Thosai (තෝසේ)

Thosai Thosai Thosai

Thosai is a South Indian savoury, thin pancake made from a batter of various fermented pulses and rice flour, which is then cooked on a flat griddle. The dish is usually eaten at breakfast with accompaniments such as sambar (an Indian vegetable stew), curry and chutney.


One of the earliest mentions of thosai dates to the sixth century and can be found in the Tamil literature of the Sangam period in India. The Manasollasa, a Sanskrit text written in the 12th century, mentions a similar dish known as dhosaka, which was made using only pulses without any rice added.


This South Indian snack is made of various fermented pulses including dhal beans, rice flour and halba (Malay for fenugreek).3 The process of making thosai begins with soaking the urad dhal (black gram) and fenugreek for six hours in water. The ingredients are then drained before cooked rice and water are added to the mix and blended to a very smooth texture. Traditionally, the mixture is ground using a stone grinder, as it is believed that this results in a smoother thosai. Next, rice flour and salt are added to the mixture and stirred to form a lump-free batter, which is then left for at least 12 hours to ferment.

To cook the thosai, a ladleful of the fermented batter is spooned onto the centre of a heated flat griddle coated with oil. The batter is then quickly spread out from the centre of the griddle in a circular motion using the base of the ladle. When the batter develops little holes and its underside turns golden brown, it is flipped over. The thosai is then folded in two and usually served with accompaniments such as sambar, curry and chutney.