Adai dosa recipe with step-by-step pictures.
About this recipe
Adai or adey dosey is a healthy, protein-rich, low-GI dosa (savory crepes) that is absolutely delicious. These vegan, gluten-free crepes are made mainly with lentils which are a good source of plant-based protein. They are very filling and are good for lunchboxes as they remain soft even after a few hours.
This thick dosa is made with a combination of various lentils (dal) and rice. Chana dal (split yellow peas or Bengal gram), urad dal (black gram), toor dal (pigeon pea), and moong dal (petite yellow lentils) are soaked in equal proportions along with little rice. The ground batter is seasoned and cooked similar to crepes.
The batter of adai dosa doesn't need fermentation, unlike regular dosa batter. In saying that, I have tried fermentation of this batter and it turned out exceptionally well. See the easy tips below for instructions on how to ferment this batter.
This healthy breakfast dish is a great way to include plant-based protein in your diet. It is one of the traditional dosas and an integral part of South Indian cuisine. Adai is very popular in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (where it is popular as Chettinad kara adai). The name kara means spicy and it comes from the use of red chillies in the batter.
Every household has its own proportions and combination of dal and spices used in this healthy recipe. Here is the version that I learned from my mother. Read on for ingredients, useful tips, and step-by-step instructions to make adai dosa.
Lentils: Four varieties of lentils are used in equal quantities to make the batter - toor dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea), moong dal (yellow lentil), urad dal (skinned black gram), and chana dal (channa dal, split yellow peas or Bengal gram).
Rice: I use idli rice or raw rice to make adai dosa.
Coconut: I use freshly grated coconut.
Ginger, chili, and cumin seeds: They are added along with coconut and the soaked lentils to make the batter. Adjust the green chili (serrano peppers or red chilies) as per your liking.
Onion and cilantro: Finely chopped onion and cilantro (coriander leaves) are added to the ground batter. You can also add curry leaves along with them.
Soak toor dal, chana dal, urad dal, moong dal, and rice overnight in enough water. Rinse the soaked dal-rice mixture thoroughly using running water. Add coconut, cumin seeds, ginger, and green chilli (step 1).
Grind into a slightly coarse batter using little water (step 2) - see tips section. At this stage, the adai batter can be stored for up to one week in the refrigerator.
To this, add finely chopped onion, cilantro/coriander leaves, and salt. Mix well and the adai dosa batter is ready (steps 3 and 4).
Heat a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet on high heat. Once it heats, reduce it to medium. Take a ladle full of batter and pour it into the center of the tawa or non-stick pan. Using the ladle or a small bowl gently spread the batter in a circular motion (step 5).
Pour one teaspoon of oil or ghee onto the adai. Cook on medium flame until golden brown (step 6).
Flip the adai and cook on both sides (steps 7 and 8).
Crispy and thin dosas are ready to be served.
Related: Quinoa oats dosa.
Adai dosa batter is slightly thicker than regular dosa batter, almost like idli batter. Add little water while grinding to get a thick batter. Adjust the consistency of the batter later only if needed.
Take care not to grind the batter into a smooth paste. It has to be a slightly coarse paste. After grinding, take a little batter between your thumb and finger and rub it. You must be able to feel slight coarseness.
Use idli dosa rice to make the batter, which is the same that you use in the traditional dosa recipe. Any rice varieties that are short-grain also works.
I usually soak the lentils and white rice overnight. At a minimum, soak them for a couple of hours (3-4 hours). After soaking, wash them thoroughly before grinding.
Soak the lentils and rice in filtered water where possible. Also, you can soak rice along with the dal and there is no need to soak it separately.
The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. It comes in very handy for breakfast or quick meals. However, do not add onions if you plan to store the batter. If you add onions, it is best to use up the rest of the batter within 2-3 days.
You can add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds along with cumin seeds when grinding the batter. Also, you can add chopped spinach leaves or moringa leaves making this dosa healthier.
Serve the prepared dosa with a strong cup of filter kaapi for the perfect breakfast.
Click here to check out more breakfast recipes.
How to ferment this batter
This batter does not require fermentation like the usual dosa batter. However, I have fermented this batter without much fuss and the adai has turned out delicious. Fermented batter will give you lighter dosa with a crisp texture, making it my favorite adai recipe.
If you want to ferment it, grind only the combination of lentils (dal) and rice. Let it ferment for a few hours (this batter ferments pretty quickly when compared to regular dosa batter). Grind coconut, cumin seeds, ginger, and chili separately, and then add to the fermented batter.
This adai dosa is:
- wholesome and healthy,
- easy to make and does not require fermentation,
- good source of plant-based protein for vegetarians and vegans.
- ½ cup toor dal (pigeon pea)
- ½ cup chana dal (Bengal gram)
- ½ cup urad dal (split black gram)
- ½ cup moong dal (petite yellow lentil)
- ½ cup rice
- ½ cup coconut
- 1 inch ginger
- 3-4 green chili or serrano pepper (adjust as per taste)
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon asafetida hing
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro (coriander leaves)
- Salt to taste
Making the batter:
- Soak toor dal, chana dal, urad dal, moong dal, and rice in water overnight (or 3-4 hours).
- Rinse the soaked dal-rice mixture thoroughly using running water. Drain all the water after rinsing.
- Add coconut, ginger, green chili, hing, and cumin seeds. Grind into a slightly coarse batter using some water (see the tips section).
- Transfer the ground batter into a large bowl and add chopped onion, cilantro, and salt. Mix well.
- Add water to adjust the consistency of batter if needed. The adai batter is sightly thicker than the regular dosa batter.
- Heat a tawa/griddle until it is hot. Turn the heat to medium. Lightly grease the tawa and wipe off excess oil using a paper towel. Sprinkle a few drops of water onto the tawa and let it evaporate.
- Take a ladle full of batter and pour it into the center of the tawa. Using the ladle or a small bowl gently spread the batter in a circular motion.
- Pour one teaspoon of oil or ghee onto the adai. You may skip the oil if you are using a non-stick tawa.
- Cook on medium heat until brown
- Flip the adai and cook on both sides.
- Serve hot with the chutney of your choice.