Over time, I have almost mastered making some things just right, coconut chutney and potato palya - both very important for a successful dose (dosa for other south Indians)
In simplistic terms here is how you make the above combination in the picture:
Dose: 1 cup idly rice, 4 tbsp chana dal, 2 tbsp menthya - soak for about 6 hours - grid to smooth paste - let it ferment for about 8 hours (If the normal temperature is cooler, keep it in your oven with the lights on)
aloo palya: peel and cube 2 potatoes and microwave with little water for about 8 minutes or until just about cooked - after tadka of whatever you want (that's the way I roll ;) add some hot chillies (split along the length) and sauté for a while before adding onions and sauté until translucent. You can add some turmeric with onions if you want. Finally, add the cooked potatoes with some water - after a while sprinkle coriander and lemon juice.
chutney: a good recipe here http://www.syvum.com/cgi/online/serve.cgi/recipes/srcpm2.tdf?0
And off you go, make your own dose :)