Monday, January 21, 2008

Adai (Rice and Mixed Lentil Pancakes)

One taste and you are hooked! These nutritious and easy to make pancakes are great for breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack; in fact just about any time at all! These are thicker than Dosas and make a substantial meal. Adai batter lends itself to making an amazing variety of good eats. I make extra batter to keep in the fridge to make a quick meal in one of its many incarnations - vegetable adais, kunukku, etc.!

My photographer is busy at the moment; so pictures will be forthcoming soon:)! Enjoy the adais!


1 cup white rice (any type)
1 cup brown rice (any type)
1/4 cup Urad dal
1/4 cup Chana dal
1/4 cup Toor dal
2 dry Red Chilies
2 thin round slices fresh Ginger (Opt)
2 sprigs fresh Curry Leaves
1 big pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
2 tsp Salt
Oil for cooking the Adais
Condiments for serving


Wash and soak the rices in one container with plenty of water. One can also use just one type of rice; I like to incorporate whole grains wherever I possibly can.

Sort the dals to remove debris or small rocks; wash and soak the dals together in a separate container. Both the rices and the dals should be soaked for about 2 to 3 hours. Or soak overnight if you are preparing the adais in the morning.

Drain the rice, rinse and grind using a blender with just enough water(about 1/2 cup) to make an almost smooth paste. This process may have to be done in 2 batches. Remove to a large mixing bowl. Place chilies, ginger, spices, salt and the drained and rinsed dals in the blender container with about 1/2 cup of water to blend. Grind the dals coarsely and mix with the ground rice. Rinse the blender with a few tablespoons of water and add to the batter. Mix well to make a moderately thick batter; add a little more water if necessary. All together no more than 2 cups of water should be used. The above amount of rice and dals makes about 6 cups of batter.
Let the batter rest while the griddle is getting heated. If you are not making the adais right away, the batter should be refrigerated until ready to use.

Heat a non-stick skillet or a seasoned cast iron griddle until hot. Scrunch up a clean sheet of paper towel and lightly dip in cooking oil and wipe the griddle or skillet to coat with oil. When the griddle is hot (a flick of a water droplet will sizzle and dry up within a few seconds) pour 1 tablespoon of the batter and drizzle a few drops of oil around it. This first adai is the tester to see the consistency of the batter and also can be tasted to see if it is seasoned well. As soon as the edges change color, use a thin spatula to loosen the edges and bottom. Turn to cook the other side. Remove to a plate; taste; adjust the seasonings to the batter if you wish.

Wipe the griddle with the oily paper towel between making adais or whenever there are little particles sticking to the griddle. Pour about a half cup or so of the batter in the center of the griddle and quickly spread the batter outwards with the back of the spoon in a spiral (circular) motion into a nice round pancake about 8 to 9 inches in diameter. It will be a thick pancake. Drizzle a few drops of oil all around and let cook for a minute. Loosen edges and bottom carefully and flip over to cook the top side. Remove when the other side is golden brown. Adjust the heat so that the adais cook in about one minute per side. Serve hot off the griddle while it is still crispy around the edges.

The traditional sides for the fresh adais are the Indian brown sugar called Gud (also called Jaggery) or honey and fresh, unsalted butter. Adais are great all by themselves or any number of other sides such as jams or preserves, chutneys, and Indian pickles. My family loves them with steaming mugs of Masala Chai.

Note: On the first day Adais are made with the fresh batter and are served with fresh unsalted butter and honey or Jaggery/Gud (Indian brown sugar).

The leftover batter ferments on standing. So on the second day the adais are a bit tangy and are served with Mulaga Podi (a classic South Indian Dry Chutney) or another hot chutney or pickle instead of butter/gud/honey. Sometimes chopped onions and/or cabbage or spinach are mixed with the fermented batter to make veggie adais.

Or one can make wonderful muffin-like Vellai Appam or Morappam with the fermented batter which make lovely snacks anytime especially with a hot cup of Masala Chai in the afternoon. I add lots of finely chopped or grated veggies to boost the nutrition and taste. To make Vellai Appam or Mor Appam one needs a special pan; the Scandinavian ableskiever pan is perfect for this.

For making Kunukku, tablespoons of the above batter are simply deep fried until golden brown and served with a chutney or ketchup.


Anonymous said...

Hello Geetha:

Thank you for the Adai recipe. I am copying it as I write.

Geetha said...

Way to go Linola! Now I hope the recipe works for you. Let me know the results; as you well know, the proof's in know :).