Adai | How to make Adai

By Sujata Shukla  |  5th Sep 2015  |  
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  • Photo of Adai by Sujata Shukla at BetterButter
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Video for key ingredients

  • Sambhar Powder

  • How to make Idli/Dosa Batter

About Adai Recipe

A traditional breakfast in both Tamilnadu and in Kerala, this is a hearty, filling mixed lentil dish, of the dosa variety. Adai and Avial are a very nice combo, but for breakfast I like to serve it the way I had it when I was young - with jaggery and a pat of butter. White unsalted butter is the best choice for taste, if you have it at home, though I have used yellow unsalted butter to serve with the adai today. This dish is heavy enough for brunch or even for dinner.


Ingredients to make Adai

  • Idli rice 1 cup
  • Raw rice 1 cup
  • Channa dhal (Kadala Paruppu) 1/2 cup
  • Thowar dhal 1/4 cup
  • Urad dhal 2 tablespoons
  • Moong dhal 2 tablespoons
  • Dry Red chillies 5-8
  • asafoetida / Hing 1/8 teaspoon
  • Fresh coconut small thin pieces- 2 tablespoons
  • shallots (sambar onions) minced 1/2 cup
  • curry leaves minced 2 tablespoons
  • salt to taste
  • Sesame oil to fry the adai

How to make Adai

  1. The actual hands on time to make this dish, is about 20 minutes, the rest of the time is required for the rice and dals to soak and ferment.
  2. Wash the raw rice and idli rice and set aside to soak, together, for 2 hours.
  3. Wash all the dals, and set aside to soak, together, for 2 hours.
  4. At the end of the 2 hours, start the process of grinding the ingredients to make the bater.
  5. In the wet grinder / mixie or food processor, grind the red chilies (after removing the stalks) with Hing and a little salt. I used 5 chillies, but you can use more or less depending on how spicy the chillies are and to your taste.
  6. Drain and add the rice, grinding with as little water as is required to make it into a coarse paste with the rice getting the texture of semolina (chiroti rava). Remove the ground paste from the mixie.
  7. Drain and Grind the dals to a coarse paste. Remove from the mixe and mix both the ground rice and dals together to form the batter for the Adai.
  8. Cover the batter and leave aside to ferment for 3-4 hours. I let it ferment for 3 hours, as I like the taste when Adai is made at this stage.
  9. if you are getting the batter ready for breakfast the next morning, as I do, after it has fermented for 3-4 hours the previous evening, cover and keep in the fridge.
  10. To make the Adai: Take batter from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  11. Meanwhile, mince shallots, curry leaves and cut the fresh coconut pieces into small thin bits. Mix into the adai batter, and add salt to taste, keeping in mind the salt already added during grinding.
  12. Heat the iron skillet/ dosa tava. When the tava is really hot, lower the flame, add a spoonful of sesame oil. Other oils can be used, but sesame oil gives a great taste.
  13. Pour a large ladle full of the batter on the tava, and spread it quickly with the back of the ladle, like a dosa/pancake. My mom would make small cuts near the circumference of the adai, one at each side, and pour a few drops of oil in them
  14. If the tava was hot when you started making the adai, it should take about 2 minutes for one side to get done. Carefully lift the edges of the adai, check that it is getting to an orangey red, and then flilp the adai.
  15. Add a few drops of oil around the edges, and remove from the tava after 1.5 to 2 minutes.
  16. Serve with pieces of jaggery, mulagai podi (Dosa chilly powder/ gun powder) and a pat of white unsalted butter.

My Tip:

To flip the adai without tearing or breaking it, gently try lifting the edges, all around, using the flat 'dosa spatula'. Then, slide the spatula beneath the adai and check that it is done (the adai will lift off without resisting). Carefully lift and gently flip, making sure the adai is laid at the centre of the tava.

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