Let that ‘potato soup’ post sit for another month. I’m going to write about the adai.
By now you all must know all there is to know about the various kinds of idlies and dosai. But, wait a minute, if you are not from the South, you may not have heard of this less-famous cousin, the adai. Less famous, but I would crown this one as the King.
At the homes of the two Tambram schoolmates of mine, adai was cooked more often than the seemingly more popular (at least in North India) rice-urad dal dosa. The batter for the adai is coarser and never is it spread thin like the paper-dosa. A thin dosa, incidentally, is something I don’t care much for. I like my dosa to have some ‘meat’ on it. No wafer-thin anorexic looks for me. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is actually a North Indian ‘intervention’. Is it?
I have been making these for years…I went without adais for a very long time though. There were Tamil classmates in college, a bunch of then in fact, but for reasons unknown they would bring only paranthas for lunch! At last CY Gopinath starting writing on Tamil food in the TOI (in the early 90’s perhaps). And I waited with bated breath every Sunday…and one day he wrote about the adai (and other dosas)! I am sure I must have actually jumped for the joy of it! There’s not much to the recipe really. He wrote a short paragraph that I have preserved all these years (should probably get it laminated).
In addition to the rice and urad dal, it also has the other dal that is a staple in the South – the tuvar or arhar dal. With the addition of hot red chilli peppers, kadi patta, and ginger to the batter, it makes for a wonderful breakfast or a light meal. Light if you stop when you should. Needs no sambar, and could be served with any South Indian pickle, though I serve mine with the usual chutneys. The pictures are from when I served these for breakfast for visiting friends from Maharashtra a couple of months ago.
You will need to plan ahead to allow for the soaking of the rice-dal mix though the batter needs no fermentation (I had been adding this step for many years before I realized it was not part of the recipe! It is still tasty but we may have to call it by another name). I always serve it with gunpowder and now-a-days, also the peanut chutney. Check the rava idli post for links for recipes for these (I am positive if I link to Indira’s peanut chutney one more time she’s going to pull her hair out! 🙂 )
2 C parboiled rice
1 C urad dal
1 C tuvar dal
1/2 C chana (split chick-pea) dal
5-6 dry red chillies
ginger, green chillies, curry leaves
Soak the dals and the rice overnight with the red chillies. In the morning grind it (coarse) with green chillies, curry leaves and ginger. Add a dash of heeng and salt to taste. Pour a big ladle full in the center of a well-oiled tava or griddle and spread with the back of the ladle. Don’t spread it thin; it should be nice and thick. Drizzle some oil around the edges and also a little in the center. Let it brown, flip over for a min. Fold and serve with your choice of pickle or chutney, or just plain old dahi, as Mr Gopinath prefers.
For an interesting variation on the traditional adai check out Saffron Hut’s version.