchy dosas as you possibly can.

Different Eating places

Many different Kannadiga or non-Kannadiga eating places will make their specific variations of dosas. You’ve gotten a greater probability of discovering dosa at Kannadiga locations than non-Kannadiga ones, and the standard is more likely to be higher too.

Wherever you eat in Karnataka, you should definitely ask if the dosas or the curries and chutneys include any butter, ghee, yoghurt or cheese. The vegan motion in India continues to be younger, so not all restaurant employees are acquainted with the idea. 

However in case you say you’re vegetarian after which checklist all of the dairy merchandise you don’t eat, they’ll be completely satisfied to level out the vegan choices accessible.

Have you ever had dosa earlier than? Which selection do you’re keen on? Please tell us within the feedback.

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