Kutti Dosa – Little South Indian Rice & Lentil Pancakes

The last time we made lacto-plums on an impulse I threw some of the plum vinegar into a batter I was making for dosa. I usually keep my dosa pure, but in for a penny, in for a pound: in went some black cumin after which a pinch of hing felt obligatory. Then I waited until morning for the result.

The batter had a definite yeasty smell and was extra full of air. This batter wanted to make soft, fluffy kutti (small) dosa. The type you drop onto a skillet and let spread naturally while a thousand bubbles burst to adorn the top

You can make Kutti Dosa the traditional way: just omit the lacto plum vinegar. Even the spices are optional

light and fluffy south indian dosa

Kerala Kutti Dosa With Lacto Plum Vinegar, Black Cumin And Hing

Kutti or small dosa are seen less commonly than the thin and crispy variety. I suspect, like pizza, it’s largely down to fashion. It lacks the drama of the gigantic dosa served in restaurants extending well beyond your plate and if you’re not careful beyond your table. But what it might lack visually it makes up for in lightness of texture and concentration of flavour. For me, they’re simply heavenly
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
per dosa 4 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course any time, Appetizer, Breakfast, lunch, Main Course, Snack, starter, supper
Cuisine Indian, Sri Lankan, tamil


  • 1 tea-cup urid dal (washed black lentil)
  • 2 tea-cups basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp oil


  • 2-3 tbsp lacto-plum vinegar this is the juice produced from salt fermented plums
  • 1/2 tsp black cumin (kala jeera)
  • 1 pinch of hing


  • rinse the rice and lentils and leave to soak in seperate bowls for 8 hours or overnight
  • the following day add the rice and lentils to an electric blender in batches with enough water to create a batter the consistency of thick cream
  • stir in the oil, plum vinegar and spices, cover and leave in the sun or a warm place all day until the batter has fermented and smells yeasty
    fermented batter for dosa and idly

Season The Skillet

  • add a drop of oil to the skillet and coat the entire surface using some paper towel. Now heat the skillet to smoking point until most of the oil has burnt off. Allow the skillet to cool: drop a bit water onto the skillet or run the back of the skillet under a cold tap untill it stops sizzling
  • re-warm the skillet until a drop of water just starts to sizzle. If the pan is too hot you won’t be able to spread your dosa

Make Dosa – light and fluffy

  • drop one or more spoonfuls of batter onto your skillet, depending on the size and allow to spread naturally. Keep the heat moderate to give time for bubbles to form and burst on top.
    light and fluffy south indian dosa
  • For really soft fluffy dosas cook on one side only: wait till the top is fully cooked and the bottom comes away from the skillet easily with the help of a spatula
  • If you prefer your dosa a little crispier flip them over and just lightly brown the top side
  • Serve with the traditional sambhar and coconut chutney
  • I’ve topped them with feta cheese, chopped tomato and fresh coriander plus a drizzle of chilli oil, inspired by my Indian kitchen guru Manjula. They were really good!


Black cumin is quite different from standard cumin, being more complex and delicate. Neither should it be confused with black onion (nigella) seeds. That said, nigella has a lovely onion-ness which will really round off the yeasty tartness of these cakes. Hing is also quite onion-garlicky and probably not needed here. Or is it?
Keyword fermented, Indian, pro-biotic, pulses, rice, snack, spice, street-food, vegan, vegetable protein, vegetarian

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