Dosa (Lentil Crepes) is the quintessential, and a staple, south Indian breakfast. All south Indians, and all Indians for that matter have grown up eating Dosas. For me, it was just one of those things that was always at home. Don’t have anything else to eat, let’s make a Dosa. Need a snack? Let’s make Dosa. Quick breakfast, let’s make Dosa. But, when I moved away from home, making Dosa became a far fetched dream, simply because of the process involved in preparing, fermenting and grinding the batter. It only took 2 years of video calls with my mum to perfect the batter.
And then, I found the recipe to this Adai in my mum’s recipe book (which I stole :)). I had heard of Adai, and although it is more common in a Tamilian household, food has broken all boundaries and barriers. So presumably my mum got the original recipe from one of her friends and then gave it her own twist. And it is just great. Now having tried it, I wonder why it has not made its way to a single south Indian restaurant menu. I think it can compete just as well with a Dosa or an Utthapam.
Adai falls perfectly in the category of multigrain foods and better yet, a home prepared version. Adai is a Dosa prepared using batter made from a variety of lentils. The key is to use equal parts of as many lentils as rice. The best part is, there is no fermentation involved and you really cannot go wrong with it. What I like about it is its high nutrition content. The protein and fiber from the mix of all the lentils is just perfect, just like eating a mixed dal. Furthermore, the recipe is vegan and gluten-free. The lentils, spices and herbs that are added to the batter can be customized to your preferences.
Now, to be clear, Adai is different from an Adai Dosa. While the former involves just soaking the lentils and grinding it into a batter, the latter involves a short fermentation for the batter. Adai can be served with a variety of condiments such as chutneys, podis, saagu or even avial. Some households even serve it with honey or butter. I served the Adai with my favorite Tomato Chutney that is also my mum’s recipe. Get the recipe here. Any which way, Adai is a must-try scrumptious and high-protein dish.
|Prep time||10-12 hours|
|Cook time||15-20 minutes|
|Serves||6-8 people/20 Adais|
Grains and Lentils
- Rice – 1/2 cup
- Green Moong Dal – 1/2 cup
- Masoor Dal (Red Lentils) – 1/2 cup
- Yellow Moong Dal (Yellow Petite Lentils) – 1/2 cup
- Toor Dal (Pigeon Peas) – 1/2 cup
- Chana Dal (Split Baby Chickpeas) – 1/2 cup
- Urad Dal (Black Gram) – 1/2 cup
- Onion – 1 small, chopped
Spices, Flavors and Herbs
- Ginger – 1 inch piece
- Green Chillies – 3, slit (Adjust as per spice preference)
- Cilantro – A handful (Optional)
- Cooking Oil – A few tbsp for cooking the Adai
- Add 1/2 cup Quinoa or Oats for added nutrition
- Add a handful of Moringa, Fenugreek (Methi) or blanched Spinach for a green Adai and added nutrition
- Add any other spices like Fennel (Saumph) or Cumin (Jeera) seeds
- Place all the lentils and grains in a bowl. Wash under cold running water until the water is clear. Add water and soak overnight (Approx. 10-12 hours)
- The following morning, drain the water and add the soaked lentils and grains to a blender
- To the blender, add the ginger, onions and green chillies
- Blend without adding any water. Use a spatula to clean the sides of the blender jar to make sure there are no lumps
- Then add 1/2 cup water to further blend into a smooth batter
- Transfer the batter to a bowl and set aside for 1-2 hours
- Heat a non-stick pan (Don’t add oil as the batter will not spread. Trust me, experience speaks!)
- Pour one ladle of the batter on the pan and spread it into a nice circle. Pour a tbsp of oil around the Adai. Cook for 2 minutes on medium-high heat
- Flip the Adai and cook for another 2 minutes on medium-high heat
- Transfer to a plate and serve hot Adais with choice of condiments 🙂
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