Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quick and easy adai

Adais are crispy crepes, a bit thicker than dosas and a lot easier to make.  There is no fermentation or advance planning necessary.

I can still remember all my friends coming to my house and my mom making her delicious adais.  She will give us one on a plate with molaga podi and will start making the next one.  Before she even spreads the batter on the pan, we will be done with the first – all of us eating from the same plate, Ethiopian style.  I have had adais in other places, but nothing comes close to the way she makes it.  She adds onions and veggies to the batter and makes them extra crispy and spicy.

I make them once every month or so, when I am running out of ideas on what to make for dinner. 

In Kerala, adai is served with avail (a veggie stew).  My mom serves it with jaggery or molaga podi.  My kids like it with melted cheese. 

Here is the basic adai recipe. I have also made a much more healthier version with brown rice and whole lentils or beans.  I will post that recipe later.

What you need:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup mixed lentils (toor dal, chana dal, urad dal, moong dal)
  • 4 dry red chilies
  • 2 green chilies
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1/2 cup or so vegetable of your choice (chopped spinach, finely chopped onions, grated cabbage, grated carrots, finely chopped potatoes)
  • few curry leaves
  • oil to make the adais

  • I use a bit more of the toor and channa dals (together making up 2/3rd cup) and a little less of the moong and urad dals (together making up 1/3rd cup).
  • I used chopped baby spinach this time,  to make my adais.
  • You can add more red chilies or less- depending on your tolerance for spices.  Sometimes, after I have made the batter, I find it less spicy.  In that case, I add some red chili flakes.


To make adais:  


  1. Soak the rice and lentils in water for about 2 – 3 hours.
  2. Drain the water and then grind it to a coarse paste with salt, hing, red chilies, green chilies, and ginger.  I use my blender to make the batter.  Take care to make the batter thick – don’t add a lot of water while blending.
  3. Now add the chopped spinach (or the vegetable you are using), and some curry leaves.  Mix well.
  4. Heat a tawa or a griddle.  I like using my cast iron tawa for adais.
  5. Pour a ladle full of batter onto the heated tawa and spread it out to make the adai – like in the picture above.  It should be slightly thicker than dosas.
  6. Make a small hole in the middle and drizzle oil around the adai as well as in the center. 
  7. Wait for a few minutes – maybe about 3 -4 minutes and then carefully flip it over.
  8. Cook on both sides till the adai is crispy.
  9. Serve hot with chutney, sambar, molaga podi, jaggery or avail.

To add cheese – once the adai is cooked and crispy, sprinkle some grated cheese and fold it in half. Let it sit on the tawa for about 30 seconds, till the cheese is melted.  Cheesy adai is ready.  Some people prefer to eat this with ketchup.

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