Just one dosa, please!

How many kinds of dosas do you reckon there are? No, not the various kinds of masala dosas, but the actual varieties of dosas. Ok so you know uthappam, ravadosa, and the now popular ‘set dosa’ too. These are but the tip of the dosaberg, so to say. If you were to dig deeper…..well, ginte reh jaaoge, there are those many kinds of dosas made in the different regions of the south.

Today I am going to tell you about the tavaladosa, thathad almost given my sister a heart attack and has since become family lore. This dosa was traditionally made in a tavalai, a bell metal utensil used for filling water and hence the name. Many Vishnu temples in the south have this as prasad even today.

Now to the story: It had all begun when mother asked my sister how many dosas she wanted in her lunch box.

‘Just one dosa please,’ she replied since she didn’t much like dosas. When mother kept insisting that see the dosa first, she went in reluctantly….and screamed for it was no ordinary dosa, but an enormous one measuring at least 10” in diameter and 2” thick!

Thavaladosa Traditional Recipe

I am sharing the traditional recipe here. It might not be possible to make huge dosas, but even when scaled down, they taste divine.

Soak and grind:

Raw rice  -1 cup

toor dal     -1/4  cup

urad dal    -1 ½ tsp

Pepper     – ½ tsp

Jeera   – ½ tsp

Salt to taste

For tempering:

Mustard        -½ tsp

Urad dal       -½ tsp

Chana dal -½ tsp

Ginger          – 1 inch piece, chopped.

Dried red chilly – 1 (broken into 2-3 pieces)

Curry leaves       – a few

Asafetida (hing)    – A large pinch

Oil for tempering and for the dosa.


Grind the soaked items coarsely (like rawa) and leave to ferment overnight. The consistency should be thick and not runny. Before making the dosa, make a tempering of all items given in the list for tempering and add to the batter. Give it a good stir.

Tip: You can also make this without fermenting, if you add a cup of sour curd to the batter.

Use a concave cast iron dosa tawa (if you have one), or a heavy bottomed aluminum kadhai or pressure pan. Non-stick utensils are useless for this one.

Heat 2-3 tsp of oil in the kadhai and swish it around to coat the surface. Depending upon the size of your utensil you can make one/two or several dosas with the batter. Don’t spread the batter as the dosa needs to be thick. Cook covered with a lid at the lowest heat and wait…..The longer the wait, the crisper the dosa.

Thavaladosa Traditional Recipe

When the edges are brown and crisp, and the top looks half-cooked, flip over and cook the other side adding a little oil to the sides. Don’t cover the pan when you cook the second side. Insert a fork and if it comes out clean, it is done. Cut into wedges and serve. It can be eaten by itself, but if you like, you can serve it with coconut chutney, milagai podi or just some curd.

Do try and tell me how you liked it.

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