Adai or Rice and lentils pancake

I do not usually blog my breakfast as it is peak hour at home. These days thanks to the cloudy weather and hardly any light I get to photograph only the breakfast as it is cloudier the rest of the day. Time passes slowly and the weather reflects itself in my person by making me sleepy most of the time. I try to brighten the otherwise dull day with vibrant food and crime thrillers. One such day I made adai. Adai is a traditional South Indian breakfast originating from Tamilnadu. It is a healthy and robust food that peps up your energy levels. Being hearty, more than two at a time will make you feel too full. Adai is best enjoyed with crushed organic jaggery and homemade molagapodi(spiced powder). South India has a very wide variety of savoury pancakes to offer.

Unlike most recipes that need to be referred to repeatedly to recall the ingredients and method of preparation, the proportion for adai is quite easy to recall. Though traditionally only bengal gram (chana dal), black gram (urad dal) and pigeon peas (tuvar dal) are used, I use any lentil available in my pantry. All you need to remember is that the collective proportion of the lentils should be equal to the proportion of raw rice used.

My son loves this with a generous helping of jaggery:), and my grandfather used to have his with a double helping of thick yogurt.

Dish:Adai (Rice and Lentil pancakes)
Yield: 10 to 15 approx.

Raw Rice (I use organic brown rice) – 5 fist fulls
Pigeon peas / Tuvar dal – 1 fist full
Red kidney beans / Kashmiri Rajma – 1 fist full
Split bengalgram / Chana dal – 1 fist full
Dehusked split blackgram / Urad dal -1 fist full
Black eyed peas / Small Lobia / Cherupayaru – 1 fist full
Dry red chillies – 1 (or to taste)
Green chilli – 1
Asafoetida / Hing – 1/8tsp.
Sesame oil – 1tsp.
Salt to taste
Oil to roast pancakes

Finely chopped onion – 2 tbsp.
Chopped coriander – 1 tbsp.
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp.


Wash the rice and the lentils well till water runs clear.

Soak them together in a big vessel overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Drain the next day or after 4 hours, rinse, and grind with the spices (not onions, coconut or coriander) to a coarse batter – beach sand texture and thicker than dosa batter.

Mix well with salt and a tsp. of oil and rest for at least 10 minutes.

If you are still left with a lot of energy and enthusiasm chop onions, coriander or grate coconut. I prefer making tea and sipping on it. Energetic people may mix the chopped stuff into the batter and others like me can proceed with the pancakes.

Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan to moderate hot. The pan is considered sufficiently hot if water droplets sprinkled sizzle and evaporate immediately.

Crumple a clean paper and with the slightest bit of oil clean the surface of the pan. Alternatively pierce half and onion or potato with a fork and use this as a tool for rubbing oil on the pan.

Pour a ladle (About 4 tbsps.) of thick batter in the center of the pan and roll out to the centre with the help of the back of the ladle. Lower the heat and allow the pancake to cook till the colour of the raw batter changes to translucent and the bottom feels crunchy crisp.

Now flip using a pancake turner and cook the other side pouring 1/2 tsp. oil on the sides of the pancake. Roast till dotted with brown specks all over.

Remove and serve hot with jaggery, plain yogurt or molagapodi.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • Jisha

    Congrats Harini..
    I would like to pass on the KReativ Blogger Award to you..
    Please visit

  • Usha

    This one is one of my favorites and I love to have each bite dipped in honey. I know thats different from the jaggery/ molaga podi combination its mostly had with, but try it, it really tastes awesome….you adai looks just perfect !

  • Divya Vikram

    That is a really yummy filling breakfast! Thanks for sending it to Show Me Your Breakfast Event!

  • Shri

    I have never made Adai, only heard about it.I am assuming it tastes close to Dosa.I will try to make it now

  • Curry Leaf

    Love the post and love the click,but never been a fan of adais.The climate here is sleepy as well.Well a good breakfast surely lifts the mood

  • Madhuram

    Even I add a variety of beans Harini. We get a 16 beans soup mix here, so I soak that while making adais. Actually I have prepared a post on adai for next month's BC theme, but the proportions I use is different. I think that's another advantage with adai right, it's so forgiving unlike idli or dosai.

    Avial and morkuzhambu is also a good combination. So whenever I make morkuzhambu for lunch, I plan to make adai for dinner.

    Reg. whole wheat flour, I don't know if Ashirwad qualifies for whole wheat, because I have not seen it here. Is it 100% whole wheat?

  • Ivy

    That'a a lovely breakfast and I'd love to eat it if someone would prepare it for me. As much as I love cooking all day, apart from toast, I hate making breakfast.

  • lissie

    beautiful pictures! thats a very healthy and nutritious breakfast… great entries!

  • Pooja

    Wow so nutritious adai! Awesome!

  • Sharmila

    I got lobia this time in my grocery … am off to soak the stuff. Wonderful Harini! Perfect for this cold and rainy weather. 🙂 And oh … can I have the recipe for molagapodi ( I assume it is something spicy … which I'll prefer to jaggery ) … thanks. 🙂

  • Nithya Praveen

    Yummy Harini….I prefer this with Jaggery/brown sugar.Perfect breakfast….its very filling too.Thanks for sending it to me:)

  • Soma

    Adai is something i still haven't made myself, being lazy & getting treated by a friend:-)I make chilla ever so often, next I should try this.

    Harini, all your posts are getting updated as "FLICKR name".. i know i haven't been visiting or even leaving comments for quite some time now, but this one came as that too.. i was thinking that it is just a picture, u have uploaded in flickr or may be i need to increase my web horizon:-)

  • Gita

    Nice photos…thats a very healthy adai…I love having adais with podis 🙂

  • Nithya

    Looks really nice and yummy.. the pic is really tempting. Nice click too. 🙂

  • ?peachkins?

    This is a different kind of pancake.It looks very very tasty ? would love to try this sometime..

  • jayasree

    Adding different lentils to adai is a good idea.

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