Monday, June 15, 2015

Batter for South Indian Pancakes (Dosa/Idli/Uttapam/Rotte Batter )

Batter for South Indian Pancakes 

(Dosa/Idli/Uttapam/Rotte Batter ) 

When I had posted the recipe for 'Rotte' (A fluffy pancake made crisp on the outside that stays super soft inside ) I had posted the recipe but without any detailed photograph. So when someone from across the world asked me a few questions regarding the batter I remembered my own experience the first time I had made this fermented batter which makes some South Indian dishes of different textures be it the soft fluffy 'Idlis' which are steamed , the crisp pancakes 'Dosa' (I do not know why people refer to them as crepes because they are nothing like the French crepes, at best they can be called pancakes) , Uttapams (Thick pancakes) or 'Rotte' Soft fluffy pancakes with a crisp outside. Well my first experience yielded grainy raw batter in the end which did not ferment properly. After all I am from the east of India but once I understood what to do I have not looked back since gaining my husband's admiration for cooking these dishes like 'any girl from down south' to quote the man who is originally from one of the Southern states of India.

The point is when you have some fermented batter ready in your refrigerator you have little to worry about what to cook. Take for instance today morning. I had a deadline looming over my head and thanks to the batter I had prepared yesterday I quickly made some crisp pancakes 'Dosas' and along with a cup of coffee I was set for the day.

In all from the time of soaking till the time of fermentation it takes about 12 hours to 14 hours and once fermented you can store it in the refrigerator for 3 days at the most. Please note here that since I stay in a tropical country it takes 8 hours to 10 hours for fermentation. For those of you who stay in cold countries you may try fermenting the batter in an oven with the lights on. Just apply the rules you would apply when making bread.

So here goes the recipe which was given to me by my mother-in-law :-

Cups use holds 250ml liquid

1 cup split or whole but husked Urad Pulse or whole husked urad pulse (This pulse is white in colour post husking)
2 cups of parboiled Rice
Roughly 550 ml to 570ml water
2 tsp salt

I have used another recipe in the past which gives very good result as well

In this recipe you use 1:3 Urad pulse : Parboiled Rice

Here is a step by step instruction with photographs for preparing the batter.

Wash the pulse and rice separately and soak them separately for 4 hours to 6 hours.

This is how the pulse looks like
(This is Split Urad Pulse. It is even better if its whole but husked and white in colour)
This is post soaking 

This is how parboiled rice looks like 

Once soaked grind them separately. This part is extremely important since it is your grinding which makes or breaks the batter.

Start with the pulse. Drain it but reserve the water and grind it for 5 minutes and then add 1 tbsp water and grind it for 5 minutes and then add another 80ml water and grind it for 2 minutes.

At the end of which your batter is likely to look like the photograph given below

Keep grinding it till its absolutely fluffy and smooth. In the end it should look like the photograph given below and absolutely smooth to touch.

It still needs more grinding 

You have to stop your mixer grinder and grind it and stop it and grind it to attain this sooth mixture

This is how the pulse batter looks in the end 

Now remove it from the grinder and store it in a deep vessel container

Now comes the part of grinding the rice. This takes more time but be patient.

First drain it , reserve the water and grind it and then add 50ml water and grind it and divide it into 2 portions.

This is how the batter looks like after grinding it with 50ml water

Now add another 150ml water. Add 50ml at a time bit by bit. grind, stop add water , grind till its a soft smooth mixture . It should look like the picture below.

Work with your other half of the rice by adding 200ml of water bit by bit 50ml at a time and grind it to a smooth consistency like the photograph above and then add half the pulse to hald the rice batter and grind for 5 minutes and do it to the other half and then mix it with 2 tsp salt.

Final smooth mixture of rice and pulse 

Now let it ferment for 8 hours to 12 hours or more. In the end the fermented batter looks like the photograph below

Batter post fermentation 

To make the crisp pancakes brush a girdle with oil keeping the heat on low and drop in a ladle spoon of fermented batter in the center wipe the back of the ladle and spread it out in a circular motion and  let it cook on one side for 3 minutes to 4 minutes or till golden and crispy and use a spatula to gently loosen it and brush the surface and flip and cook on low heat for another 2 minutes to 4 minutes and serve with some coconut chutney or tomato chutney.



  1. excellently posted in a pictorial way....thanks very helpful indeed!

  2. We are impressed by your clear description of your topic. Thanks for the information. Keep on writing.

    1. Thank-you Darren. I am glad you found the method informative