Dosa, a pancake-like treat in India, goes by many names and is known to have even more variants. The differences between dosa types go from subtle to obvious, with changes in ingredients, textures, and flavors. This diversity allows dosa to have a spectrum of side dishes that are perfect with it!
This article shows 12 delicious side dishes for dosa. The most recommended are chutneys, potato masalas, and sambar. Thus, if you have just started exploring, try those! But if you want the unconventional, check out and follow the other recipes.
Dosa is highly suggested with all sorts of chutney. However, the one that always leads the list is coconut. It’s the perfect balance of fresh, creamy, and spicy, so it’s hardly a surprise that many people love it, whether with or without dosa. This recipe guides you on making basic coconut chutney. However, it also gives tips on making it taste more creative and complex.
Another chutney flavor you can try with dosa is ginger. In most dishes, the flavors of ginger are subtle beneath more intense tastes and aromas. But with this recipe, they’re intensified and stand out amongst the mixture of tangy tamarinds, spicy chilis, earthy dal, fresh spices, and salt. Hence, expect this condiment to taste complex and exciting! Also, you can pair dosa with other chutneys besides ginger and coconut.
3. Aloo Masala
Masala dosa is well-loved with many potato curries, including aloo masala. As the name implies, it has the garam masala spice blend, which consists of fennel, bay leaves, peppers, cumin, and other spices. Such a mixture, along with onions, tomatoes, chili, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek leaves, and coriander, gives aloo masala its distinctive flavors and deep, bright color. Also, you can make this as dry or saucy as you want.
4. Batata Bhaji
Batata bhaji is another Indian potato dish you can try with dosa. It’s named so because bhaji means stir-fried, which is how the spicy flavors are incorporated into the potatoes. Appearance-wise, it looks different from aloo masala because it’s less saucy; thus, it is perfect if you don’t want a messy dosa meal! The flavors are also distinct, as there’s no garam masala, but it has Hing, which imparts a unique flavor.
5. Vada Curry
Instead of potatoes, try legumes with your dosa by making vada curry! It has chana dal, peeled and split black chickpeas, combined with chilis and fennel seeds to make a vegetable patty or dumpling called vada. This vada is crumbled and smothered with a homemade gravy made from chili, tomatoes, and spices. Once both elements are combined, you can happily stuff them into your dosa.
Sambar proves that chickpeas aren’t the only legumes dosa is good with – lentils make a similarly fantastic pair! They’re also known as toor dal or split pigeon peas. These peas are cooked with spices, vegetables, and flavorings to create a thick stew. You can also combine toor dal with other legumes, like toor, moong dal, or masoor, to make a sambar with a slightly different texture, consistency, and flavor.
Before you disregard vegetable sagu for its weird, green color, you should taste it first with dosa. Once you’ve taken a bite, you might not only forget its unappetizing hue. You’ll also keep coming back for more! Luckily, though, vegetable sagu is a quick and easy dish. However, the challenge is getting your hands on all the spices and ingredients that make it deliciously complex.
Butter beans, a lima bean variant, are as delicious as they sound; hence, they’re sought-after in India. They’re rich and creamy, which is highlighted well in this recipe. The latter combines cooked, mushy beans with tomato and coconut masala pastes, as well as other spices and flavorings. Thus, many flavor dimensions – earthy, sweet, spicy, zesty, and savory – come together harmoniously with this dish.
If you don’t mind getting messy, enjoy your dosa with parotta salna. Although your first thought might be to dip the rice pancake into the orange gravy, the latter is usually poured over rather than used as a dip – hence, messy. But for its fantastic flavor? Worth it! Like many Indian dishes, parotta salna’s flavor profile is highly complex, owing to its long list of spices and flavorings.
Like parotta salna, kadappa is labeled as a type of gravy, although it appears thicker. It’s made with lentils, specifically moong dal, and potatoes, which explains the consistency. To flavor the dish, the recipe also uses a homemade kadappa masala with coconut, chili, cinnamon, and other spices. Overall, kadappa is hot and spicy, especially with more chilis, so it’s perfect for those who want to make their mouth feel on fire with dosa.
Mochai, like butter beans, is a type of bean in India. You can use it to make mochai kara kuzhambu or mochai kottai kuzhambu. This dish is chunky, saucy, and rich, and while often eaten with rice, it’s delicious with dosa. It’s spicy because of the chili, but that heat is tempered a bit by the grated coconut. Besides those ingredients, there are more spices and flavorings involved.
12. Tomato Thokku
The concept of tomato thokku is much like tomato gravy, so expect a lot of tanginess. Besides the pureed tomatoes, this dish has tamarind, used across Asia for its tart flavors. Thus, to balance all those sour notes, you’ll need some classic Indian spices, like chilis, turmeric, ginger, hing, and fenugreek. However, you can add jaggery or sugar to incorporate sweetness that complements the tomato and tamarind’s acidity.