Adai I Recipe - Delicious Vegetarian Indian Cuisine | Food Recipes

Adai I

Adai I Recipe - Delicious Vegetarian Indian Cuisine | Food Recipes
Region / culture: India | Preparation time: 6 hours | Cooking time: 2 minutes per pancake | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Adai I
Adai I

Adai is a nutritious and hearty South Indian pancake made from a fermented batter of rice and mixed lentils. This savory dish is a staple in Tamil Nadu cuisine and is known for its rich texture and flavorful spices. Unlike the more common dosa, Adai is thicker, heavier, and packed with proteins and vitamins, making it a wholesome meal option. It's typically served for breakfast or dinner and can be enjoyed with a variety of chutneys or jaggery.


The origin of Adai can be traced back to the Tamil regions of South India, where it has been a traditional dish for centuries. It is believed to have been a staple food for the working class due to its high nutritional value and the sustained energy it provides. Over time, Adai has evolved, with various regions adding their unique twist to the basic recipe, incorporating local flavors and ingredients.


How to prepare

  1. Soak the rice for 4 hours and the lentils for 2 hours.
  2. Grind the mixture into a thick paste.
  3. Allow the batter to ferment for 4–6 hours and refrigerate it overnight.
  4. During grinding, you can add herbs and spices like coriander, ginger, pepper/red chilli, and cumin seeds for additional taste.
  5. Add salt according to your taste and pour the batter onto a hot griddle to make thin pancakes.
  6. Cook until the top side appears spongy.
  7. Flip the pancake and cook until golden brown (total griddling time will be about 2 minutes).
  8. Moisten the griddle plate with olive oil and enjoy the delicious and healthy breakfast.


  • You can choose to flavor the batter with onion, ginger, or fresh herbs according to taste. Most popular Indian breakfast items are a combination of cereals and pulses. This combination provides carbohydrates and protein, both of which are important at the start of the day. Additionally, these breakfast items are fermented, which converts carbohydrates and sugar into beneficial acids, thereby increasing their nutritive value.
  • 1. Quinoa Adai: Substitute half of the rice with quinoa for a protein-packed variation.
  • 2. Spinach Adai: Add finely chopped spinach to the batter for an iron-rich version.
  • 3. Cheese Adai: Sprinkle grated cheese on top of the Adai while it cooks for a delicious, gooey twist.
  • 1. Quinoa Adai: Substitute half of the rice with quinoa for a protein-packed variation.
  • 2. Spinach Adai: Add finely chopped spinach to the batter for an iron-rich version.
  • 3. Cheese Adai: Sprinkle grated cheese on top of the Adai while it's cooking on the griddle for a kid-friendly twist.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

1. Soaking the lentils and rice separately helps in better fermentation.

2. Grinding the batter to a slightly coarse texture adds a nice crunch to the Adai.

3. Fermentation is key to enhancing the flavor and digestibility of the batter. Ensure the batter is kept in a warm place for 4-6 hours.

4. Adding a little bit of fenugreek seeds to the soaking lentils can aid in better fermentation and impart a subtle bitterness that balances the flavors.

5. Use a non-stick or well-seasoned cast-iron griddle for an even cook and easy flip of the pancakes.

Serving Suggestions

Adai can be served hot with a dollop of butter on top and accompanied by coconut chutney, tomato chutney, or avial (a mixed vegetable curry with coconut and yogurt). For a sweeter option, it can also be enjoyed with jaggery.

Cooking Techniques

The traditional method involves using a stone grinder for making the batter, which helps in retaining the nutrients. However, a high-power blender can also be used for convenience. The key technique is in spreading the batter evenly on a hot griddle to ensure a crispy exterior and soft interior.

Ingredient Substitutions

1. Brown Rice: For a healthier version, use brown rice instead of white rice.

2. Other Lentils: Feel free to experiment with different types of lentils like black urad dal or masoor dal for varied flavors and nutritional profiles.

3. Spices: Adjust the spices like ginger, cumin, and pepper according to taste preferences.

Make Ahead Tips

The batter for Adai can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. This allows the flavors to meld together and also makes it a quick meal option for busy days.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Adai on a banana leaf for an authentic South Indian experience. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with a side of brightly colored chutneys to enhance the visual appeal.

Pairing Recommendations

Adai pairs well with a tangy tamarind rice or a light vegetable stew. For a refreshing drink, serve with buttermilk spiced with ginger and curry leaves.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Adai in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat on a pan over medium heat until warm and crispy. Avoid microwaving as it can make the pancakes soggy.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Adai contains about 300-350 calories, making it a fulfilling meal that can easily fit into a balanced diet.


A serving of Adai is a good source of complex carbohydrates, primarily from rice and lentils, which provide the body with sustained energy. Approximately, a single serving contains about 45-55 grams of carbohydrates, making it a substantial meal that can help in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.


Adai is relatively low in fats. The primary source of fat comes from the small amount of oil used for cooking the pancakes on the griddle. Using olive oil, as suggested, adds a healthier touch by incorporating monounsaturated fats. A serving typically contains about 5-7 grams of fat.


The combination of different lentils in Adai makes it a rich source of vegetarian protein. A single serving can provide approximately 12-15 grams of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

Adai is packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, thanks to the diverse lentils and rice. It is rich in B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients play a vital role in energy metabolism, nerve function, and maintaining a healthy immune system.


Adai is gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. However, it does contain lentils, which are legumes, and might not be suitable for individuals with specific legume allergies.


Overall, Adai is a nutritionally dense meal option that provides a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals, with a moderate calorie count and low fat content. It's an excellent choice for anyone looking for a hearty, healthy meal.


Adai is a versatile, nutritious, and delicious meal option that embodies the essence of South Indian cuisine. With its rich history and the ability to adapt to various dietary needs and taste preferences, Adai continues to be a beloved dish among many. Whether you're looking for a hearty breakfast to start your day or a satisfying dinner, Adai offers a perfect blend of taste, nutrition, and comfort.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time brings a smile to my face. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in a small village in India. My grandmother, a skilled cook in her own right, had passed down many of her delicious recipes to me. But one day, I stumbled upon a new recipe that would become a favorite in our household - the recipe for Adai.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was walking through the bustling marketplace, the air filled with the intoxicating aroma of spices and freshly cooked food. As I passed by a street vendor, I noticed a crowd gathered around his stall, eagerly waiting for their turn to sample his delicious Adai.

Intrigued, I made my way through the throng of people and managed to catch a glimpse of the vendor's cooking process. He had a large griddle set up on an open fire, and he was carefully ladling out the batter for the Adai, spreading it out into a thin, crispy pancake. The smell wafting from the griddle was heavenly - a tantalizing mix of lentils, rice, and spices.

I watched in awe as the vendor expertly flipped the Adai, its golden brown surface crackling and sizzling as it cooked to perfection. I knew right then and there that I had to learn how to make this delectable dish.

After patiently waiting my turn, I finally got to taste the Adai. It was everything I had hoped for and more - crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. I savored every bite, the flavors dancing on my tongue and leaving me craving more.

Determined to recreate this dish at home, I approached the vendor and asked him for his recipe. He smiled kindly and agreed to share it with me, on the condition that I promise to pass it on to others who would appreciate its deliciousness.

I rushed home, eager to try my hand at making Adai for the first time. Gathering all the necessary ingredients - lentils, rice, spices, and water - I set to work, following the vendor's instructions to the letter.

As the Adai cooked on the griddle, filling the kitchen with its mouthwatering aroma, I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. When I finally took my first bite, it was as if I had unlocked a secret treasure trove of flavors and textures.

From that day on, Adai became a staple in our household. My family and friends couldn't get enough of it, always asking for more whenever I made a fresh batch. I made sure to keep my promise to the vendor, sharing the recipe with anyone who showed an interest in learning how to make this delicious dish.

Over the years, I've made some tweaks and adjustments to the original recipe, adding my own personal touch to make it even more flavorful. But the essence of that first Adai I tasted in the marketplace all those years ago remains unchanged - a reminder of the joy and discovery that cooking can bring.

As I sit here now, reminiscing about that fateful day when I first discovered the recipe for Adai, I can't help but feel grateful for the culinary journey it has taken me on. It is a recipe that has brought me closer to my roots, to the flavors and traditions of my homeland. And for that, I will always be thankful.


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