A hearty, healthy dosa or crepe, made of coarsely ground and fermented batter of idli rice and various dhals. Adai tastes great with Avial, a yogurt based stew of mixed vegetables. I like to make it for breakfast or dinner after adding a lot of minced shallots and tiny pieces of fresh coconut, and served with jaggery and fresh white unsalted butter.
Adai is a favourite in Tamil Nadu for breakfast or for an early dinner in households where rice, sambar, rasam etc are not prepared for dinner, and instead a tiffin item is served. The dish is filling, and even when the adai is made as a thin crepe, 2-3 would suffice for one person. For a light eater like me, 2 would be the outer limit.
As the Adai comprises a batter of mixed lentils and rice, it is nutritious, rich in both protein and iron. The dry chillies give a nice touch of spice, and the lentils give the texture to the crepe. Using a non stick pan or tava would reduce the usage of oil for each crepe.
Kitchen Hints for Making Adai:
- The tava should be very hot before you start making the crepes, and then the stove flame reduced when you are pouring the batter.
- The batter should be at room temperature. If you had refrigerated it earlier, you need to set it out ahead of time so that it gets to room temperature. Cold batter will stick to the tava.
- If you are not going to use all the batter, add the shallot, coconut and curry leaves only to as much of the batter as you plan to use. The remaining batter may be refrigerated in a closed container for later use, and usually remains fresh for upto 3 days.
- Coarsely ground batter gives a crispy adai. However all the elements should be fully ground.