Gluten-free Fermented Dosa Crepes & Tomato Chutney

Gluten-free Fermented Dosa Crepes & Tomato Chutney
gluten-free fermented crepes/dosa and tomato chutney

This recipe for rice and lentil dosa is my friend Maryanne's recipe, which is her favourite dish from her hometown Kerala, South India. These crispy lentil-and-rice crepes are served with a homemade chutney.  A dosa batter is a thin crepe-like batter that turns crisp, chewy, and light on the frying pan, with a sourdough-like tang due to the overnight fermentation.

History of the Dosa
This style of fermented crepe has been eaten in the Southern part of India for over 1000 years. The fermentation process also makes dosa easy to digest.

The dosas are served with homemade tomato chutney, a lentil curry or meat curry. We have been experimenting and having them with berries and ice cream, Sue Maree P style!

Prep. Takes = first soak 3-5 hours, blending 5-10 minutes, ferment 8-10 hours
Cooking time = about 5 minutes per dosa
Makes = 16 medium dosa crepes

fermented dosa batter after 8-10 hours

Dosa Batter Ingredients (soak 3-5 hours)

  • Short or dal rice, washed – 1 cup
  • Par-boiled long rice – 1/2 cup
  • Cooked rice (I used basmati as this was already in my fridge) – 1/4 cup
  • Urad dal – 1 cup
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 ts

Tomato Chutney Ingredients

  • Red onion, chopped – 1/2
  • Ginger piece – 1 small
  • Crushed tomatoes 1 can or 4/5 fresh tomatoes chopped
  • Shredded coconut (or desiccated) – 1 /4 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 ts
  • Chilli powder – 1/2 ts

Tempering Spices

  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 ts
  • Dried chilli, whole and broken – 2
  • Red onion, chopped finely – 1/2


  1. You will need two medium-sized bowls. Firstly, wash the urid dal several times and place in a large bowl with about 3-4 cups of water then add 1/4 ts fenugreek seeds and soak covered for 3-8 hours.
  2. In the second bowl, wash both rice types and soak them in water, enough to cover plus a little more. I did this overnight the first time.
  3. Dal: Drain the water from the soaked dal but keep it to one side. Add a little water to the dal and pulse 3-4 times in a Nutribullet or similar until smooth. Add a little more water if needed.  
  4. Rice: Add some cooked rice to the drained soaked rice with a little of the discarded water.  Then blend the rice until smooth.
  5. Now combine both dal and smoothed rice mixture into a large bowl or jug. Rest this at room temperature on the bench for at least 8 hours to almost double in size. If the room is cold preheat the oven to 50 degrees for 30 seconds and rest the batter in the oven. If the room is warm or you live in a warm climate then the batter will double in size quicker.
  6. The following day or after 8-10 hours, add some salt to taste and stir. Spoon the fermented batter into a warm non-stick fry pan  (about 1/4 cup). Using a circular motion starting in the centre smooth the batter flat. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of ghee to the top and cook until brown. Flip onto the other side and cook only for about 1 minute. Remove and fold over to serve immediately. If not batch cook all then gently reheat in the frypan before serving. These will not microwave well.
  7. To Make the Chutney: sauté the onion and ginger until soft, then add spices and cook for a minute, then add in the tomatoes and cook for about 10-15 minutes until very soft. Add the coconut and warm through especially if it is frozen.  Cool completely before blending to a smooth paste.
  8. To Cook the Tempered spices: add a little vegetable oil to a small pan and cook gently add in the finely chopped 1/2 red onion and saute then break over 2 dried chillies and cook for about 5 minutes until brown. Then add the hot spices to the top of the chutney and cover with a plate to infuse the spices. You can gently reheat in the microwave before serving or otherwise serve at room temperature.

Make-Ahead and Storage

The fermented dosa batter will be kept in the refrigerator for 4 days. I am experimenting with freezing a container of batter and I will let you know if this also works.