Set Dosa Recipe (Sponge Dosa)
Set Dosa also known as Sponge Dosa is a thick, soft and fluffy Dosa variety made with rice, urad dal, fenugreek seeds and poha. Since these dosas are served in a set of 3, they are called as Set Dosa. This breakfast meal is served with Coconut chutney and Potato Masala or Sagu. These Set Dosa are also sometimes topped with butter. In this post I share how to make restaurant style Set Dosa that literally melts in your mouth.
For the uninitiated, dosa is a kind of lentil crepe from South Indian cuisine and there are so many kinds made across the region. Masala Dosa, Rava Dosa and Neer Dosa are some of the staples.
About Set Dosa
This Set Dosa is another variation and is mostly seen on the Karnataka restaurant menus. Crispy thick base, soft spongy & fluffy top with a porous texture is what makes these Set Dosa so much different from the regular crisp thin dosas.
The recipe to make these is very unique and different from the other variations of dosa. Less urad dal, more rice and more poha is what gives these the unique texture.
Some methi seeds are also used to give the batter a rise and fluffy texture to the set dosa.
To make good set dosa, proper fermentation of the batter is very important else it won’t yield porous and spongy dosa.
Fermentation time varies & depends on the climatic conditions or season. You need to follow the same method to ferment the batter as we do for Idli & dosa batter.
In restaurants you will also find variations of set dosa. Pudi dosa & pudi masala dosa are 2 such well known variations. Pudi is the Kannada word for podi.
Podi dosa are made with the same set dosa batter but served in single quantity and not as a set of 3. These dosas are topped with spiced lentil powder, like you see in the pictures.
Pudi masala dosa is served with a topping of podi and potato masala. This variation is quite spicy and delicious too.
Set dosa can be eaten with any Chutney of choice or even topped with Peanut podi.
They can be eaten for a meal anytime of the day and they also go well in the school & office lunch boxes. They can also be served to babies over 10 months, make sure you do not use sour batter if making for baby.
For more Dosa varieties,
How to make Set Dosa (Stepwise Photos)
1. Rinse well and soak 2 cups rice (raw or parboiled) in one bowl. Next rinse and soak ½ cup urad dal with 1½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds in another bowl, both for about 5 hours. Rinse poha 2 to 3 times & soak for 10 mins, just before grinding the lentils.
2. Add soaked urad dal, fenugreek seeds, ½ teaspoon non-iodized salt and rinsed poha to the blender jar. If you live in a very hot climate, you may add salt later after fermenting.
3. Pour 1 cup of water and blend till smooth and bubbly. If needed add more water. I add ¼ to ½ cup more water. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl which you will also use for fermenting the batter. So use a large one.
4. Add rice to the blender jar with ¼ to ½ cup water and blend to smooth texture.
5. Transfer this to the bowl containing urad dal batter. Mix everything well until combined. The batter should not be very thin or very thick else it may not ferment well.
6. Cover and set aside in a warm place till it ferments and rises well. Usually it takes around 8 to 12 hours depending on the temperature. If you live in a cold country, turn on the oven light and place this in your oven over night.
7. After fermentation, it almost doubles. But make sure your batter does not turn sour. Taste test and adjust salt as needed.
Make Set Dosas
8. Heat a tawa, Gently stir the batter for combining everything well. Test by sprinkling little water if the tawa is hot. A hot tawa sizzles, when water is sprinkled. Pour one ladle of batter on the tawa and gently dab it to spread slightly, do not spread like the regular dosa. The size of these dosas will be small. The stove flame should not be very high else they turn brown at the bottom without cooking. If the tawa is not hot enough, you may not get a good spongy dosa. Sprinkle oil around the edges, you can skip it as well if you are on a oil free diet.
9. Set dosa is not cooked on the inner side, the batter is very airy that cooking it from the bottom, cooks on the inner side as well. However I prefer to cover and cook for a little while and then without the lid. I cook further to make them crispy from the outer side. This is optional. If you are particular about cooking it on the other side, you can flip it and cook on the other side as well.
10. To finish off I like to sprinkle idli podi or pappu podi or flax seed podi. This is optional.
Serve set dosa hot with your favorite chutney. We had it with beetroot chutney.
Oil-free dosa: This batter cooks up very well to dosa even without any oil or fats. Covering the dosas will help them cook well & retain softness. This is highly recommended if you skip the oil or fats.
Rice: Though I have made this recipe with only parboiled rice (idli rice) in the past with very good results. Lately I have felt only raw rice or a combination of raw rice and parboiled rice works best.
Poha: Use thick poha for this recipe as it works better in rising the batter. If using thin poha, you will need more than mentioned in the recipe.
Salt: Adding salt before fermentation does not work for every one and in every season. I prefer to add salt before fermentation because this works best for me. Also use non-iodized salt. Iodized salt curtails the fermentation process and hinders the batter from rising.
Set Dosa Recipe (Sponge Dosa)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups raw rice or parboiled rice (like idli rice or sona masuri or any rice)
- 1 cup poha (thick or medium attukulu or avalakki)
- ½ cup urad dal (skinned black gram)
- 1½ teaspoons fenugreek seeds (menthulu or methi)
- ½ teaspoon salt (more to adjust)
- oil or butter as needed
- Soaking : To make set dosa recipe, firstly add rice to a large bowl and wash very well a few times. Then soak in ample amount of water for about 5 hours. Add urad dal and fenugreek seeds to another bowl and rinse them a few times. Then soak in ample amount of water for about 5 hours. Wash poha just before grinding the batter.
- Making batter: Drain the water from from both the bowls. Add urad dal, salt, fenugreek seeds and poha to a blender jar along with 1 cup water. Blend them till bubbly. If needed add more water to grind the batter smooth & frothy. Do not add too much water, batter should not be very runny.
- Transfer the batter to a large batter bowl. Add rice to the jar along with 1/4 cup water. Grind to a smooth batter. Pour this to the urad dal batter. Mix everything well till well combined.
- Fermenting : Set aside in a warm place for 8 to 12 hours for the batter to ferment and rise well.
How to make Set Dosa
- Add few drops of oil to a tawa. Using a tissue or cut onion spread the oil very well. Heat the tawa. Mix the batter gently. Taste test and add more salt if required.
- Pour one ladle full of batter and dab it gently to spread the batter do not spread like a normal dosa. Add oil across the edges.
- Cover and cook for a while until it is cooked inside. You can flip and cook it for a minute on the inner side as well.
- To get a crispy set dosa, lower the flame and cook for a while. Sprinkle idli podi if you have it or serve hot with chutney. Repeat making more set dosa on the tawa.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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ಕನ್ನಡದ ಹೆಸರುಗಳನ್ನು ಪದಾರ್ಥ ಉಪಯೋಗ ಉತ್ತಮ. ಮಸೂರ ಎಂದರೆ ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷ್ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಲೆನ್ಸ್ ಆಗುತ್ತದೆ.
This recipe is in English. Please read that as sona masuri rice
Will these keep good till noon in the lunch box
Yes they will keep good. Don’t overferment the batter.
Thank you Swasthi. I tried Set dosa recipe & they turned out good. can I use red poha?
Yes you can. Thank you
Awesome set dosas! Tasted amazing with your curry leaves podi and coconut chutney. Thank you.
Happy to know Neha. Yes lovely combo.
Thanks for trying.
Does this work on a non stick ?the consistency of batter is to be medium or thick?
Yes it works on non-stick and cast iron both. The consistency has to be thick, less thicker than idli batter more thicker than regular dosa batter. If it is too runny, you won’t be able to flip it because it won’t cook well to a firm base.
Hi swathi, anything to substitute aval? Thank you
Hi Swasthi, my set dosa is not that soft. Plz tell me how I can make it soft ?
This recipe will give you soft set dosa. Let the batter rise well as shown in the pictures.
How to feed dosa for 7 month old baby. How a baby can eat dosa’s and all dear?
Dip it in dal cooked water or vegetable stock. Boil vegetables like carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, beans in water. Filter it & use. You can also dip idli and feed. 7 months is too early for a baby to eat dosa. But you can give idli now. You can serve dosa once your baby turns 10 months. Cook them with very less oil or ghee.
Thanks a lot dr
Hi Swathi…the poha did not grind well…will it be problem ?
You have to grind them well. Otherwise the dosas may not turn spongy.
Thank you so much for your advise Swasthi.
Welcome Lakshmi. Hope you could fix it.
I had kept the batter for more than 24 hours on the kitchen stove area but it did not rise/ferment.
I put it in the fridge as I could smell the sourness.
How do I get rid of this sourness now ?
Thank you so much in advance for your advice.
You should keep it in a kitchen cabinet or in a warm place for the batter to rise and ferment well. If the batter is too thick then it will not rise at all but turns sour. Now the sour flavor cannot be fixed unless you add some rice flour to it. Just mix together some rice flour with water and stir it in the fermented batter. But the taste will be different and may not come out fluffy like set dosa.
Can this same batter be used for idli also?
Not sure if it works. I haven’t tried
I had tested set dosa during my trip to Bangalore almost ten years back while was working. But here in Mumbai very less people are known to it. But it turned out so yummy that my husband and kids just loved it. What can be made with leftover better as I read that it is not advisable to serve to kids once it taste sour ? Can I try Idli or dosa adding Ragi flour ?
Thank you so much.
I am very sorry for not replying. I am on a holiday to India so unable to reply to comments. Thanks for trying. With the left over batter you can add some rice flour and make bonda. Yes you can also add ragi four and rice flour in equal quantites and make dosa. Not sure if idli will come out well. Hope this helps
It was really tastyyyy.. yammyyyyyyyyyy
is it necessary to use only Dosa rice, I do have idli rice can I use that ?
Yes deepika you can use it.
Idli and dosa rice are same
Thanks for your quick reply.. I tried to make it and let it ferment for hours outside on the kitchen top.. but it dint double in size…only a little bit.. 🙁 I was scared of keeping it outside for any longer as it was already 15 hours or more… can i still use it for my toddlers. ? I am reading through all the recipes for my 15 months old twins, one doesnt eat well so thinking of trying this for her…
Yes you can still give it to her. The reason for not rising could be the temperature. When the temperatures are down it takes about 18 hours even if i keep it in a warm shelf.
excellent recipe! came out well . One request – please
have a recipe index for faster access and a quick look/scan because,
going through page after page is time consuming and a real pain – thanku
once again .
Hope you do the needful.
Thanks for trying. Yes I will surely do it. Thanks for the suggestion
I don’t have idly or ponni rice. I have only done masoori. Can I try with it? If so what is the ratio?
Currently I am using masoori. Both white and brown work well. Follow the same ratios
Hi Swathi ,
What to do for fermentation in cold countries ? Can I add some Yeast to it ? If so , what is the quantity ?
You can try adding non-iodised salt while grinding. It may take little longer to ferment but it works. You can also try using the water in which dal has been soaked for grinding. If none of these work, then you try using yeast. I have not tried with in anytime
Followed ur recipe for set dosa yesterday. It was so spongy n soft. And was yummy with tomato chatani. Thank u so much for this recipe
Glad to know they came out good. Thanks for sharing the outcome
Can I use idly rava instead of Rice in this recipe ? Please reply
Don’t think idly rava works in this recipe. You can try with a small quantity.
Ok thanks. And do u have app for ur site?
welcome. No we dont have an app
Who besides South Indians and such have a WET GRAIN GRINDER?
Useful recipes only for Indians, not for others, alas. Will still keep looking for folks with alternative notions on how to grind grains wet but so far, nobody in the Indian food world seems to realize that people outside of their country might be reading for these recipes.
To make these dosa, one don’t need to have a wet grinder. Any powerful blender will be able to blend the grains to batter. YOu can go ahead and try the recipe in small quantity. (halve the recipe) Hope this helps
Chris, don’t get so upset. You can make this batter using any powerful blender – like Vitamix. It works with regular American blenders too but you have to grind in small quantities and it comes out great. You should just ask any Indian friend from work or even strangers at an Indian store and they will be delighted to help you. Hope you get to make these dosas and enjoy them! 👍🏾
wow! the picture makes my mouth water! how did you manage to click awesome pics like these?