Adai (South Indian Crêpes)

Both of us are South Indians and when it comes to the popularity of Indian food in mainstream culture, we always find people are more familiar with North Indian food: samosas, naan, chicken tikka … all delicious but traditionally are all North Indian. The only exception is probably masala dosa which is a rice lentil crêpe filled with spicy potatoes that you will see a lot on Indian brunch menus. Think of adai as a close cousin of masala dosa with a few key differences that we think makes it easier than making dosa batter from scratch: 

  • No fermenting of the batter required – so you can pretty much decide to make these last minute and get away with it 
  • You can grind all the lentils and rice together unlike dosa where you have to grind them separately and combine so this is an easier clean up, which we’re always a fan of! 
  • It requires a coarser grind which makes it faster – win! 

Packed with three different kinds of lentils, this recipe packs a protein punch and is great for breakfast or really any meal! Typically served with sambar or a coconut chutney, you can also add mixins like onions and shredded coconut in the batter when you’re making it. Read through some of our tips & tricks below to get the perfect adai! 

Tips & Tricks

  • You want the batter to be a little thick and can use a cast iron pan or a non-stick one to make them. You will want to start by pouring a large spoonful in the middle of the greased pan and slowly circle the batter outwards in a clockwise fashion till you get the thickness you want
  • These are like pancakes – the first one always comes out a little wonky until the pan is seasoned so we usually make a small one in the beginning with a lot of oil before making regular sized ones
  • We usually soak the lentils at night and then grind it first thing in the morning – the batter then will be ready for lunch!
  • You can find these lentils at your local Indian grocery store (or can order online from a chain like Patel Brothers) – we’ve included Indian and English names in the list of ingredients below
  • We have tried this recipe with white and brown rice and honestly can’t tell the difference in taste, to be more nutritious you can absolutely use brown rice!

Recipe Information

  • Prep time: 6-8 hours
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 crêpes


  • 0.5 cup urad dal (black gram lentils)
  • 0.5 cup chana dal (split bengal gram) 
  • 0.5 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas) 
  • 0.5 cup rice 
  • 2-3 red chilies


  1. Soak all ingredients together for 6-8 hours or overnight
  2. Grind together until coarse, add water as needed to have a pancake like batter 
  3. Add salt to taste; for the proportions above about 1.5 tsp of salt
  4. To cook – use a cast iron or non stick pan and pour into center and spread in a clockwise motion 
  5. Pour oil around the edges of the adai and flip after ~5 min and cook on other side
  6. Serve hot with chutney or sambar