Friday, September 19, 2008

Rice and Whole Urud Adai (Rice and Black Lentil Pancakes For Karthikai Deepam)

Adais are generally thicker and hence more substantial than Dosas; both are similar to pancakes or crepes and are traditional South Indian fare. My maternal grandmother made them in the afternoon for tea but at our paternal grandparents' house adais were made for breakfast. So you decide when you might like to eat them :).

This adai is called Karthikai Adai as it is made as an offering on the occasion of Karthikai Deepam (a festival of lights in the winter) when sisters fast, light oil lamps, and pray for the well being of their brothers. It was quite a beautiful sight to behold in my grandparents' village when all the houses on both rows lit the lamps in front of their homes! 

Girls and women of all ages pray for their brothers and women fast. When the sun sets, all the lamps are lit, the adais are made and blessed; only then the women break their fasts. The grateful brothers visit and may bring presents for their sisters.

Once you make the batter, it is quite simple to make the pancakes whenever you wish. Karthikai Adais are not as thick as other types; these are only slightly heavier than Dosa. This adai is usually made with fresh batter; it is never fermented. So any leftover batter should be refrigerated promptly.

These adai are traditionally served with fresh churned butter and the Indian brown sugar called "Jaggery".


1 cup raw rice
1/2 cup Whole Urad Beans
1 tsp Whole Black Pepper
2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
1/2 cup fresh or frozen Coconut
1/2 - 1 tsp salt or to taste
Oil for cooking the adais (about 2-3 Tbsp)


Wash well the rice and dal and soak for a couple of hours. Drain and rinse with fresh water. Grind to a coarse paste along with the spices, salt, and coconut using just enough water using a blender or food processor. The batter should neither be too watery nor very thick.

Heat a griddle or a nonstick skillet. Make a small adai as a sample and check for seasonings (typically food is never tasted before offering for blessings). Drizzle a few drops of oil around it. 

When the top of adai changes color - about a minute or two, flip over to cook the other side; it is not necessary to add any more oil after flipping over. Both sides should be golden brown; the adais are slightly crispy around the edges at the end of cooking. Cook a few seconds longer if a crisp adai is preferred.

Season or adjust the batter as necessary. Proceed to make bigger, regular sized ones (about 8" - 10") and make as many as are needed.

Serve hot with the traditional unsalted butter and Indian Jaggery; or with Mulagai Podi, Mulagai Pachadi, raita, or other accompaniments. Enjoy!!


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Anonymous said...

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