Adai is a wonderful thick chunky Indian fritter style dish or Dosa. It is difficult to use English terms to describe Indian dishes. Dosa varieties can vary from something close to a thin fritter to being like a flatbread. Dosai are made from flours (lentil flours and rice flours) and are cooked in a pan, so technically they can be called Indian pan cakes. But really, they have little resemblance to the Western idea of pancakes, so it is best to stick to the Indian names. You might like to read Indian Flatbreads – Pancakes? Or not?
This recipe is for Adai, a type of Dosa. Adai batter does not require fermentation, like some dosa batters. Apart from the soaking time, they are quite quick to make.
Adai – Thick Chunky Dosa
1/4 cup urad dal (black gram dal)
1/4 cup channa dal
1/4 cup toor dal (red gram dal)
1/4 cup mung dal (green gram dal)
1 cup extra long grained rice
3 dried red chillies
1 tspn cumin seeds
1 tspn fennel seeds
1/4 cup grated coconut, fresh or frozen
pinch asafoetida powder
1/2 tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn salt
1 cup finely chopped onions (about 1 medium white onion)
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
ghee for cooking
Put all lentils and rice in a large bowl and wash them well (rinsing in about 4 or 5 changes of water). Soak them in 4 cups of water for around 3 hours.
Drain the lentils and rice completely.
Transfer the soaked and drained lentils and rice to a blender. (You may need to do this step in 2 batches, depending on the size of your blender.) Add the dried chillies, cumin and fennel seeds with 2 cups water. Grind to a thick and coarse consistency.
Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients (except the ghee). Mix well. The batter should be a thick, dropping consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more water.
Heat a tawa or skillet over medium heat. Spread a little ghee on it, and wipe it off with a paper towel. Too much ghee stops the batter from spreading evenly.
Pour a ladle of batter into the centre of the tawa and spread the batter in a circular pattern using the bottom of the ladle. (This refers to an Indian ladle. If you don’t have one, use about half of a soup ladle full of batter. Use the bottom of the ladle to gently spread the batter in a circular pattern.)
Add a little ghee to the centre of the adai and around the outside – about 1/2 tspn in total. Cook until it is golden and crisp on both sides.
Make the rest of the adai, and serve with avail or any chutney, even a little ghee and jaggery on top of the adai. They make a great breakfast!
Adai can be made in different ways, depending on how thick you like the batter. You can keep the batter so thick that patties can be formed by hand, and grilled on a tawa. At the opposite end of the scale, the batter can be made quite thin so that they spread and cook like traditional dosai. Feel free to experiment and find the style that suits you best.
This makes a lot of batter. You can halve the recipe, or the batter freezes well.
Add more dried red chillies of you like a heat kick.
The cumin and fennel seeds can be dry roasted before adding to the batter, from better flavour.
Using idli rice will give a crispness to the adai.
Add a little unflavoured eno for some lightness in the batter.
Use gingelly (Indian Sesame Oil) instead of ghee if you wish.
Optional additions before grinding include curry leaves, ginger, garlic, black pepper.
Optional additions after grinding include grated carrots, drumstick leaves, chopped spring onion, curry leaves, chopped green chillies, chopped cabbage, chopped green capsicum.
Include other lentils or beans, even sprouted lentils, as your preferences dictate.