In experimenting with a quick and easy way to make dosas (savory, fermented Indian crepes), we were blown away by the flavor and texture of these savory Indian-inspired crepes. And it turned out what we actually ended up with is closer to an Indian crepe called a cheela.
Cheelas are similar in flavor, texture (thin and crepe-like), and presentation to dosas but don’t require fermenting and are most commonly made with chickpea flour (find a more traditional example of a cheela here).
We experimented with fermenting our crepe batter, but found it didn’t noticeably impact flavor or digestibility. However, this is the more traditional approach and we include tips for fermenting if you have time! For those curious, you can do a deeper dive on the origin of dosas here.
So whether you want to call them a moong dal crepe, cheela, or dosa, as long as you have moong dal (or other lentils) and brown rice on hand, you can make these simple, 6 ingredient crepes!
They start with soaking the moong dal and rice in cool water overnight (or for at least 6 hours).
Then the soaked moong dal and rice are added to a blender along with seasonings and a little bit of water. You can flavor them just about any way you like, but we enjoyed a combo of sea salt, fresh ginger, curry powder, and maple syrup.
The mixture is blended until creamy and smooth (see photo below). It should be thin and pourable like crepe batter.
To cook them, it’s best to use a large cast-iron skillet (stainless steel does not work, friends — consider yourself warned!).
Once the skillet is hot, a little oil is added and swirled around so it coats the pan without pooling. A paper towel can be used to wipe up any excess oil.
Then the batter is added to the skillet in roughly 1/4-cup portions and swirled in an outward spiral pattern using a spoon or the bottom of a ladle (we preferred a ladle).
You can make them more crispy or more tender depending on your preference. For crispier crepes, cook them for about 3 minutes per side; for more tender crepes, about 2 minutes per side.
The batter can be made up to 3-4 days in advance, or you can make all the dosas in one round and reheat them on the stovetop or in the microwave.
We hope you LOVE these savory crepes! They’re:
Tender with crispy edges
Made with simple methods
& Very versatile!
They go well alongside other Indian-inspired dishes. We especially love them folded over and filled with potato (aloo) sabzi and green chutney.
More Indian-Inspired Recipes
- Creamy Curried Cauliflower Lentil Soup (1 Pot!)
- Fluffy Curried Socca (Chickpea Bread)
- Easy Vegan Naan
- 1-Pot Spicy Mango Chutney
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Savory Moong Dal Rice Crepes (Dosa or Cheela)
DOSA / CHEELA
- 1 cup moong dal or red lentils* (not green mung beans)
- 1 cup dry short grain brown rice*
- 1 ½ – 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp peeled ginger
- 1 ½ – 2 Tbsp curry powder (or store-bought)
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup (optional to balance flavors)
- 2 cups warm water (or just enough to cover the mixture)
- 1 ½ Tbsp avocado oil for cooking (if not vegan, sub ghee)
FOR SERVING optional
- Green Chutney Sauce
- Aloo Sabzi (curried pan-fried potatoes)
- Soak moong dal and rice separately by adding to separate mixing bowls and covering with cool water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Once soaked, drain and rinse well, then transfer both rice and moong dal to a high-speed blender with salt, peeled ginger, curry powder, maple syrup, and only enough water to JUST cover the rice and lentils — you can add more as needed, but you can’t take away.
- Blend on high for 1 minute or until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. The batter should be thin and pourable like a crepe batter — not watery, but not visibly thick or difficult to pour. Add more water as needed to achieve the right consistency.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt to taste, ginger for punchy ginger flavor, curry powder for more prominent curry taste, or maple syrup for subtle sweetness or to balance the flavors.
- Optional: For a fermented version, allow batter to sit at room temperature overnight (or at least 6 hours). Some bubbles should appear and the batter should become lighter/fluffier in texture, which indicates fermentation.
- Heat one (or several) cast iron or non-stick skillets over medium heat (we used our 10- and 12-inch cast irons). Once hot, add a little oil (or ghee if not vegan) and swirl to coat (it’s best not to have large pools of oil on the pan, so wipe with a paper towel if there’s too much).
- Pour roughly 1/4 cup of the batter at a time into the hot pan(s) and use a spoon or the bottom of a ladle (our preferred utensil) to swirl the batter outward until the crepe is roughly 10 inches wide. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the edges start to lift away from the pan and the underside is slightly golden brown. Then flip and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from pan. Repeat until all of the batter is used up — about 12 crepes as the recipe is written.
- Serve immediately alongside other Indian-inspired dishes. We especially loved them folded over and filled with potato (aloo) sabzi and green chutney.
- Store leftover batter covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, or store cooked dosas/cheelas covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, or in the freezer for 1 month (add parchment paper in between so they don't stick together). Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until hot.
*If grain-free, omit rice and double quantity of moong dal or red lentils. The flavor will be more pungent / less balanced, but texturally it’s very similar.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amounts of curry powder and maple syrup.
*Recipe loosely adapted from Swasthi’s Recipes.
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