Adai is a popular South Indian breakfast or an evening snack dish with a pancake like appearance, soft at center and crisp edges. It is typically made by combining Rice and Lentils together and grounding into a fine and thick batter but unlike Dosa, it does not require fermentation.
In appearance, Adai is closer to Uttapam than Dosa but is far more nutritious and protein rich. It typically combines rice with 3 or even 4 or even more different kinds of lentils like Tur Dal, Moong Dal, Urad Dal, Chana Dal etc.
The roots of Adai can be traced back to 1st century AD in Tamil Nadu. KT Achaya, an eminent food historian writes in his book ‘The story of our Food’ about the initial references of Adai in Silappadikaram, where vendors selling crisp Adai have been described. This proves that Adai has always been part of rich Indian culinary tradition.
Indeed, this seems like a glaring anomaly that a dish that has been part of our culinary heritage for so long has barely made it to restaurant menus. It seems to have constricted itself to home kitchens and has failed to make its mark on global cuisine unlike its well-famed counterparts Idlis and Dosas.
If you are fascinated with multigrain food items-which are a fad in today’s era, then Adai must be a part of your breakfast menu. It could be stated that Adai is one of the oldest multigrain dishes prepared in India.
There is no fixed recipe for Adai as it can be prepared by combining lentils in different combinations. Adai can be made nutritious by combining different lentils. In fact, it is one of the best breakfast dish to start your day with. Protein in lentils will keep you feeling fuller because its complex structure takes longer to digest. Also, Adai batter can be mixed with either drumstick leaves or spinach leaves, making it more iron rich.
If you love your Dosas, then I am pretty sure you would love this variation of dosa- crunchy at the edges and soft at the center. You may pack it in your lunchbox too with South Indian tomato chutney or fiery garlic chutney.
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- ½ Cup=125 gms Parboiled Rice
- ½ Cup=125 gms small grain White Rice-we are using Sona masuri variety
- ½ Cup=125 gms Split Chickpeas
- ½ Cup=125 gms Split Pigeon Peas
- ¼th Cup=60 gms Mung Dal
- 1 tbsp Urad Dal (Split dehusked Black gram)
- 2 tbsp Sago
- Water as required
- 1 small=50 gms Onions-chopped
- ¼th Cup Spinach leaves-chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh grated Coconut
- 5-6 Curry leaves-chopped
- ¼th tsp Asafoetida Powder
- 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 5-6 dry Red Chilies
- Cooking Oil
- To start with, we will soak Rice and Lentils in water. We will soak parboiled rice, white rice, pigeon peas, chickpeas, mung dal, black gram and sago. Addition of Sago makes Adai softer and it is an optional ingredient. You can skip it if you choose to do so. Soak all these ingredients in water for 1 hour
- After 1 hour drain the water and transfer the ingredients in a grinder jar. Transfer soaked rice and lentils in a grinder jar. We will grind ingredients in 2-3 batches. Add dry red chilies, asafoetida powder, fennel seeds and salt. Add water and grind into a fine and thick paste
- Fine and thick Adai batter is ready. We have used 1 Cup water while grinding. Add chopped Onions, chopped spinach, chopped curry leaves, grated fresh coconut and mix well
- This batter is thick now. We will add water to thin the consistency. We have added 1½ Cups of water now. Earlier we used 1 cup water and now, we have used 1½ cups water. Total we have used 2½ cups of water in the batter
- We have used a non-stick pan. You can even use a cast iron pan. Smear the pan with some Oil. I am using a half cut onion to smear Oil on pan. You can even use brush to apply oil on pan.
- When the pan becomes hot, pour batter on pan (2 ladle full)- on medium heat. Spread in circular motion. Put some Oil at side. Cook underside on low-medium heat
- We have cooked Adai for 3 mins. Flip and change sides. Put some Oil and cook from other side as well. We have cooked Adai from other side for 2-3 mins. Remove from pan
- Now, let me demonstrate a very traditional way of making Adai. Pour batter on pan and spread in circular motion. With a spoon make small holes in Adai. Pour Oil in these holes. Cook from both the sides
- Adai is ready for breakfast. We have served it with South Indian Garlic Chutney and Coconut Chutney. Adai is a perfect protein and iron rich breakfast
- *In these measurements, we can make 12-15 Adai
- ** You can make the batter in advance and refrigerate it. Try this nutritious breakfast and share your feedback with us
Click to watch recipe video