Kurunai Dosai

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A majority of my ancestors were farmers, my maternal grandfather became the last agriculturist of our family due to several reasons. They mostly grew rice & lentil crops in their farmland. There were large amounts of nutrient-rich broken rice and broken lentils kept inside kudhil (a gigantic earthenware used to store foodgrains) in my grandfather’s house. Since those small uneven particles of rice & lentil (kurunai) could not be sold in the market, they were used by our grandmother for making upma, payasam, kanji, kurunai dosai, etc.

kd-4 Kurunai Dosai
Kurunai Dosai

Kurunai dosai is a specialty dosa prepared in every household in Tirunelveli & Kanyakumari districts. It is one of the most favored breakfast for our family due to its unique aroma and is more delicious & flavorful when served hot.

How to serve Kurunai Dosai:

It is a traditional savory crepe prepared using the batter made of broken rice and broken black gram. Nowadays it is almost impossible to get those broken rice & broken lentils, so we are using regular rice & black gram lentils for making this dosai. Black gram is beneficial to women’s health particularly to strengthen their hip bones, so it is often served to young girls & pregnant women along with the sweet (ulundhu kali) made of black gram & palm jaggery.

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Breakfast with Kurunai dosai & ulundhang kali

Since this dosai goes well with spicy chutney, it is usually served with hotter chutney made of red chillies & raw shallots (pacha vengaya chutney) mixed with copious amounts of cold-pressed sesame oil (chekku ennai).

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Kurunai dosai with Chinna vengaya chutney

Instead of adding sesame oil into the chutney, some like to take this chutney along with curd (yogurt).

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Kurunai dosai with kara chutney & curd

For people or children who can not withstand the heat of this spicy chutney we can serve with coconut chutney & garlic-chilli powder (poondu milagai podi).

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Kurunai dosai with spicy coconut chutney & poondu milagai podi


For batter:
Idli rice4 cups (approx. 800 g)
Black gram (whole/split)1 cup (200g)
Fenugreek seeds (vendhayam)1 tbsp
Salt2 tbsp
For making dosa:
Sesame oil (nallennai)as needed
kurunai-dosai-maavu-ingredients Kurunai Dosai

How to make kurunai dosai batter:

First we need to soak the rice for 4 hours, and lentils & fenugreek seeds for 1 hour. Then grind them separately in a wet grinder, mix both the batter along with salt and allow it to ferment for 8 hours. You may click here for some essential tips for preparing perfect batter for idli/dosa.

kurunai-dosa-batter Kurunai Dosai
Kurunai dosai maavu

Dosai making:

With this batter we can make both spongy dosa (uthappam/ pancake) and crispy dosa (crepe) as shown below. You can also click here for the dosa making tips.

kurunai-dosai Kurunai Dosai
Kurunai dosai (crispy or spongy)

Any spicy tangy chutney or kuzhambu goes well with kurunai dosai, so we can use kara chutney, pulikuzhambu, sambar, or idli powder as accompaniments. You can check out the recipes of commonly served accompaniments for kurunai dosai like spicy shallot chutney & flavorful garlic-chilli powder in the next page.

kurunai-dosai-side-dish Kurunai Dosai
Side dish for Kurunai Dosai

"Kurunai Dosai" table of contents

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  1. Excellent recipe for Sunday breakfast ! One question though … Malagai Podi — is it same as Malga Podi powder / gun powder ? I am on hunt for an authentic Malga Podi recipe …

  2. Megala. I enjoyed reading the post about your family. This is another healthy and yummy dosa recipe.

  3. It seems heartbreaking that even Indians are on the verge of loosing their entire Food Culture and heritage to the so called ‘Advancement of life’. But then in midst of that –by seeing posts like yours gives me hope that there are people who will carry the heritage and knowledge of our country ahead and give to our younger generation to pursue. Keep sharing your knowledge about food. Good Day

    1. I’m so delighted to find your comment resonating my thoughts. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. This type of dosa is new to me .It is so nice that you carry on the traditions that you learnt and are sharing it .Looks very healthy and delicious am sure the hot chutney would be amazing with it. Lovely share Megala !

  5. (EN) Dosai are my favourite dish and I too use rice and urad dal for the batter. It’s so nice to learn from you these tasty recipes from you.I’ll try this. Thanks so much for sharing Megala ?
    (IT) I dosai sono il mio piatto preferito e anch’io uso riso e urad dal. Γ‰ cosΓ¬ bello imparare queste ricette saporite da te. La proverΓ². Grazie mille per la condivisione Megala ?

  6. Sometime back nothing it was wasted and from leftovers amazing dishes used to come out ?
    Nowadays people are wasting a lot of food unfortunately!
    It looks really delicious dear Megala! ??

  7. Yum! I loved hearing about your agricultural roots too. Shame you can’t find the broken bits anymore~ I hope today’s farmers still use them and don’t throw them away.

    1. I think those nutritious sandy grains are sold as animal feed nowadays. πŸ™‚
      Thanks, Kristen!

  8. Black urad is indeed very beneficial especially for young girls and women, my dadi used to tell us about it’s benefits.. I too come from the family of farmers from North India, and have seen grains stocked in pots in one room. thanks for sharing different dosa or dosai recipe.

    1. We, south Indians, do prepare dishes using blackgram a lot. I’m glad you liked this recipe.
      Thank you.

  9. Though I used to make dosa this way, never knew it’s name, “Kurunai Dosai”! We use coconut chutney with green chillies or tomato chutney with this. Thanks for sharing Megala!

    1. Actually we are not supposed to call it as kurunai dosai as no kurunai is used in here nowadays. πŸ™‚
      It is so nice to hear that you are still making the batter using de-skinned urad dal.
      Thank you so much!

  10. Thank you for this authentic, traditional recipe. I wonder if the youngsters of today would have even heard of these dishes from the past.
    This post brought memories of my own childhood many decades ago. My father’s family had farms in the suburbs which we visited once a month. I remember the room in my paternal grandmother’s house which was piled with bags of grain right up to the ceiling. There also used to be a bullock and cart tied up near the front entrance. As time passed for the reasons you said the farms were sold.
    Lifestyes have changed so much!

    1. Yes! I’m so delighted that this post made you reminisce about your childhood days spent in your grandfather’s farm. It also took me to those happy days, and I realize that we lived in such a safe environment free from pollutants. I do hope that people would go back to farming sooner or later. πŸ™‚
      Thanks much for sharing your thoughts.

  11. Such a quite interesting dosa, looks satisfying and filling ?
    You know what… I’m a huge fan of dosas, definitely give it a try sometime ?
    And the picture makes me droolicious ?

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