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