Variation on a savory treat

The vegan breakfast crepe known as dosa is a favorite of the residents of Kerala, India and What’s Cooking columnist Rajni Menon. Here she offers her take on the classic and her mother’s accompanying chutney.

Dosa is a vegan crepe that is a staple for breakfast in Kerala, India. It’s my absolute favorite food as well. When I was growing up, my mom would make hot crispy dosas with a touch of ghee, a clarified butter, on it. 

Dosa uses a fermented batter made out of rice and lentils, which is what makes it 100% vegan. The batter is poured onto a flat pan to make a crepe. Here, I have used this batter in making savory rice donuts with a side of onion-tomato chutney. This chutney is an amazing dip for these pillowy donuts. It’s a slight variation on my mom’s chutney because of the cumin seeds.

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Vegan, Savory Rice Donuts with Onion-Tomato Chutney

Onion-Tomato Chutney


1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

6 curry leaves 

2 cups red onions diced

2 cups Roma tomatoes chopped

4 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons turmeric powder

1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 serrano chili slit in the middle

1 teaspoon mustard seeds


1. Heat a medium-size sauté pan and add coconut oil to it. Once hot, add in mustards seeds and let it splutter.

2. Add in the cumin seeds and curry leaves and sauté for 10 seconds. Now add the diced onions and serrano chili and sauté well. Once onions are carmelized, reduce the heat and add in turmeric, chili powder and salt. Combine well.

3. Add in chopped tomatoes and cook the mixture covered until the tomatoes are well combined with the onions.

4. Add in cilantro leaves and stir well. The chutney is ready to be served.

Vegan Savory Rice Donuts


2 cups Basmati rice soaked in 5-6 cups of water for 2 hours

1 cup Uncle Ben’s parboiled rice soaked in 3 cups of water for 2 hours

1 heaped cup whole white gram lentils soaked in 6 cups of water for 2 hours

6 teaspoons kosher salt

10 tablespoons ghee


1. Drain the 2 types of rice and grind them well in batches by adding the water little by little until smooth. A Vitamix blender would be the best for this. Set the rice batter aside in a tall container.

2. Drain the lentils and grind them into a smooth batter. Add this to the rice batter in the tall container. Add in salt and water if needed and combine well. The batter must have a consistency of a crepe batter.

3. Keep this container in a warm place overnight. The next day it should be fermented and double the size.

4. Stir well to combine and now the crepe batter is ready to be cooked.

5. In a donut pan add ghee and, once hot, ladle in a small quantity of batter. Cook it until one side is fully cooked. Now turn it over using a fork to cook the other side as well. Repeat. 

6. Serve with the onion tomato chutney.

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