Dosa is one of the most famous and cherished food item of south India. It is the most common breakfast in this part of India. It is prepared from rice batter and black lentils. Dosa is the staple food of all the four south Indian states i.e. Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerela. The dish is also famous in almost all the north Indian states and is widely cherished in countries like Singapore and Srilanka. Dosa has been a part of the south Indian cuisine since very ancient times and as per the reference in the ancient Tamil literature, Dosa was known to the Tamils in early as the 1st century. Although the main recipe of dosa is same throughout, slight variations in the preparation techniques results in a new variety of dosa with different taste and flavour. Here we discuss about the top 10 varities of dosa.
1. Masala Dosa
This probably is the most common and famous form of dosa of these times. The masala dosa is made by stuffing a dosa with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices. The dosa is wrapped around an onion and potato curry or vegetables and is originally invented by Udupi Hotels. It has been listed as number 49 on World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011. It is also cited as top ten tasty foods of the world (2012). Before it was invented, the common practice was plain dosa was served with potato curry (liquefied mashed potato) without onions in a separate cup. During a shortage of potatoes, a method was created in which potato was mashed and sautéed with onions with other spices. This was then placed inside the dosa instead of in a separate cup to hide the onions, which are not eaten by orthodox Hindus and Jains. This came to be known as masala dosa, from the sautéing of spices (masala) during the preparation of the potato palya.
It is also a dosa like preparation (which can be brought under the big basket of dosa) which is very famous in the states of Kerela and Tamilnadu. It is the staple food (and cultural synonym) for Nasranis of Kerela. The dish has an old history and finds its reference in the old sangam literature. It is made with made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. There are many variations of appam that is found like Plain hoppers (Vella Appam), Kallappam, Egg hoppers, Milk hoppers (Palappam), Honey hoppers, String hopper (Noolputtu), Pesaha appam, Neyyapam and Vattayappam etc.
3. Benne dosa
This dosa variety finds its origin in the city of Devangre of Karnataka. This literally translates to butter dosa and is prepared by adding butter to the rice batter. To increase the flavour and fragrance of the dish, liberal amounts of butter is sprinkled on it. The benne dosa is similar to set dosa but is smaller in size. There are many variants of Benne dosa like Benne khali dosa, Benne open dosa, Benne masala dosa.
4. Kal Dosa
This is another form of dosa which is a common breakfast item in the state of Tamilnadu. The major differentiating factor for this form of dosa is the use of parboiled rice. The ingredients for this form of dosa are parboiled rice, raw rice, black lentils, fenugreek seeds and vegetable oil. The preparation requires proper fermentation (Khamir formation) of the batter and hence its preparation takes around 15-16 hours of time. Kal dosa is usually served with chatni and sambhar.
5. Uppu Huli Dose
This is another common and famous dosa form which is has its origin in the state of Karnataka. It is a very popular breakfast dish in Mangalore and Udupi of Karnataka. It is made by adding Uppu (salt in Kannada) and Huli (the taste of tamarind in Kannada) to the batter. It requires no accompaniment of Chutney or Samba
6. Neer Dosa
The word “Neer” means water and therefore the name translates to water dosa. This form of dosa is most common in the Tulu nadu region of Karanataka. The preparation of the batter for Neer Dosa does not require fermentation and hence this batter can be prepared in much lesser time. The Dosa os served hot with chutteny, sambhar, jaggry or chicken or fish curries.
Although commonly known by a different name, the famous food variety is a form of dosa. Utthapam has been known in Tamil region since as early as the 1st century AD (source T.K. Acharya book “The story of our food”). To prepare the batter for Utthapam, the ingredients used are urad dal (balck lentil) and rice, which a mixed in a ratio of 1:3.
Unlike the normal varieties of dosa, Utthapam is very thick and usually has toppings of onion, chilly etc. The outer surface of this food item is crisp while the inner portion soft. This perhaps is the reason that Utthapam is also sometimes called in Indian pizza. The Utthapam is usually served with sambhar and coconut chutney.
8. Rava Dosa
Rava Dosa is different from the regular dosa varieties in since the main ingredient for this dosa form is Rava or semolina. This is one of the most famous dosa varieties and is specially appreciated because unlike ordinary dosa (and other common varieties of dosas) it does not take much time to be prepared as its batter is not necessarily needed to be fermented before preparing the dosa (although if semolina is fermented before preparing the dosa, the dish tastes better). Another major difference is that it is prepared by pouring in a pan and not the ladle. It is generally served with coconut chutney
9. Paper Dosa
This is a very thin (paper thin and hence the name) form of dosa and is usually prepared without any fillings. Paper dosa prepared with the fillings (or Masala) is another form of Paper dosa which is called the Paper Masaala dosa. It is prepared by rice and black lentil batter which has been properly fermented (for Khameer formation), which is poured over a hot tawa and then spreading the batter in a circular manner and cooking in a medium heat. The dosa is usually served with coconut chutney or sambhar.
10. Podi Dosa
As the name suggests this Dosa contains sprinkled podi over it. The dosa usually does not contain any fillings. To prepare it, the dosa batter is poured over a hot tawa and is spread in circular motion outwards. A layer of Podi is then sprinkled over the dosa and it is cooked for a few more minutes in medium heat. This variety of dosa is especially famous in the state of Tamilnadu.