Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thosai - தோசை


In India, this thin pancake made of rice and black gram flour is referred to as dosa. 'Thosai' is the Jaffna Tamil vernacular for it. It is commonly a breakfast dish but is often eaten as part of an evening meal as well. While gingelly oil is traditionally used to coat the skillet to fry the thosai, ghee is also used, though frowned upon by nutrition-conscious cooks.


1/2 cup parboiled rice (white)
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 cup black gram (urad dal), split and skinned
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
tsp salt


1. Mix the two types of rice together and soak for at least 4 hours.
2. Soak black gram and fenugreek seeds, for at least 4 hours.
3. Grind all together till fine.
4. Allow to ferment overnight (or over a heater in cool temperatures)
5. Add salt. Stir thoroughly. Add water as required to make consistency right for frying on a skillet.
6. Heat a skillet or a non-stick pan. Grease with the gingelly oil or ghee.
7. Use a ladle to pour mixture onto the heated skillet or pan and spread with the ladle to form a circular pancake.
8. When bubbles form, flip it on to the other side to cook the thosai evenly.
9. Remove and serve hot.
10. Grease pan lightly again before making the next thosai.


Ghee Thosai: After the thosai has been spread on the skillet, dribble ghee round the edges and a little all over the thosai, before turning it over. This forms a crisper, richer Ghee Thosai (called a 'Ghee Murugal").

Egg Thosai: An egg can be broken on to the thosai directly. Allow to firm and flip half the thosai on to the other half (omelette style).

Masala Dosa - Masala Thosai


Rice flour dosa mixture (as above)
Spicy dry potato curry:
4 potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
1 dessertspoon oil
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
6-8 curry leaves cut fine I green chilli, chopped
1 dessertspoon curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
*A combination of chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin seed powder and turmeric. Can be bought in most groceries.


1. Heat oil in a pan. Add fenugreek seeds.
2. As soon as they turn golden add the chopped onion, curry leaves and green chilli. Cook till soft.
3. Add cubed potatoes, curry powder and salt.
4. Add water and mix thoroughly. Cook for about two minutes, turning constantly to prevent burning.
5. Remove and allow to cool a little.
6. Heat a skillet and make a thosai. When one side is cooked, place 2 dessertspoons of potato curry across the centre of the thosai. Fold the two sides of the thosai over the curry along the center.
7. Dish on to a plate and serve hot.

Semolina Dosa - Ravai Thosai


1 cup long grain rice, soaked and ground fine
1 cup plain flour (wheat)
1 cup semolina
2 cups buttermilk or
2 cups thin coconut milk (I cup water mixed with 1 cup thick coconut milk)
I tsp salt
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds 1/2 tsp chopped ginger
6-8 curry leaves, chopped fine
5 green chillies, sliced fine
1 onion, chopped


1. Mix ground rice, plain flour and semolina.
2. Add buttermilk (or coconut milk) and salt.
3. Leave to ferment for about an hour.
4. Heat oil and temper mustard seeds, ginger and curry leaves.
5. Add to the batter.
6. Add chopped green chillies and onion and water if necessary. The mixture should be thin enough to form a light pancake.
7. Heat a skillet. Stir the batter and make the thosai on the heated skillet.
8. When cooked fold in two and remove from skillet.

Wholemeal Flour Dosa - Aatamaa Thosai

2 cups wholemeal flour (aata/wheat flour) or 2 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
21/4 cups water


1. Mix all ingredients together. Leave to ferment for about half an hour.
2. Make the thosai on a greased, heated griddle. Perforate lightly with the edge of the spoon.
3. Dribble a little ghee on the thosai. Flip over to cook on the other side.
4. Remove when well cooked.


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