Coconut Dosa | South Indian Coconut Flatbread

Coconut Dosa

The making of dosa. A journey in itself.

Browse other Dosa recipes here, and other Indian Recipes here and here. Be inspired by our Autumn recipes here.

Broken Hearted

There must be a lakh of dosa variations. At its simplest and most traditional, it is a naturally fermented rice-based batter that is cooked on a flat pan and eaten like a flatbread with wet spicy dishes and spicy chutneys.

Today, not all dosa (thosai) are fermented. But I love the process of making fermented ones. One evening you take some rice and lentils and soak them overnight. The next morning after rinsing, you grind them to a paste, adding water to make a batter. You leave this batter for 12 or 18 or 24 hours until it is fermenting nicely.

Then you make the dosa in a very special way. Add a ladleful of batter to a heated pan. Using that flat-bottomed ladle, start in the middle, and using a circular motion, ease the batter out to form a thin, flatbread. This process is the most wonderful way to cook.

Cook until slightly browned and flip (or not, according to the recipe) and repeat on the reverse side.  You now have 1 dosa, at least 24 hours in the making. Serve with curries of your choice (in the West) or the traditional dosa accompaniments of your region (in India and throughout SE Asia).

Autumn Onions

notes on the recipe

First let me say that I am not an expert dosa cook. I love dosa and luckily I have an Indian restaurant close-by that does the best dosa in Adelaide. But dosa making is an art.

This dosa is a simple one but ultimately delicious. If you don’t have access to fresh coconuts, use good, frozen, shredded coconut meat available in any Indian grocery. Also check your supermarket if it stocks a range of foods for Asian, Indian and/or Island (Fiji, Philippines etc) cuisines.

While the original recipe does not call for fermentation — you can cook these immediately after grinding — I find that allowing the batter to sit for 8 hours or so will improve the flavours.

If you are making dosa for the first time, be prepared to throw several attempts away. It happens, even to experienced dosa makers. Be careful of the pan that you use. Traditionally it is a heavy, flat-ish tawa or round pan without edges, capable of sitting directly over a fire. These days, non-stick pans are recommended. You will find both at your Indian grocer.

I began by using a non-stick pan, and it certainly is easy to make dosa this way. But I have shifted to the tawa, now that it is properly seasoned. Somehow the taste is different when the dosa is cooked on a tawa. I would be interested in any comments and experiences people have had with different pans.


Coconut Dosa


There are many YouTube videos on how to cook dosa. Enjoy!

I like the videos from Show Me the Curry. In this one, they make an Oats Dosa. Go to around the 7 minute mark to see the method of cooking dosa on the tawa.

Arun Shanbhag @arunshanbhag reminded me he has a video of commercial dosa making. It is great to watch.

One chutney that would go beautifully with this is a fresh, Pineapple Khatta Chutney. Or take some raw mangoes and dice. Mix with fresh black pepper, green chillies, onion, lime juice, ginger, salt and a touch of excellent white vinegar. Yum, enjoy.

Coconut Dosa

Coconut Dosa / Thosai

Source : inspired by Dosa Dhamaka by Sudha Chandrakant
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 10 mins plus time for soaking and fermentation
Cooking time: a few mins per dosa
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it

1 cup raw rice
1 cup grated coconut (use frozen if fresh is not available)
salt to taste

Soak the rice in plenty of water overnight or 8 – 12 hours. Strain and rinse the rice.

Grind the rice along with the coconut and sufficient water to make a medium density batter. Grind in an Indian grinder if you have one, or in a blender otherwise. If using a blender, allow to blend for some time, to get the smoothest batter that you can.

Allow the batter to sit for about 10 minutes. You can cook the dosa at this point. Alternatively, I like to leave the batter to sit during the day and make the dosa in the evening. It will have some fermentation at this point, making the dosa lighter and more flavoursome. (Fermentation adds that very slight sour tang, in a similar way that sour dough bread has a tang from its fermenting dough.)

You need to add salt. If you are cooking the dosa immediately, add it while or after you are grinding the batter. If you are letting the batter sit, add it about 30 – 60 minutes before using. Salt inhibits fermentation, so it is best to add it afterwards.

Heat a tawa or flat pan. Take a flat-bottomed ladle and add a ladle of batter to the center of the pan. With the bottom of the ladle, and starting in the centre, use a circular motion to spread the batter, aiming for a medium-thin result. Typically, it is not a uniform thinness, but rather the dosa develops some “roads” or markings following the tracks of the ladle. Here, practice makes perfect.

Drizzle a few drops of melted ghee over the dosa and around the edges. When it is cooked and slightly browned, flip it over for a few moments to cook the other side.

Remove from the pan and fold gently in halves. Serve with wet curries, or some sambar and chutney.

Leftover batter can be kept either at room temperature for a day or so (it will continue fermenting and the sour tang will develop more) or in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to cook the dosa, to allow it to return to room temperature.

You can double the recipe if you want enough batter for a few days.


25 thoughts on “Coconut Dosa | South Indian Coconut Flatbread”

  1. How beautiful it you say I love dosa from the bottom of my heart!..remember how dosa mela had your entry as first!…:) send it for the Breakfast mela if you can..

    1. Hi Srivalli, thank you for your lovely comment. I am just a beginner dosa maker in the grand scheme of things. But I DO remember your Dosa Mela and lakhs of entries!!! Haha, lol. Off this goes to the Breakfast Mela.

  2. So true about what you said about *change* Ganga. :-). We are moving back to India in less than 15 days leaving everything that we have built over 5-6 years. I am both excited and apprehensive about this change. Hope it all turns out good, after all family comes first. 🙂

    I am gonna try this coconut dosai as I always end up making regular dosa most of the times. coconut is in the chutney never in the dosa itself. ;-).

    take care and hoping the lives of your 3 friends would be peaceful again, real soon.

    1. I know that you will be fine, Siri. It’s such a big move, isn’t it. Wow. But family is everything. Good luck, I wish you well, take it easy and slowly, and stick to those important routines. Love to you and your family.

      1. Thank you. 🙂 As soon as we were out of the ship, we heard about the Hindu temple in Kaui. But the plans for Waimea Canynon were already set by then, so couldn’t go to the temple. heard a lot about it though. Do you have a picture of it Ganga? Would love to see it. hugs.


  3. Porbably a Lakh will also be a little for this humble Dosas from South India 🙂 And I love all the version of it! Coconut dosa reminds me of something similar to the Appam batter. But this one has come out crisp and need a quick try.
    Love the 3rd click. Makes me eat it right from the screen.

  4. I remember you gave me advice on making dosa over twitter a while back, but I still haven’t tried it. It’s nice to have read your more detailed instructions. I really must give it a go!

  5. i have yet fallen in love with dosa, and I blamed it on my addiction to naan and roti :). I will try this someday, but would love to have a taste first to know the right texture!

    1. Its worth trying them before you make them, altho restaurants usually make very crispy ones. Most home made dosa are a softer type. Ask any Sth Indian friend if she will make you some.

  6. Thanks for stopping by! On your question – you don’t need to cover the limes with juice. 1/3rd covered seems just about right for when you first make the pickle. The water/juice content will go up after the limes spend a few days out in the sun.

  7. I absolutely LOVVVEE E your blog!! I found you while doing a google search on chickpeas and ended up spending 20 minutes reading all 3 of your chickpea posts. they’re so informative!! This coconut dosa sounds superb too, such an easy blend of ingredients yet so exotic; I love it! Thanks for such a great blog, I look forward to continue reading it!

  8. I always learn something new on your blog. Unfortunately I don’t have a place to buy dosa in my area but maybe its time I learn how to make them at home. Thank you for the recipe.

  9. Thank you Ganga. I like your writeup on the Mindfulness of Dosas.
    And you are likely correct about the lakh variations about dosas, as we are very inventive about our dosas. Just last night M mixed some cut up collard greens in a batter mean’t for something else, and laid out some pancakes. They turned out delicious and I remarked, “Next time you do this, lets take a few pics and call it collard green dosas.” 🙂

    Happy Holidays.

Welcome! I hope you are enjoying what you see here. Thank you so much for your comment and your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s