Adai was one of the first foods I tasted in my Tamil mom-in-law’s kitchen. It became an instant favorite. Unlike its simpler but yummy counterpart, the plain old dosa, an Adai is a star, hiding complex flavors beneath its lovely, golden skin.It is also, in my opinion, a little more fun to cook because it lets you play around quite a bit with the ingredients so you can make your own special version suited to your own special tastes. To my Golden Delicious Adai, I added ginger, curry leaves, onions and cabbage, and the results were amazing. Spinach or other leafy greens would also work very well here.Now while a traditional Adai tends to be thicker than a dosa, Desi doesn’t really like it that way. He loves everything thin and crispy. So my Golden Delicious Adai tends to be thinner and crispier than usual- a crepe, rather than a pancake. I ground up the cabbage and onions along with the rice and dal, instead of just chopping them and mixing them into the batter at the tail end, to make it easier to spread the adai on the griddle in a super-thin layer.So without further ado, here it is in all its mouthwatering glory, my Golden Delicious Adai. Enjoy!
- 1 cup rice
- 1/4 cup chana dal or bengal gram
- 1/4 cup udad dal or black gram
- 1 small onion , chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 cup chopped cabbage leaves
- 1 tbsp ginger , grated
- About 10 curry leaves
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1-2 green chilies
- A pinch of asafetida (hing)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves , chopped
- Soak the rice and the dals in water for at least 2 hours. Then grind to a fairly smooth paste in a blender. The consistency should be slightly grainy but not unlike that of a regular pancake batter, thin enough to spread on a hot griddle but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Once the batter has acquired the right consistency, add to the blender the ginger, onion, cabbage, green chillies, curry leaves, chili powder, turmeric, salt. Process for about a minute or so until the cabbage and onion have broken down into small but still discernible bits. Remove the batter to a bowl and add the chopped cilantro.
- Heat a griddle (cast-iron or non-stick) until drops of water spashed on it’s face sputter away immediately. Smear evenly with a thin layer of oil.
- Take about 1/2 cup of batter in a rounded ladle. Pour into the center of the hot griddle, then, with a quick, concentric motion, spread the batter into a round as thinly as you can. Don’t worry if it leaves gaps. You can fill them in with drops of batter.
- Pour a few drops of oil around the edges which will help crisp up the adai further.
- When the underside turns golden-brown, flip the adai and cook the other side for about a minute.
Serve the adais hot with coconut cilantro chutney or just a dollop of vegan spread. Either way, it’s delicious!