Oats Dosa| Fermented Dosa Using Steel-Cut Oats

Are you looking for a healthy breakfast or light dinner idea that is delicious as well? This Oats Dosa recipe is just the thing for you then!

This recipe for Oats Dosa was born out of sheer necessity. There was this pack of steel-cut oats that I had to use up, and I decided to start off with trying to make some dosas with them. They turned out so, so lovely that I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll be making them.

What are steel-cut oats?

Whole oats chopped into pinhead-sized pieces are called steel-cut oats. The name comes from the steel blades that are typically used for the cutting. They are also referred to as pinhead oats, coarse oatmeal or Irish oatmeal. They look quite similar to coarse daliya aka broken wheat.

Steel-cut oats are usually processed further to make smaller-sized groats (rolled oats) and oat flakes (instant oats). Steel-cut oats are, therefore, believed to be the least processed form of oats. They also take the longest time to cook, as compared to the other varieties of oats.

There’s a nice chewy texture that steel-cut oats possess, which makes them a great choice for porridge (‘kanji‘ in Tamil). Rolled oats and instant oats are more suited to making upma, breakfast jars, muffins, cookies and the likes. I have seen a lot of people using instant oats to make idlis and dosas, but mostly of the instant variety, which do not require fermentation.

A bit about these Oats Dosas

Like I was saying earlier, these dosas are made using steel-cut oats, soaked and ground along with urad dal. I’m sure quick-cooking oats can be used as well, with a lesser soaking time. Steel-cut oats have a number of health benefits – including high fibre and iron, high protein content, low glycemic index (GI) – which makes this dosa highly nutritious.

There is absolutely no rice going into these dosas at all. Not even the handful of sago (sabudana) or beaten rice (poha) that most dosa versions call for. These Oats Dosas are, therefore, ideal for diabetics or those who are avoiding rice for any reason.

These dosas are not the instant type, but requires fermentation of the batter. That said, the batter is not one bit difficult to make – just soak, grind, ferment and make dosa! And, yes, the dosas aren’t tough to manage either – they turn out just as beautifully as regular rice-urad dal ones. There’s no difference in taste from the regular dosas either – my finicky dosa-loving family attests to that. 🙂

Last but not the least, the Oats Dosas are completely vegetarian, vegan (plant-based) and gluten-free. They suit all kinds of diets.

How to make Oats Dosa

Here’s how I went about making them.

Ingredients (makes 10-12 dosas):

  1. 1 cup steel-cut oats
  2. 1/4 cup urad dal
  3. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Oil as needed to make the dosas


1. Soak the steel-cut oats for 8-10 hours or overnight, in just enough water to cover them.

2. Wash the urad dal well under running water. Drain out all the water. Then soak the urad dal and fenugreek seeds together in just enough water to cover them.

3. When the oats and urad dal are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. We will now grind the batter.

4. Grind the soaked and drained urad dal and fenugreek seeds together to a smooth batter. Add a little water to facilitate grinding. Transfer the batter to a large vessel.

5. Now, transfer the soaked and drained oats to the mixer jar. Add in a little water, and grind to a smooth batter. Transfer this batter to the vessel too.

6. Add salt to taste, and mix both the types of batter together, using your hands. Make sure everything is well combined together.

7. Now, set the batter aside, covered, in a dry and warm place in the kitchen. Keep it undisturbed for 7-8 hours to ferment.

8. Once the batter ferments, mix it gently without disturbing the air pockets too much. You can make dosa with the batter immediately or keep it, covered, in the refrigerator to use later.

9. To make Oats Dosa from the batter, first get a dosa pan nice and hot. When the pan is ready, reduce the flame to medium. Now, take one ladleful of the batter and place it in the centre of the pan. Spread it out evenly, using the back of the ladle. Drizzle some oil all around the dosa. Let it cook on medium flame for a minute or so, till the dosa browns on the bottom. Then, flip it over and cook for about a minute on the other side too. Transfer the prepared dosa to a serving plate – serve hot with chutney or sambar of your choice.

10. Use all the batter to prepare dosas, in a similar manner.

Tips & Tricks

1. Don’t add too much water while grinding the batter. Add very little, just to facilitate grinding.

2. Some people salt dosa/idli batter only after it ferments. We always add in salt as soon as the batter is ground, and then set it aside for fermenting.

3. In warm climates, the batter can ferment in 4-6 hours. It took about 6 hours for me. The fermentation might take longer in colder weather.

4. Make sure you mix the batter using your hands, once it is ground. This helps in kick-starting the process of fermentation.

5. Once the batter is fermented, do not mix it overly. This will destroy the air pockets in the batter and yield hard dosas. Mix the batter very gently.

6. This Oats Dosa batter is a tad sticky as compared to regular dosa batter. A non-stick pan, hence, works best for making these dosas, but we were able to make them on a regular pan as well.

7. I have used steel-cut oats from a brand called By Nature here. If you have quick-cooking oats, you can soak them for just an hour or so and prepare a batter in the same manner.

8. This batter stays well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

9. Due to the complete absence of rice in this batter, idlis do not turn out very well. This batter is best used only for dosas. Adding about 1/2 cup of parboiled rice or idli rice to the batter would help in making good idlis, I suppose, though I haven’t tried that out yet. I refrained, since I wanted to keep this recipe entirely rice-free.

10. You can add a little water to the batter, if it is too thick. Otherwise, you may use it as is. I added very little water to adjust the consistency.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

14 thoughts on “Oats Dosa| Fermented Dosa Using Steel-Cut Oats

      1. Can instant rolled oats be used instead? If yes, its batter need to be fermented for 4-8 hrs? Thanks !


  1. heard a lot about these Steel cuts Oats form my sister who eats Overnight Oats for her breaky, but I think this dosa (or for that matter any savoury dish) will work beautifully for me and the famly ! shall look our for these varieties post the lockdown… beautully presented too !


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