Spongy Soft Aval Dosai| Poha Dosa

This Aval Dosai recipe yields the softest of dosas, extremely delicious ones at that. It is a slight deviation from the way we usually make dosa batter, something I learnt from my aunt years ago and fell in love with at first bite.

Aval Dosai aka Poha Dosa

What is Aval Dosai?

These are dosas that have aval (Tamil for poha, aka ‘flattened rice’ or ‘beaten rice’) added to the batter. The poha makes the dosas very, very soft and adds to their taste as well.

These dosas go beautifully with any sort of accompaniment really – Coconut Chutney, Milagai Podi, Udupi Sambar or this Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu. They stay soft for hours, even when packed in a box, which makes them perfect for school/office lunch packs, picnics or any sort of travel.

What goes into the Aval Dosai batter?

The batter for these dosas is made using a mix of the fat rice that is commonly called ‘idli rice’ and the thinner variety used for regular cooking, which is called ‘raw rice’. I have used Sona Masoori raw rice here.

Urad dal and some fenugreek (methi) seeds are added to the batter too, both of which contribute to the fluffiness of the dosas. Then, there’s the aval (poha or flattened rice) that goes in too, as mentioned above, with a couple of green chillies for flavour.

The rice and lentils are soaked, then ground together and fermented, just like regular dosa batter. This is, therefore, not an instant dosa recipe. To make the Aval Dosai, a couple of ladles of the batter are poured on a hot pan, which is cooked covered.

How to make Aval Dosai?

Here is how I go about it.

Ingredients (makes about 15 dosas):

  1. 1 cup idli rice
  2. 1 cup raw rice
  3. 1/2 cup urad dal
  4. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds
  5. 1/2 cup beaten rice (aval or poha)
  6. Salt to taste
  7. 1 green chilly (optional)
  8. Oil, as needed to make the dosas


Top left: The rice, poha, urad dal and fenugreek seeds, soaked and drained, Top right and centre row: The batter being ground, Bottom left: The batter, ground and ready, Bottom centre: The batter being salted, Bottom right: The batter, set aside for fermentation

1. Wash the idli rice and raw rice well under running water. Drain out all the excess water. Add in enough fresh water to cover the rice fully. Soak for 8-10 hours or overnight.
2. Similarly, soak the urad dal and fenugreek seeds together.
3. Soak the beaten rice or poha separately for an hour or so.
4. When everything is done soaking, drain out the water.

5. Grind the urad dal and fenugreek seeds first, along with the green chilly (chopped, if using) and the soaked poha. Use a little water to help with the grinding, as needed. When ground to a smooth batter, transfer to a large vessel.
6. Now grind the boiled rice and raw rice smoothly. Add a little water, as needed, to grind. Transfer to the same large vessel.
7. Add salt to the batter and mix well with your hands. Let it sit covered, undisturbed, in a warm place for 5-6 hours or till it ferments.

Top: The fermented batter, Bottom left and right: The Aval Dosai being prepared

6. Once the batter ferments, mix gently. It is ready to make dosas. You can either use it to make dosas immediately or keep it refrigerated for later use.
7. When you want to make the dosas, get a thick pan nice and hot. Then reduce the flame to medium, and place about 2 ladlefuls of the batter on the centre of a hot pan. Do not spread out the batter. Just spread some oil around it, and cook the dosa covered for a minute on medium flame. Then flip the dosa and cook uncovered on the other side. Done! Serve hot (preferably) or at room temperature, with any accompaniment of your choice.

8. Prepare dosas from all the batter in the same way.

Are these dosas vegan and gluten-free?

Yes, absolutely!

They are completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. They are entirely gluten-free as well.

Other dosa varieties on the blog

There are several other dosa varieties on the blog already, which you might be interested in checking out – Masala Erra Karam Dosa| Masala Dosa| Rava Dosa| Mysore Masala Dosa| Thavala Dosai| Broccoli Masala Dosa| Paneer Masala Dosa| Spring Dosa| Instant Ragi Onion Dosa| Oats Dosa| Open Butter Masala Dosa

Speaking of dosas, I’m a huge fan of the healthy versions that Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds whips up, with ingredients like millets, red rice and Rajamudi rice. See, for instance, this Ragi & Foxtail Millet Dosa, with zero rice – I’m so going to try this out soon!

Tips & Tricks

1. Adding the green chilly to the batter is completely optional. Feel free to skip it if you do not prefer using them. It does add a lovely flavour to the dosas, though.

2. I have used 1 cup each of idli rice and raw rice (Sona Masoori) here. You may use any variety of raw rice.

3. I have used whole white urad here. Split urad can be used instead, too.

4. I have used the thin variety of poha here. You may use the thicker variety instead, too.

5. Do not forget to mix the batter using your hands, after salting it. This helps in kick-starting the process of fermentation.

6. Make sure the batter is well fermented before proceeding to make the Aval Dosai.

7. This batter yields best results when it is not spread out and is cooked covered on one side. You may use an iron pan, a cast iron one or a non-stick pan, as you prefer.

8. Unused batter can be refrigerated for upto 3 days, for best results.

9. I have not tried making idlis using this batter, but I have a feeling they would turn out well too.

10. Add just enough water while grinding. Remember that the batter should be moderately thick in consistency – neither overly thick nor too watery.

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

19 thoughts on “Spongy Soft Aval Dosai| Poha Dosa

  1. Aval dosai looks so soft and spongy Priya ! I do add ground soaked poha in my idli and dosa batter but in very small quantity. Next time i will follow your recipe. Thanks for sharing .


  2. I got hooked to atukula dosa (as they are called in TElugu) during my office trips to hyderabad. Love them with coconut chutney especially . use of green chilli is new to me which I shall try next time I make these.


  3. Aval dosa looks very spongy and tasty. Love to have these soft dosas with coconut chutney. Aval and fenugreek seeds added gives good spongy texture and good color to dosa, loved your presentation as always .


  4. Dosa looks so soft and spongy, I am sure it is stays good in lunch boxes or packed tiffins.. well explained and detailed post Priya.


  5. Poha Dosas are really soft and delicious to carry in lunch boxes or for picnics . they remain so spongy and soft and tastes yumm with coconut chutney or even tomato thokku


  6. Normally I add aval or cooked rice when making the batter in the mixer. Aval makes the dosa so soft and spongy and perfect to enjoy. Love the idea of using green chilli while grinding to make it a little spicy.


  7. I love south Indian cuisine, particularly dosa and idli are some of my fav breakfast choices.
    The dosa using aval or poha turns out so perfectly priya, I would love to have with some hot sambar


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