Set dosa from karnataka

Dosa is such an interesting dish , so many varieties to make. Some like their dosas to be soft and spongy, not very thin and crispy, something that is like a meal and very filling. The answer is Set Dosa from Karnataka. a famous  preparation and features at the top of the list in most eateries in Bangalore. People ask for it without glancing at the menu as it is a staple from generations.

Though Set dosa appears like Uthappam , it is not the same , as the bater for set dosa is little different.
Uthappam is made using the sour dosa batter , where as we grind separately for set dosas.

The name set dosa is explanatory, served in set of three identical rounds of thick soft dosas , alongside Saagu a very delicious , tad spicy gravy loaded with some vegetables and a fragrant concoction of masalas ground with coconut . Coconut chutney is also served but the perfect pair is Set dosa with Saagu.

Having spent many years in Bangalore and lived in Karnataka, I have become very attached to this kind of thick soft dosa and prepare it like brunch menu. A set dosa is so filling, you will not be able to eat anything else for hours.

Therefore a very nutritious dish for all age groups, as Dosa,  is rich in carbohydrates, and contains no sugar or saturated fats. As its constituent ingredients are rice and Urad Dal, it is gluten-free and becomes a complete protein. The fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content.

No wonder people prefer to have dosas as a breakfast food.


1 1/2 cups Idli rice
2 1/2 cups normal rice
1 cup Udad dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds /methi
1/2 cup poha soaked in fresh yogurt.
A pinch of sugar
Salt  for batter.

( you can choose any convenient size of cup, as a glass, small steel cup or tumbler, but use the same cup to measure remaining ingredients  )


Wash  the dal and  rice well, soak in clean water.

Soak the rice and dal seperately. For minimum 5 hours.
Soak the poha seperately in yogurt /buttermilk.

Soak the udad dal and methi seeds together.

After 5 hours grind the udad dal and methi to a smooth batter.Dont add too much water while grinding.Keep aside.

Next grind the rice , also to a smooth batter.Adding little water to enable easy grinding.

At the last stage of finishing grinding the rice, add the poha soaked in buttermilk, which would have swollen after absorbing buttermilk, grind well now and the batter will become thick at this stage.

Remove the batter and now mix both batters well,add sugar also.. from top to bottom using a big ladle or spatula, at this stage also dont add much water,it should be thick.

Leave to ferment on the kitchen counter or any place where you normally leave batter to ferment overnight.Choose a big vessel to allow fermented batter to rise without spilling.

Set dosa batter normally ferments quickly especially in these hot humid months, so you need to ferment just sufficiently or else the batter will turn sour.

It is a good idea to check on the batter very early in the morning, and if it has risen sufficiently, quickly keep in the fridge as it will continue to ferment slowly.

By the time you prepare the breakfast or for late afternoon tiffin, you will get perfect fluffy spongy set dosas.
When the batter has fermented well, add little water if it appears very thick, then take a ladle and mix the batter gently but well, not vigorously, as we will lose the aeration. 

we need to mix after fermentation to allow the top fluffy fermented batter to mix uniformly with the thick batter below as we do for idlis.

The consistency of batter will be slightly thinner than Idli batter.

To prepare the dosa, keep the griddle /tava  to heat well, then take a ladle full of batter and pour slowly , without making the swirls as we normally do for regular dosas, the batter must fall thick and quickly, but not runny either.

As soon as the batter has fallen on the hot tava, you will see it spreading all around by itself, just like pancakes,  bubbles appearing slowly , keep the flame on a low or very medium as the dosa gets browned very quickly, as soon as the top has got bubbles or holes, you may also close the dosa with a lid to enable quick cooking and forming more pore.. 

Closing the dosa with a lid also helps keep the set dosa, soft and moist.
Not necessary though. 

Then check the dosa after removing the lid will appear soft, porous, flip only if necessary., flip over for a quick cooking, allow a little more medium flame now. Use oil as we would normally for regular dosas.

Set dosa is ready. Usually they appear uniform in perfect circles as it is not swirled or spread with a ladle, so they stack them together and serve.

Here I used brown raw rice along with idli rice. ( I had run out of normal white raw rice )  so it gives my set dosas slightly brown tinge.

Batter after fermentation, must be just risen above ..not over fermented.

Batter will be foamy like, appearing thick but not too much. You should be able to drop the batter on the hot griddle quickly.

Checking the consistency.

Just drop a ladle full of batter on the hot griddle, and dont expect immediately there will be holes or porous, will take some time.! Some pores will appear on the outer side first.

Soon you will get many such pores, so the batter is perfect! As the pores appear, it also gets cooked.

You can cover with a lid to keep the dosa moist and cook well. Steaming helps to get a softer dosa.

Usually set dosa is not flipped over and removed after taking off the lid, you will get a white looking porous dosa. Like this pic.

But I like to cover and flip for few seconds to cook on other side .

Set dosas look like thick pancakes.

You can see  the colour of the underside , very rich brown col due to use of poha and methi in the batter. 

Piles of set dosas!

 Usually stacked and served.


1. After taking off from the hot tava, keep on a seperate plate, and dont stack hot dosas one over other, as they will stick, let each dosa cool down, then stack.

2. If some members in the family do not like this kind of set dosa, as some prefer thin dosas, dont fear, the same batter is good enough for a regular thin dosa too, it will remain crispy for some time , then become very soft. But taste is good .