Adai is a protein rich, spicy lentil pancake. If you like south Indian masala vada, I am sure you will love Adai. Adai recipe is a perfect Indian example of protein combining. This can be had for breakfast / dinner or as a after school snack.
The recipe is simple and flexible. A variety of dals / lentils are soaked with rice, ground and cooked on a skillet.
I have also shown how you can sneak in some iron and fiber rich super food moringa leaves / murungai keerai leaves / Sahijna leaves into this adai and your family wouldn’t even notice.
This drumstick tree that grew so easily in our backyards is used to combat malnutrition in many countries. Google the price of / demand for powdered moringa leaves and you will regret not giving this tree the respect it deserved . We took this tree for granted didn’t we?
Here is a list of dals that can be used. I have also provided their names in English, Hindi and Tamil. You don’t have to add every dal listed here. Simply use what you have at home. The final proportion will be Dal : Rice = 1:1.
If you know the names of these dals in any other language, please leave a comment below and I will add it here. TIA
English, Hindi and Tamil names of Lentils / dals used in Adai
|Bengal gram dal||Channa dal||Kadalai Paruppu|
|Black gram dal||Urad dal||Ullutham paruppu /Tuvaram Paruppu|
|Garbanzo beans||Chole / Kabuli Channa||Kondai Kadalai|
|Green gram||Moong beans / Mung beans||Paasi Payaru|
|Peas||Mutter / Mattar||Pattanni|
|Soy / Soya beans|
|Red Kidney beans||Rajma beans|
Important Note: Unlike Idli or Dosa batter, we do not ferment Adai batter and Adai made with sour adai batter will not taste good. We can either refrigerate the batter or cook it as soon as soon as it is ground. So there will be no increase in batter volume. The amount of batter you get after grinding is what you will have. So decide the amount of dal and rice accordingly. If refrigerated immediately, the batter can be stored and used for about 3 days.
Rice – 2 cups
Mixed dals – 2 cups
Dry red chillies – 3
Garlic – 4 or 5 Cloves
Asafoetida powder (optional) – 1 pinch
Curry leaves, Cilantro or coriander leaves
Onion – 1 large finely chopped
Method for making Adai
Wash and soak the dals and rice in water for about 5 hours.
Alert: Lentils will spoil very fast especially in summer.
If there is a chance that you might forget that you are soaking (happens to me all the time) or if you want to soak overnight, soak it in a refrigerator.
If you see a lot of frothing or foul smell, please discard the whole thing immediately.
I refrigerate everything including the rice and urad dal when I am soaking them for making idli or dosa.
This is healthier than the usual dosa. So what I do is, when I soak rice and dal to make dosa batter every weekend, I also soak for adai so we eat adai once a week. I grind the dosa batter first and then I grind adai batter and refrigerate it immediately and this adai batter will be very useful when I am not in a mood to cook dinner or go out to eat. This is a very filling dish and just a couple of them will make you feel full.
Grind red chilies, garlic and the dal with as little water as possible. The batter will have a coarse texture and should not be ground into a fine paste. It will taste better if it has some texture.
The consistency can be thicker than this too. Usually the batter will be reddish in color. Since I used unhulled Mung beans for additional fiber, the batter is slightly greenish.
Chop onions, cilantro and curry leaves.
Taste is enhanced if sesame oil or gingelly oil is used for seasoning and cooking.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. After all the seeds have spluttered, fry cumin seeds, red chilies, curry leaves one by one.
The add the chopped onions and fry them till they are cooked.
You can also add some Moringa or Murungai keerai or Sahijna leaves to adai batter. Moringa leaf is slightly bitter to taste and dark green in color. It has a very high content of Iron. It is also highly fibrous that makes it difficult to chew and eat especially if you have a kid who is a fussy eater. When fried like shown above and added to Adai batter, its taste is masked almost completely.
The stalk is really fibrous and removing the leaves from the stalk can take a while. Do it while watching TV. Anemia can be prevented by including moringa and curry leaves regularly in our diet. Ahem no gray hair too.
Wash the leaves and stir fry them along with the onions and curry leaves for about 3 minutes in medium heat.
Switch off the stove and then add the chopped cilantro so it does not get fried too much. The fresh taste of cilantro in the adai is really good so it is better to keep it as fresh as possible.
Important tip: Take it off the stove and cool it completely before adding it to the batter or you will end up cooking the batter.
When it is fully cooled, add it to the adai batter, mix well and check for salt.
Cilantro leaves are very healthy and you can add more than one bunch.
Grease the hot skillet well and pour and spread the batter. You can sprinkle a few drops of oil if you want to make it crispier and crunchier.
Oil does increase the taste of adai. If you are watching calories skip it. I make one with oil to satisfy my taste buds and the rest I make without oil.
When it is cooked, flip and cook the other side.
This takes longer than regular dosa. Prevent burning by cooking it in medium heat.
In the picture below, you can see the adai that is ready to be flipped.
Flip and cook the other side.
Serve it with Coconut chutney or sugar (for kids because it will be a bit spicier than dosa). Some also eat this with butter.