Masala Dosai

I don’t think you will find a single South Indian who will say No to a Masala Dosai. It is not only an all-time favourite, it is also a special treat. Masala dosai is relished for breakfast, lunch, tea, or dinner. It is not very spicy and therefore popular with many tourists as well. South Indian who live abroad make sure to have masala dosai whenever they visit home, and introducing their children to the masala dosai is a special ritual.

Masala Dosai 1 - Kalas Kalai

Masala Dosai

The main ingredient of the masala is potatoes. A classic masala will include potatoes, onions, green chillies, ginger, and curry leaves. If the blob of butter is not added it is classified as sada (ordinary) masala dosai; when the butter is included it is a special masala dosai. This recipe is the special variety. If other ingredients are added such as carrots, beans, or even coriander powder or the North Indian garam masala, it is not considered a proper masala dosai.

I developed this recipe and method to be a low spice masala dosai as I like subtle flavouring and I approve of masking other flavours by making the food very ‘hot’. Though usually masala dosai is served in hotels with chutney and sambar, my version is devoured by my family without any accompaniment because they like to relish the flavour of the masala.

Masala Dosai can never be part of a weight reduction or low fat diet. The starch in the batter and potatoes, and the ghee and butter make it explode with calories – but oh what a satisfying dish it is! No one can eat it without a grin on their face 🙂


For the dosai

  • 2-3 C Dosai Batter
  • 1/3 C Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 T Unsalted Butter

For the masala

  • ½ kg Potatoes
  • 2 large Onions, sliced
  • 4 Green Chillies
  • 3 cm piece Ginger, grated
  • 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ½ tsp Black Gram Dhal
  • ½ tsp Bengal Gram Dhal
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt, or to taste



  1. Boil the potatoes, peel the skin, and chop the potatoes into 3 cm cubes.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick kadai or wok.
  3. Add the mustard seeds. After they splutter add the dhals and wait for 5 seconds.
  4. Add the onions, green chillies, and salt. Fry till the onions are translucent.
  5. Add the cubed potatoes, turmeric powder, and grated ginger. Mix well. Try not to mash the potatoes.
  6. Add the curry leaves. Mix gently and remove from heat.


  1. Heat a thick griddle or dosaikal.
  2. Pour ½ tsp of ghee and spread evenly to cover the surface.
  3. Pour a ladle full of batter – about 1/3 C and spread it in a circular motion to cover the surface of the griddle leaving half an inch from the periphery.
Masala Dosai 2 - Kalas Kalai

Spreading the dosai batter on the griddle

  1. Lower heat. Allow the batter to cook till the edges lift slightly. The heat can be increased to brown the dosai slightly. Do not burn. Lower heat after browning.
  2. Pour another ½ tsp of ghee around the dosai, and dot the ghee on the surface of the dosai also.
Masala Dosai 3 - Kalas Kalai

Dot the dosai with ghee

  1. Place 1/3 to 1/2 C of the masala in the centre of the dosai.
Masala Dosai 4 - Kalas Kalai

Place the masala in the centre of the dosai

  1. Place 1 tsp of butter on the masala.
Masala Dosai 5 - Kalas Kalai

Place butter on the masala

  1. Fold one edge of the dosai on the masala using a dosai turner or fish spoon.
Masala Dosai 6 - Kalas Kalai

Fold one edge of the dosai over the masala

  1. Fold the opposite edge over it. Press gently to keep the dosai folded.
Masala Dosai 7 - Kalas Kalai

Press the masala dosai gently once the masala is wrapped by the dosai

  1. Remove the masala dosai and carefully lower it on a serving plate.
  2. You should be able to get around 6 masala dosais.


  1. Homemade dosai batter: Soak 3 C idly rice and one 1 C black gram dhal separately for 3 hours. Grind to make pour batter. Add 2 tsp salt and mix well. Cover the vessel and allow it to stand for a minimum of 10 hours to get optimum results.
  2. I do not use a non-stick griddle because that doesn’t give very crisp dosais.
  3. From the second dosai onwards, smear only a ¼ tsp of ghee on the griddle as it will have some leftover from the first.
  4. I do not slit the green chillies. I remove them once the masala is done. This will prevent the masala from tasting very hot.
  5. Serve with coconut chutney or sambar if desired.

2 thoughts on “Masala Dosai

  1. I love masala dosa and pretty much all south Indian vegetarian food so thank you very much for this! I have dosa batter that I want to try out but I can never get it to taste quite the same as the restaurant ones.

    • A lot depends on the thickness and freshness of the batter. Please let me know if you make the batter yourself or you buy refrigerated batter from a supermarket. I may be able to help you with the flavour. Bear in mind that the restaurant flavour need not be authentic, and flavour can change depending on the place of origin of the chef!

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