4.5 hrs
Serves 4 people
Author: Rajni Ram
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Adai is a traditional protein-packed South Indian Tiffin recipe. It is made from soaked lentils and rice ground to a paste with a spice mix and roasted on the pan like a dosa. Its an equivalent to the North Indian Moong Chila(with more variety of lentils). What’s more its a healthy option for breakfast or dinner. Some prefer the Adai made with fresh batter, while some prefer it fermented( with a slight sourness to the batter). I like both so make some immediately and ferment some batter for the next day.

There can be many add-ins to the batter like- Onions, Drumstick leaves, grated Coconut, etc;. In restaurants, it is usually served with Avial(South Indian mixed vegetables in yogurt )  and white butter. Some have it with Jaggery and white butter, while some may prefer it with sugar or Molagapodi(South Indian gun powder to go with Idli and Dosa). It can be served with Coconut Tomato chutney or onion tomato chutney too. Whatever the accompaniment maybe it is a simple and healthy meal in itself. Here’s the recipe for Adai


Ingredients for Adai batter

  1. Whole Urad dal black( Black gram) 2 cups
  2. Whole Urad dal white(black gram with the husk removed) 1 cup
  3. Chana dal(Chickpea pulse) 1 cup
  4. Tuvar dal(yellow gram) 1/2 cup
  5. Idli rice/boiled rice 1 cup

Ingredients for spice mix

  1. Black pepper 1 tbsp
  2. Cumin seeds 3/4 of a tablespoon
  3. Curry leaves about 10 leaves
  4. Dry Red chillies 3 big ones
  5. Asafoetida 1 tsp
  6. Salt as per taste
  1. Assemble all ingredients. Soak all dals(mixed) for minimum fo 4 hours at least.
  2. Put the soaked dal in 2 batches into the blender and grind to a smooth batter. Do not add too much water at a time. Grind smooth.
  3. Make the spice mix by coarsely grinding all the ingredients mentioned under the spice mix and adding it to the batter. Note, the spices have not been roasted before grinding. They have to be ground raw.
  4. Now adjust the consistency by adding more water if required. The batter should resemble the Dosa batter in its consistency.
  5. The Adai batter is now ready to cook. Heat up a girdle to medium heat. Pour little oil and grease the tava well with a kitchen tissue. Pou 2 ladle fulls of batter in the center of the Tava and spread it like how you would a Dosa.
  6. The Adai batter should be spread a little thick and not thin like Dosa. Make a hole in the center with the flipper pour little oil in it and drizzle more oil all around the Adai and cook for 2 minutes in medium flame or until nicely brown
  7. Flip it over and cook for few more minutes drizzling more oil. For a crisp Adai be liberal with oil and alternately keep flipping sides until it turns crisp.
  8. Serve with white butter and jaggery.

Directions for batter

Soak all the dals for a minimum of 4 hrs and grind to a smooth paste. Drain the water from the dals and put them in the blender a little at a time( in 2 batches). Do not add too much water while grinding. Consistency can be adjusted after grinding. Grind to a nice smooth mixture. keep aside.

Directions for spice mix

Put all ingredients mentioned under ingredients for the spice mix in the dry grinder jar and pulse to a coarse powder.

Add-ins to the batter(these are optional)- Finely chopped onions or drumstick leaves or grated coconut.

Directions for making Adai

Mix the spice mix powder with the ground batter and adjust the consistency by adding more water. The batter should neither be too thick nor too thin. it should resemble the dosa batter in its consistency or a little thicker. Add some curry leaves and give a good mix and the batter is ready to spread on the girdle.

To make Adai put the non-stick Tava/girdle on the flame and heat it. Don’t get it too hot, or spreading the batter will be tough. Put a little oil on the Tava and spread it all over with a kitchen tissue. Put 2 ladle fulls of batter in the center of the Tava and spread as you would a Dosa, but a little thick. Make a hole in the center of the Adai with a flipper and pour oil all over the Adai and cook for 2 minutes in medium flame. Now flip over the Adai and cook the other side too, drizzling some oil. Cook the Adais on medium flame. You can make them crisp or soft depending on your preference. To make them crisp, be patient and keep flipping to both sides until crisp. This batter proportion makes a really crisp Adai without much cook time. Serve with White butter and Jaggery for this is a deadly combination to enjoy the Adais. Bon Appetit.


  1. While grinding the dals don’t add too much water in the beginning.
  2. The add-ins mentioned here are optional, you can try them some time though for added flavour.
  3. The hole in the center of the Adai is made so that the batter cooks through evenly because the Adai batter is spread a little thick as compared to Dosa.
  4. No White butter at home, just have it with yellow butter. It tastes just as good or even better.
  5. Enjoy this traditional South Indian delicacy with any of the accompaniments suggested by me above.

If you tried this recipe and liked it please comment below. I would love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on "Adai"

  1. My favourite! And such a healthy meal.

  2. @Gayathri Anand so true. Mine too.

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