Adai is a distant, thick cousin of the dosa, a south indian pancake made with equal parts of rice and a combination of lentils one fancies. Adai-Avial (mixed vegetables dunked in coconut and yogurt) is a classic combination, a common place tiffin that people in this part of the world love. I am no expert on nutrition, exercise and the like. I can therefore make no claims whatsoever on the healthfulness of Adai. What I can, however, tell you with utter confidence is that this a breakfast combination that will keep you full for what will seem like an eternity. Traditionally Adais were thick pancakes, made by patting fistfuls of batter on the tawa. A pit would be dug (a hole, actually, a minor dent) in the middle of this enormously thick pancake to help with even cooking and to infuse some oil.
Growing up with my vegetable worshiping Appa, I always ate what were most definitely cabbage pancakes doled out as Adai. My Appa’s vegetable love was good in every other way, it elevated ordinary bland tasting fare to unimaginably delicious heights, except in this addition of cabbage to the Adai. The fresh home made butter on the side that was served with the Adai was the only thing I looked forward to. Until last week I had never met an Adai I could eat without feeling choked. My search for a palatable adai ended when I transformed this recipe for deep fried paniyarams handed down by my mother in law. I took the liberty of thinning the batter enough so that the Adai could be not just crisp but also feel less voluminous in the mouth.
Recipe handed down by my mother in law, who in turn got it from her mother in law.
- Raw Rice – 1 cup
- Moong Dal – 1/4 cup
- Urad dal (black gram) – 1/4 cup
- Channa dal (chick peas)- 1/4 cup
- Toor dal (pigeon peas)- 1/4 cup
- Red Chillies – 2 -4 no (crushed)
- Curry Leaves – 2 twigs (finely chopped)
- Ginger – 1 inch piece (grated)
- Grated Coconut – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Wash the rice and dals (all four together) and soak overnight in enough water separately.
- Drain water from the rice and the dals. Grind the rice to a smooth batter with 1/2 cup of water. Add the dals and grind to a coarse batter with another 1/2 cup of water . Add salt, red chillies, grated coconut, curry leaves and ginger to the batter. Dilute with water (if necessary) to get a batter of pouring consistency.
- Heat a flat pan on medium and grease with oil. Pour a ladle of batter and spread in circular motion to make the adai/pancake. When one side turns golden, turn over and cook the other side. Remove from pan. Repeat with rest of the batter.