Kovil Dosai

In Azhagar Kovil (Madurai, South India) this dosai is given as prasadham. It’s not the paper thin dosais of restaurants, but a heartier, thicker dosai that has this aroma of ginger, cumin and black pepper. I don’t know how, but you can smell it everywhere around the temple. It’s quite easy to make at home, but if you’re ever in Madurai, don’t miss this.

Kovil Dosai


Raw Rice – 2 cups
Urad dal (black urad dal, with skin) – 1 cup
Dry ginger (sukku) – 1″ piece
Black Peppercorns – 1 tbsp
Cumin – 1/2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 10
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste


1. Soak black urad dal in enough water overnight.
2. Soak the raw rice in enough water for around 4 hours. (You can do this in the morning, say around 6am and grind the batter around 10am. Whatever works for you. Rice doesn’t have to soak as much as the dal).
3. Grind the urad dal finely, till it’s light and fluffy.
4. Grind the rice next, fine enough.
5. Mix the dal batter, rice batter with enough salt, and let it ferment in room temperature overnight. (Depending on where you live, this can take anywhere from 4-5hrs to 12hrs. If you live in a particularly cold region, ferment the batter inside the oven with the light on.
6. Once the batter has fermented, and smells pleasantly sour, you can store it in the refrigerator.
7. When you are ready to make dosais, coarsely powder the dry ginger, peppercorns, cumin. Pile it on top of the batter, with the curry leaves. Heat ghee in a small pan, until it’s smoking hot and add it on top of the powdered spices. (We do this to fry the spices, bring out the aroma in them. See the picture below).

8. Mix everything well.
9. Make dosais (crepes) on the griddle/tawa. This is not supposed to be thin, but thicker, uthappam like. Cook it with a lid on, so it cooks well on both sides. Use ghee/oil to cook them.
10. Serve it hot with the chutney/idli podi of your choice. Doesn’t need a side really, because it’s spicy enough on it’s own.


1. Instead of 2 cups raw rice, you can use 1 cup raw rice and 1 cup idli rice. Makes for a softer dosai. Temple prasadhams never use parboiled rice like idli rice, so the above recipe is authentic. Being in Madrid, I used a short grain. starchier, paella rice. Which made a good raw rice alternative for the idli rice.
2. Spice levels can be adjusted to your liking. This recipe makes a milder dosai than that of the the temple, but my kids prefer it this way.