Adai : Savoury Lentil Pancakes - Vegan & Gluten Free!
If you thought Tamil vegetarian cooking was all about rice and more rice (which it is), we also love our lentils :) The main dal used of course is toor dal, which is a staple - cooked alongside rice. Some of the cooked paruppu is kept aside as is, to eat with a bit of plain rice and ghee as the 'first course' after which the main rice is had either with sambar or a kozhambu or podi.
Adai is one dish where all the dals (lentils) come to have a party. Every family has their own recipe, and adai is as flexible a recipe as it gets. Use whatever lentils you have on hand. In US, we would get the 16 lentil mix at farmers' markets and I have even tried it with that. In my home, one main ingredient is the udad dal with its black skins, rich in fibre and antioxidants, it is really good for you. This adai recipe is made using the regular dals that you would usually find in an Indian kitchen, or your Indian store, if you live abroad.
The best thing about adai is that the recipe does not ask for fermentation, so you can consider this an instant 'dosa' variety, that can be tried even in the coldest of winters. Traditionally, adai is served with a knob of jaggery and a spoon of white butter. Add some finely chopped onions and green chillies for a masala adai.
In my recipe, I have ground some fresh curry leaves for added flavour, plus curry leaves are so good for you, that they should be used in many more ways than just a garnish that is picked out and kept aside.
Serve Adais with Healthy Flaxseed Molagapodi
Prep time: 3 hours 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15-30 minutes
- Wash the 4 dals well and soak them in a large bowl in plenty of water, along with the red chillies for 3 hours.
- Wash the rice and soak in water for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, drain the dal and grind to a slightly coarse paste along with soaked red chillies and curry leaves. Use up to 1/4 cup water if required. Remove into a bowl.
- Grind the rice to a paste, using a few spoons of water. Mix along with the dal paste in the bowl.
- Add salt, finely chopped coriander, black pepper and mix well.
- Heat a cast-iron or non stick griddle pan. Using a kitchen paper, smear oil over the pan.
- Prepare big sized adais like you would a dosa (as seen in this video), only don't spread them out too thin. You can also make small sized ones using spoonful of batter per adai. You can make 6 of them at one go on a fairly large sized griddle pan.
- Keep them warm in a hot box or in an oven on low heat until ready to serve. Ideally these must go straight from pan to plate, for best taste :)
Ways to serve:
- A filling breakfast with white butter and jaggery
- a South Indian brunch menu
- wrapped up in foil and packed in a hot box for a kid's lunchbox
- as bite sized cocktail adais for a dinner party, with a topping of spicy tomato chutney