Thursday, May 05, 2016

Golden Adai

I am the biggest fan of Southern Indian cuisine, and following right after the Kerala stew post is this recipe for adai, a member of the dosa family. Adai is made with a mixture of various lentils and rice and not fermented.

This recipe was my starting point.

Soak: In the morning around 8 AM, right before I left for work, I rinsed thoroughly and soaked

  • 1/2 cup rice (I used sona masoori)
  • 3/4 cup whole skinned (white) urad dal
  • 3/4 cup chana dal
  • 3/4 cup toor dal

Grind: Around 5 PM, I blended the soaked ingredients in the Vitamix in two batches. Any powerful blender or mixie or wet grinder will work to make this batter. The Vitamix did the job effortlessly in seconds, resulting in a thick and smooth batter. While grinding, I added a few curry leaves to add flavor, and in the spirit of using up every bit of food, I added some pickled mangoes (the ones left behind in the jar when all the pickle juice was used up). They added an interesting tangy flavor too. Finally, I stirred some salt into the batter.

Make adai: Heat a griddle and use some oil to make adai; the batter can be spread as thin or thick as you like.


These proportions of rice and lentils made a substantial amount of batter, it lasted us a couple of meals and then I had it a few more times for breakfast.

The adai is good plain, made just with the batter alone. The next day I added a chopped bunch of beet greens to the batter, which worked beautifully. Ginger, onions, shredded veggies and greens, spices like cumin seeds would all be wonderful additions to the basic batter.

I'm completely pleased at how easy is to make adai, particularly on a day when I'm short on dinner ideas or low on groceries. As long as I can pull out a few dals and soak them in the morning, a good dinner is guaranteed.

A couple more additions to the Vitamix page: nut butter and nut butter chocolate chia pudding.

What are you cooking this week? 

18 comments:

  1. Adais are awesome! I make them with all sorts of combinations of dals and rice (I now use brown rice all the time). The rough proportion I use is 1.5 times dal to rice. The beauty of the adai batter is how forgiving it is. I know people who have used those 16 bean soup mixes for adais; a friend uses quinoa in place of rice and she says the taste is indistinguishable from traditional adai. Adai + avial or stew is a wonderful combination.

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    1. Kamini- I'll have to plan ahead and make the stew and adai together! It truly is a forgiving and endlessly customizable recipe. Quinoa would be nice to try. I had not thought of adding beans.

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  2. With all those dals, would the adai be, um, gassy?
    I'm impressed how powerful the vitamix is - you're able to grind rice effortlessly! I'm in the process of getting a wet grinder (possibly ultra) hauled all the way from India to Melbourne and after seeing these posts, I'm tempted to reconsider my decision. I remember reading in one of your earlier posts that you own an ultra grinder as well. I'm thinking the vitamix would be a good replacement for the wet grinder but it would be economical to get the wet grinder. Plus I'm not sure if we have refurbished vitamixes here. What do you say?
    - Joyce

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    1. Joyce- My diet is pretty high in beans and legumes- so in that sense the dal-rich adai is no different from other dals and curries I eat everyday. My system is used to it :)

      I do own an ultra grinder (we came to own one as a very generous hand me down from my husband's cousin) and I'm definitely plan to keep using it because (a) it makes very large quantities of idli/dosa batter and that's handy for feeding a crowd and stocking the freezer, (b) I have a standardized idli recipe that really (finally) works well in my hands in the ultra grinder.

      Having said that, if I were you, I would think about how often I plan on using the wet grinder and for what quantities. It is completely worth it if you love your idlis and dosas, make them often and make quite a lot of them. If not, then a high powered blender would be perfect, because it can make idli/dosa but also SO many other things. There are Australian brands of high powered blenders very comparable to the Vitamix. I would look up Aussie food blogs for reviews and recipes. Good luck!

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  3. Hi Nupur,
    Thank you for replying. We don't make idli dosas very often, but do make coconut based curries. I do own a philips mixer grinder which is turning out a bit noisy nowadays and am having to babysit it while it grinds. Thus the idea of getting a wet grinder. Is the vitamix noisy? Thank you again!

    BTW I'm having to watch my sugar as I came out positive for gestational diabetes (my 1-hour OGTT was higher than expected.) The news was devastating as food was a source of comfort being away from home. But it's not all bad. I'm finding myself more energetic after cutting down carbs. Also, I'm finding your blog very useful in planning meals. I used to have sona masuri rice as my main source of carbs before. Did you switch to brown rice when cutting down carbs?
    -Joyce

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    1. Hi Joyce- the vitamix is noisy, I would say about as noisy as I expect a powerful blender to be.

      Sorry about your gestational diabetes :( I did not switch to brown rice when cutting down carbs, instead I just eat less of it, making up the difference with raw and cooked veggies and dals. Good luck and best wishes!

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  4. Yes Nupur, adai is absolutely forgiving. Powdered jaggery is a good accompaniment when you are short on time. You can add dry red chillies when grinding the batter to get the spicy taste.

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    1. Shreem- Yup, jaggery is what my husband told me he always ate it with, as a child. Red chillies would have been awesome in the batter but the family doesn't care for too much heat so I add it after the fact with some nice podi.

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    2. Adai and jaggery is my favourite combination, a family favourite. Never understood the aviyal bit, but hey, I like both anyway! :)

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  5. We get tubs of adai batter in CA, so I haven't tried making it at home. I should sic my vitamix on them lentils!

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    1. This CA must be a magical and wondrous place, Niranjana, if you can buy adai batter in the store :D I can see adai becoming a staple breakfast around here with the vitamix on hand to grind batter instantly.

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  6. HI Nupur,
    Wanted to stop and say hello! I been wanting to do so for a bit, but things in life have been crazy for the last couple of years (!!) I can't believe I'm typing that, but they've been both fast and slow, those years. I need to eke some time out for the things I love - such as catching up on my favourite blogs.
    I love adai, have ever since I was a child, but had totally forgotten about them for a while. It was great to read about the modifications here in your post and comments. You continue to inspire!

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    1. Sharmila- Hello! Hope you are well and enjoying your little son! I've missed your posts.

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    2. Thanks Nupur, so kind of you to say. I've been well, though completely losing track of time around my mischievous little bunny. Between him and work, my days disappear. He's almost two now and not so much of a baby as he once was (which makes me both happy and sad). With any luck and some persistence, I'll be able to work out a balance and start writing again. Until then, celebrating the fact that I have some time to read :)

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  7. I am going to try this over the weekend along with the coconut stew. We did an impromptu trip to Coorg over the weekend and got some dried peri-peri chilies and coffee from there. I just made a cold coffee frappe with the coffee and it turned out amazing! I need to search google on how to use those chilies. Have never used them before, but they are supposedly very versatile as per the shop lady who sold them.

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    1. Coorg must have been a wonderful trip, Neha! I can imagine the quality of the coffee and spices from there.

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  8. Adai and Vitamix-- my two favorites. :) I have had my Vitamix for about five years now and I don't know how I lived without it. It is the only blender that can grind dosa batter perfectly, and handle all of those heavy Indian masalas.

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