Adai – Lentil Pancakes

Adai is a protein-rich lentil pancakes or dosa originating in Tamilnadu. Adai in Tamil means thick or dense. The adai is supposed to be made thicker than the regular dosas and yet they turn out to be crisp and delicious on one side and slightly soft on the other. I usually spread it crispy thin for my son but a little thick for my dad as are their preferences.

Adai is delicious, protein-rich, satvik, vegan, requires no fermentation unlike the dosas, and is a perfect breakfast or snack for any time of the day. Do you need any other reason to try this recipe out?

Well, as usual, I have taken this adai recipe from my mom. It is a traditional recipe that has been handed down by my grandmother.

Adai, a crispy lentil dosa served with chutney podi and sesame oil.
Adai served with spicy chutney podi + sesame oil

Ingredients to make 8-10 Adai

Raw rice (the thick variety / idli-dosa rice) – 1 cup

Toor dal – 1/4 cup

Chana dal – 1/4 cup

Udid dal – 3 tbsp

Yellow moong dal – 3 tbsp

Masoor dal – 3 tbsp

(Make sure the rice and dal is in almost 1:1 proportion)

Ginger – 1 inch. (If you like it more gingery, add a little more. Don’t skip this as it imparts a really nice flavour to the recipe)

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Hing/Asafoetida – a big pinch (a must-have digestive and anti-flatulent in any lentil dish)

Green chillies – 2

Red chillies – 2

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Curry leaves, shredded – 10 to 12

Coriander leaves, a handful – finely chopped

Fresh finely chopped coconut pieces – 1/4 cup

(A big onion, finely chopped – Optional. It is usually used if the batter remains in the fridge for over 3-4 days and gets a bit sour.)

Grated carrot – 1/3 cup (optional)

Salt – to taste

Water – to grind and adjust the batter consistency

Oil/ghee – to make the adai

Prepare the batter:

Combine the dals together and wash them thoroughly. Next, soak it in enough water for 4-5 hours or overnight. Similarly, wash the rice and soak it with the red chillies separately for the same amount of time.

Then grind the dals along with ginger, green chillies, curry leaves, turmeric powder, hing and salt to a nice thick consistency. Similarly, grind the rice separately with the red chillies. Mix both the dal and rice batter together to achieve a consistency similar to that of a thick idli batter. Use water sparingly to get the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning as per your taste.

Ta-Daa! The batter is ready. No fermentation is required. It stays good in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Making Adai:

To this prepared batter, you can add chopped coriander leaves, chopped coconut pieces, onions and carrot as per your liking. Then take a ladle full of batter and pour it on heated tava and spread it thin or thick as per your preference. Add a few drops of oil or ghee along its sides and its centre.

Thinner the spread, the more crispier the adai will be. However, if you don’t want to eat a papery dosa like adai, then spread it a little more thicker. In any case, one side of the adai will turn out to be crisp and golden. Check out my Adai video on Facebook.

The adai is ready to be relished with a side of coconut chutney or spicy podi.

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