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Onion dosa (Neerulli dose)

We are back from a short Thanksgiving trip to Colorado Springs. Met few of our friends. We celebrated our very first Thanksgiving with a wonderful family. We got a very cute Thanksgiving gift from them. I cannot explain how happy we were to meet this family, but unfortunately because of no sleep due to an early flight and then roaming around at a high altitude, we were very tired and forgot to take any pictures with them. They had prepared a wonderful dinner for us. Their very talented kid played a song on her piano for us. Before going to thier house, we met my husband’s old friend. He was more than happy to show us the places around. These two friends helped us to come out of all kind of tensions and loneliness we were having for the past few months by being away from home. I wish we could stay with them for some more time, but we had already booked hotel in Colorado Springs.

Now coming back to recipes, few of my friends had requested to post breakfast recipes here. So this week is going to be a “breakfast week”. I will post some of the recipes that I tried in recent past.

Neerulli(Kannada) means Onion. As the name suggests, the main ingredient of this dosa is onion. I got this recipe from an old Kannada weekly. It had some 50+ dosa recipes. I tried most of them. This is one of the dosas which I liked very much. This is a spicy dosa, so does not require any sides like chutneys or bhajis. But I served it with my Aayi’s mango pickle.

1 cup chana daal
1 cup toor daal
1 cup rice
1 cup onion(chopped)
1 cup grated coconut(fresh or frozen)
1/4 tea spn Tamarind extract (or extract thick juice of 3-4 pieces of tamarind)
3-4 red chilies
1/2 cup coriander leaves

Soak rice and daals in water for 4-5hrs(or overnight). Grind them into a smooth batter and leave it for around 1hr.
Grind red chilies, coconut, onion, coriander leaves to a paste. Add this paste and salt to the batter, mix well.
Heat tava and spread a dosa. Spread some ghee/oil on the dosa. Fry well from both sides.
Serve hot.

PS: This dosa can be eaten alone without any chutney. I served it with pickle to give some extra taste.

Serves : 5-6
Preparation time : 20mins (excluding the 1hr standing time)

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{ 27 comments… add one }

  • Lakshmik November 27, 2006, 12:39 pm

    Seems like a quick and easy recipe for dosa. I will try it out.

  • divya November 27, 2006, 1:26 pm

    Thanks Shilpa for posting such wonderful recipes.Your recipes r really very good.I prepared onion dosa & my husband liked it a lot.

  • Manjula November 27, 2006, 2:00 pm

    So..what plans for the Christmas Holidays?

    Me planning to do this for breakfast tomorrow . Will let u know the results. Wish ur recipe did not have toor dal in it. Its so expensive now due to the export ban from India.

  • lakshmi November 27, 2006, 6:19 pm

    that sure tastes good, yummy dish Shilpa.

  • Anjali November 27, 2006, 10:43 pm

    Sounds good will try it out soo. Shilpa do you have the recipe for Kajai? Its a round thick puri like sweet. I guess its made with rice flour and jaggery with sesame seeds on the top. You get a lot of it in Blr. I don’t know if the name is correct. I love it. Thanks in advance.

  • Vaishali November 28, 2006, 5:38 am

    That’s a very different recipe, Shilpa. Dosas are big on our breakfast menu right now. This one will be tried out soon. :) Thanks for sharing.

  • Asha November 28, 2006, 8:49 am

    Great looking Dosa, Shilpa! We came back from the coast Sunday too. Glad you had a great break:))

    I posted some Scones and a new post tomorrow.Have as great week.

  • Altoid November 28, 2006, 10:00 am

    Isnt it eerulli and not neerulli?

  • Manasi November 28, 2006, 11:31 am

    Hi Shilpa, I made these and they are realllllly good…. is there any way I can make them crispy ,(adding rice flour maybe) ? (or maybe mine did not turn out that way… did i make a mistake somewhere?) Lemme know. Thank u!

  • Manjula November 28, 2006, 12:38 pm

    I tried this recipe today morning. Its yummy.

    My dosas came out crispy and tough. Theres already rice in the batter, so whats the point in adding more rice flour? I use wet grinder/stone grinder to make batter, so my batter was very thick. Did u add more water in the batter? Just trying to figure why did we get different results.

  • Amanda & Suraj November 28, 2006, 12:47 pm

    Hi Shilpa,

    I’m curious to find out what you use to grind your ingredients into a smooth paste? We’ve tried using a food processor, but aren’t sure if it’s making it smooth enough. Maybe a mortar and pestle works better? (For those of us who are amateurs, it would be great to see/learn about the different cookware and utensils that you use–that way I can start shopping just in time for the holidays!).

    Thanks for your help.

  • Shilpa November 28, 2006, 3:36 pm

    Thanks Lakshmik, Lakshmi, Vaishali let me know if you try it.

    Thanks Divya :). I am happy that you liked it.

    Manjula, not yet planned Christmas holidays. Hope we could go somewhere. Thanks for trying out the recipe. As toor daal is one of the main daals used in Indian cooking, it is very difficult to resist, even if it is expensive. Isn’t it?

    Anjali, I will search for the recipe. I think I know what you are talking about. As of now, I don’t know its name. Let me find out.

    Asha, I am waiting for your next recipe. Will check it later.

    Altoid, Kannada has many dialects. In different dialects onion has different names, some of them are Eerulli, Neerulli, Ullagadde etc. Eerulli is Bangalore Kannada. It is also called Neerulli in some parts of Karnataka.

    Manasi, my dosas were also not very crisp because I made them thick. I guess if you grind them to smooth and make the dosas thin, they might turn out crisp. Adding rice flour is a solution(for any dosa) I follow it when I want to make dosas thin and crispy. But I liked this dosa a bit soft to get the exact taste of it.

    Amanda & Suraj, I use Hamilton Beach Blender for all grinding here. But surely it does not grind as smooth as Indian mixers/grinders, still for timebeing I am using Hamilton. It is almost useless when I try to grind chutneys in small amounts. If you want to grind to very smooth paste, I suggest you to buy any Indian mixers(from Indian stores). “Sumeet” is supposed to be the best brand.

  • Madhu November 28, 2006, 6:54 pm

    Hi Shilpa,
    We use the same recipe for making bele dosas (dal dosa). You call it onion dosa instead. They look nice. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anjali November 29, 2006, 6:20 am

    Shilpa I did get the recipe I asked for earlier its called ariselu in telugu. If you have a different one it would be great.

  • Pratibha November 29, 2006, 9:56 am

    Amanda, SurajTo grind in small quantities I use Magic Bullet. They make great smoothies as well as very efficient in grinding anything in small quantity. I use Magic Bullet’s small cup for all my chutneys. They are a very good deal now.

  • chitra parpia November 29, 2006, 2:28 pm

    Hello Shilpa,

    thanks – because of the high proportion of dals this is a v nutritious high protein dosa esp for breakfast.

    I have a similar recipe andmy Bangluru friend called it adai and she used 1 part rice to 1 part of the mixed dals(1/3 toor,mung,chana) and the rest of the same ingredients with even curry leaves and black peppercorns. I use a cast iron skillet (Sears brnad) and the dosas always come out crisp. I do make my batter quite thin and spread it thin as my family likes them v v crisp.

  • Varsha November 30, 2006, 6:49 am

    Oh this batter isn’t fermented?

    interesting I will try this one

  • Dr. K. B. Mallya, M.D. November 30, 2006, 10:49 pm

    Hi Shilpa..I am going to try your Onion Dosa with slight variation. All ingredients being the same, only change I am going to make is instead of grinding onion, I will fry with little oil and save them.
    When I pour the dosa batter, I will sprinkle the fried onion pieces when the dosa batter is still wet! Fry dosa on both sides as usual.
    Let you know how it turned out…Will have it with my Adgai…:)

  • Shilpa November 30, 2006, 10:59 pm

    Thanks to you all :). Baab, thats a wonderful idea. I will also follow that next time.

  • Shri December 4, 2006, 5:30 am

    Hi Shilpa,

    Was googling for some dosa recipes and found ur food blog. Its so appealing. btw, please let me know if i can use basmati rice for your dosa preparations.

    Thanks in advance

  • Shri December 4, 2006, 5:31 am

    Hi Shilpa,

    Please let me know if I can use basmati rice for your dosa preparations.

    Thanks in advance

  • Shilpa December 4, 2006, 4:25 pm

    Shri, you can use basmati rice for this dosa.

  • Shri December 6, 2006, 1:37 am

    Shilpa, the dosa came out very good and I loved the taste. Had it sent in my daughters lunch box. Waiting to see her box when she gets back home.

    Thank you very much

  • Indu February 6, 2007, 10:59 am

    Hi, Itt tastes good Shilpa.

  • Gauri February 18, 2008, 10:24 am

    Hi, ‘
    Thanks for the recipe. And I am going to try it tonight. What I want to know is, onion paste – will it not leave that uncooked pyaaj ka smell?? I mean, when we use onion paste in any gravy wali sabzi, we need to cook it for so long in oil..

    Shilpa: Gauri, the other ingredients in the batter over power the smell of onion. Reduce the quantity of onion and give it a try to see if you like it. Then you can add if you like the taste.

  • Dr.M.M.Nadakatti May 3, 2009, 5:53 am

    Hats off to you for publishing fantastic and authentic recipes. I’m a pure vegetarian from Karnataka. I love cooking and keep doing various experimentations in different styles of cuisine. I’ve some good recipes for breakfast and evening snacks. In case you mail me, I can definetely respond to that and mail you some mouth watering veg delicacies.


  • priya July 10, 2012, 12:24 pm

    hi Shilpa
    I make a similar dosa but also add mung dal and coarse grind the batter,I also add the the coriander,ginger, and the onions finely chopped in the end to the batter, so it adds a bit of a crunch.
    Anyways liked your version too.

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