Come on, we all do it.
In the privacy of our cubicles or in our bedrooms, at a desktop or cocooned with a laptop, we pull up Google, type in the name of an old crush to see what they’re up to or a new one to find out who they really are. We peek voraciously into the lives of the people we know, and the movie star we so admired in their last performance. Or we just look up information on something we want to learn more about, like how to fix drywall, prune a rose, or bake a carrot cake.
Much as I enjoy googling anything and everything that comes to my mind, I’ll admit there’s one more thing I enjoy as much, if not more, when I can find the time to do it: Looking in through the other side, at the terms others type in that bring them, ultimately, to my blog.
Most are pretty run-of-the-mill and matter-of-fact, like, say, “whole-wheat pancakes” or “holy cow vegan,” and such. Some are a little more interesting and serious enough, but they put a smile on my face, like “can dogs eat chickpeas?” or “pasta sambar” (if the person who did that search reads this, please, please tell me how that turned out.)
There are some that make me scratch my head. Like this search term that went “Gujarati masala songs scene Jayashree T.” I can imagine that searcher’s disappointment when he (I presume) found my recipe for Oondhiyu instead of a hot and heavy video of Jayashree T, an old-time actress/dancer of Indian movies, gyrating to some ’70s music. Better luck next time!
This one really stopped me in my tracks: “how to cook a tender baby.” Presumably, the searcher had just missed typing in a word or words, or so I hope!
And then here’s my absolute favorite one of all time: “Did Mohandas Gandhi make waffles?”
Now I’d definitely like to know the person who would have thought of that!
Coming to today’s recipe, one of my most popular posts has always been my Golden, Delicious Adai, a South Indian rice-and-lentil crepe, which I shared in the early days of this blog. I love the Adai, far more than a plain dosa. A big part of it is because of how delicious it is, but also because Adai requires less soaking time and because I can add to it all kinds of flavors that make it extra-special.
This time, I decided to make a coriander-flavored Adai. I love the fresh, lemony-spicy flavor of coriander, and it really helps pack a punch into foods that start out with a bland base, like tofu-based dishes or dosas.
I tweaked my old Adai recipe, and added another 1/4 cup of green split peas, because my Lalitha Manni insists that split peas (you can also use yellow ones) add more crunch to the Adai.
I have a guest, Heidi, staying over, and she absolutely loved this Adai, as did Desi, so I guess it turned out all right. I served it with some sambar and green coriander-coconut chutney for a wonderful and healthy Friday night meal.
As always, I spread the Adai out very thin to make it extra-crispy, although most traditional versions of Adai tend to be thicker. It’s really up to you and your tastes.
1 cup medium-grain rice
1/4 cup chana dal (bengal gram dal)
1/4 cup udad dal (black gram dal)
1/4 cup green split peas (can substitute with yellow split peas or tuvar dal)
2 hot green chillies
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
1 cup packed coriander leaves (I use the stems too because I find they add a lot of flavor)
Salt to taste.
Soak the rice and the dals together for at least 2 hours. Drain, and place in a blender along with all the other ingredients.
Add enough water to keep the blades moving and grind until you have a fine batter. It should be just a little grainy so the adai turns out crispy, but not too coarse. The batter should be spreadable but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Heat a griddle, either cast-iron or non-stick.
Using a ladle with a rounded bottom, scoop up 1/2 cup of the Adai batter.
Pour the batter into the center of the hot griddle and, quickly, spread it outward in concentric circles using the bottom of the ladle. Work fast, and don’t panic if it doesn’t look perfect the first time. No one gets it right in the beginning.
Pour a few drops of oil around the edges of the Adai and on top so it turns extra-crispy.
When the bottom of the Adai looks crisp and golden, about 1-2 minutes, flip over and cook the other side for another minute.
Serve hot with chutney and sambar.