Adai dosa is a kind of savory lentil crepes made in South India. Apart from the soaking time for lentils, the adais come together really quickly once the batter is made. Great choice for a healthy breakfast, after school snack or even light dinner.
You must have heard of dosa, the ubiquitous South Indian breakfast crepe. Thin, lacy, crisp rice and lentil crepes that is served plain or stuffed with a potato masala (called masala dosa) is everything a good breakfast should be. Making dosa is an overnight task, the batter needs to be fermented and well-risen for perfect dosa. If time management is not your forte, adai dosa are just what you need.
Regular dosa in itself is a healthy choice, but adai really piles on the nutrition. Adai dosa in Tamil cuisine refers to savory crepes made with a mixed lentil (dal) batter, that needs no fermentation. That makes it an instant dosa or quick dosa, perfect for busy days. The batter is amped up with onions, ginger, chilies, cilantro and even some vegetables. Great flavors, great nutrition.
Typically, adai batter is made with at least 4 types of dal or lentils and some rice, all soaked in water for a couple of hours and made into a smooth batter. In this recipe, I have used rice, urad dal, mung dal, whole mung beans and toor dal, which should explain the greenish-yellow color of these adai dosa. I sauteed some onions, ginger, chilies and grated carrots in a bit of oil and mixed in with the batter. You can very well use raw vegetables and seasonings too. But I find that when I sautee them first, the batter keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Otherwise, you can refrigerate the plain batter and add fresh onions, etc just before making the adai.
My favorite way to eat them is with a quick mint-coconut chutney. It goes exceptionally well with sambar and podi too.
The proportion of dals used in adai batter is a matter of personal choice. You can use more of one kind and less of another, or vice versa. This will somewhat affect the texture of your batter. Sometimes, the batter will not be smooth enough for you to make them into thin dosa or crepes, but no worries. Simply cook them like you would cook thick pancakes. It’s good either way.
You can also add some rolled oats, flattened rice (aval or poha), flax-seeds, millets or quinoa while making adai batter. Adai is very versatile that way and it is really up to you how you want to make them.
- Rice - ½ cup (I used sona masoori, a medium-grained rice)
- Urad dal - ½ cup
- Green gram or mung beans - ½ cup
- Mung dal - 2 tbsp
- Toor dal - 2 tbsp
- Poha or aval - ¼ cup
- Oil - 2 tsp, plus extra for making the adai dosa
- Shallots or red onions - ½ cup, chopped
- Ginger - 1 tbsp, grated
- Green chilies - 2, cut into rounds
- Grated carrot - 1, large
- Fresh cilantro leaves - ¼ cup, finely chopped
- Salt - to taste (start with ½ tsp)
- Wash rice, urad dal, mung beans, mung dal and toor dal in cold tap water a couple of times. Soak them in water in a large bowl for 2-3 hours.
- Wash and soak poha in water for 10 minutes, just before you are ready to make the batter.
- Grind rice, lentils and poha to a smooth paste in a blender, adding a little bit of water as required. Do this in batches if needed. Batter should be thick, but of pouring consistency. Feel the batter between your fingers, some grit like semi-fine sand is okay.
- Transfer batter to a bowl and set aside. If not using immediately, refrigerate the batter for 1-2 days.
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add onions, ginger and green chilies and saute on medium heat till onions are translucent. Add carrots and saute for a few more seconds.
- Add this to the batter along with cilantro and mix well. Season with salt.
- Heat a 9" or 10" smooth cast iron griddle or dosa/crepe pan on medium heat. Rub a few drops of oil on the pan with a rolled up wad of tissue paper.
- Pour a ladle full (around ¼ cup) of batter in the center of the pan. Starting at the center, quickly make concentric circles of increasing diameter with the ladle. This will form the dosa shape. Pour a few drops of oil around the edges. Cook for a couple of minutes till bottom is golden brown, then flip and cook on the other side for a minute. Remove to a plate and keep warm while you finish cooking the rest of the batter.
- Serve adai dosa warm with chutney, sambar or podi. Find recipe links for mint-coconut chutney and tiffin sambar just below this recipe card.
2. You can skip the sauteeing part and add onions and other ingredients directly in the batter. But it is best not to refrigerate batter with raw onions in it. So I always spare a couple of minutes to saute them first.
3. You can also add some rolled oats, flattened rice (aval or poha), flax-seeds, millets or quinoa while making adai batter. Adai is very versatile that way and it is really up to you how you want to make them.
4. Here is a glossary of terms for the uninitiated.
Urad dal - skinned black gram, whole or split
Mung dal - skinned green gram, split
Mung beans - green gram, whole
Toor dal (also called toovar/arhar dal) - skinned pigeon peas, split
Poha/Aval - flattened rice flakes
Serve adai dosa with the following accompaniments,
Make these instant dosa for a quick and nutritious breakfast or even light dinner. The biggest advantage is that you do not need to ferment this batter. Everyone loves these delicious, crisp adai dosa served with a choice of chutneys and sambar.
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Have you tried dosa? Or adai? Do you have a similar recipe? Do share.
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