Soft and lacy Neer Dosa are delicate in both texture and flavour. A hint of coconut gives these beautiful rice dosas added aroma and suppleness. Like little pocket-sized hankies, the name “Neer” means “water” in the Kannada and Tulu languages spoken in Southern India.
The batter for these dosas flows like a swooshing river of pouring cream. Splash it in a hot pan, rotating until it becomes as thin as a crepe — and then watch the surface transform into a corded lace-like dosa.
Serve Neer Dosa with your favourite saagu, sambhar or simply enjoy with chutney. My favourite dish to serve with these is a creamy coconut milk-based Vegetable Kurma.
What are Neer Dosa?
Recipes for Neer Dosa vary from cook to cook, but the core ingredients are soaked rice, water and salt. Fresh coconut is abundant in South India and is commonly added for flavour.
I add coconut flavour to this dosa in the form of coconut milk. Vegetable Kurma is a curry I like to serve alongside Neer Dosa, so a splash of coconut milk from the same tin does the job perfectly for me.
Neer Dosa are a favourite in Tulu vegetarian cuisine is a treasured part of Mangalorean cuisine. It’s also known as Udupi cuisine which is rooted in Satvik traditions.
Is it easy to make Neer Dosa?
Being a non-fermented variety of dosa, it is relatively quick to prepare in comparison to other types of dosa.
What type of rice is best for making Neer Dosa?
Again, every cook has their own preference of what rice to use. I am UK based, so have experimented with the most commonly available types of rice here. Typically, a medium-short grain rice like Sona Masuri is popular for making Neer Dosa. It is grown largely in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and is known for its great fragrance and starchy qualities. However, it’s not a variety I can get my hands on easily where I live. Cue the Neer Dosa rice experiments.
What if I don’t have special rice?
After nine separate experiments using various varieties of rice, I found that both Idli rice and Thai Jasmine rice did a wonderful job in place of Sona Masuri. Having said this, I had good results using a standard American-style short-grain rice, too. Even 100% Basmati rice (250g) produced a good result for me (when I reduced the water content in my recipe by 50ml).
What equipment do I need for making this recipe?
- High-powered blender
- Frying pan (I used a non-stick one, about 30cm dia.)
Neer Dosa: Troubleshooting
Yes. Use 250g Basmati rice and reduce the amount of water in the recipe to 400ml.
Grind it some more. Give your blender some breaks, too. I don’t want you to burn the motor out!
Add a splash more water. Keep n eye on the amount of water you’re adding though. The best thing to do is measure out the water in a jug before you begin and only add water from there so as not to lose track of how much water has gone in. Be careful though as adding too much water to the blender can stop your rice from grinding finely.
Yes, but not using this recipe. Rice flour is super starchy and from my experience, diminishes the lacy appearance of the dosa when used in the context of my recipe. I’d need to test a separate recipe using rice flour.
Yes, add 25g fresh coconut to this recipe in place of the coconut milk and increase the amount of water by 25ml.
Yes, but soak it along with the rice so that it doesn’t drink up all the water in the batter later.
Either your pan isn’t hot enough or your batter is too thick. Try increasing the heat or thinning out the batter with a splash of water.
Either your pan isn’t hot enough or your batter is too watery. Try increasing the heat. Or add a small amount of soaked rice or rice flour and blending your batter again.
- High-powered blender or wet grinder
- Frying pan
- 125 g Basmati rice
- 125 g short-grain rice of your choice I used idli rice but any short-grain rice works well. Thai Jasmine rice is particularly flavourful
- 50 ml coconut milk
- 450 ml water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cooking oil I used sunflower
To make the batter:
- Combine the two types of rice in a large bowl. Wash it in plenty of fresh water to remove any surface dirt. I changed the water 2-3 times. Drain well.
- Cover the rice with plenty of fresh water, so there's about an inch of water above the surface of the rice. Allow to soak at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
- Drain the water from the rice.
- Place the rice in a high-powered blender (I used a NutriBullet). Add the coconut milk and 150ml water. Grind the rice to a very fine paste. You may need to start and stop a few times to give your blender a break (so the motor doesn't burn out). The mixture should be the texture of softly-whipped cream, with very few grains visible if you rub it between your fingers.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the remaining 300ml water and salt. Stir well. The batter should now be of a flowing consistency – it should look a bit like pouring cream.
To cook the Neer Dosa:
- Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Rub the inside of the pan with a kitchen paper dabbed in oil.
- Give the batter a quick stir to ensure the rice and water hasn't separated. When the pan is smoking hot, carefully splash the dosa batter into the frying pan, tilting the pan as you go along for even spreading. Watch the video below to see how I do this. The dosa should be thin and will immediately begin to look lacy.
- Cover with a lid and cook for 30-40 seconds. The dosa shouldn't brown. Don't flip the dosa – it should only cook on one side.
- Remove the lid and fold the dosa in half and then in half again so you have a neat little triangle-like shape. Remove the dosa from the pan and place on a plate.
- Repeat this process for the remaining dosa batter.
- Serve the Neer Dosa immediately.
- The number of dosas you make will depend on the size of your pan. I used a 30cm (12″) diameter pan and was able to make 8 large Neer Dosa.
- You can also use a cast iron tawa if you are comfortable doing so. However, I find a non-stick pan is perfect for this recipe.