Sunday, February 26, 2006

Perennial Favorite - Malabar Adai

Malabar Adai
Malabar Adai with tomato pickle, green chillies dressed with yoghurt and jaggery

me: It's your birthday today...what special dish would you like for your birthday?
him: How about Adai?

me: What should I make for breakfast for Diwali day?
him: How about Adai?

me: They are coming over Saturday night for dinner and will leave sunday afternoon. Any ideas for sunday brunch?
him: How about Adai?

me: I was so tired running around with errands today, I haven't make dinner yet. Can you think of something that we can whip up quickly?
him: How about Adai?

me: I'm bored of the usual breakfast dishes, what should we make today?
him: We haven't had Adai in a while, how about Adai?

him: Sweetie, you looked so tired, I decided to make a special breakfast for you today.
You guessed it... "Adai" !!!

We all have our favorite dishes and his happens to be "Malabar Adai". Being from Palakkad district of Kerala, nothing brings back memories of childhood as the aroma of fresh adais sizzling on the griddle. It is the ultimate comfort food for him. I didn't have it much growing up as it was considered as a "heavy" i.e. hard-to-digest food. I have taken a liking to it now however!

The version we make now, is chock full of protein from the various dals (lentils) that are much needed in a vegetarian diet. We also omit the coconut from the traditional recipe as a compromise to the dreaded LDL/HDL ratio that rears its head every year at our annual checkup. No compromises are made with the taste though and this version is every bit as tasty as the original recipe.

Here's the recipe :


2 cups rice
3/4 cup tur dal
3/4 cup channa dal
1/4 udad dal
1/2 tsp asafoetida
a handful of dried red chillies
a few curry leaves
salt to taste


Soak the rice, dals and red chillies in slightly warm tap water for a minimum of 1/2 hour and upto 4 hours. Grind to a very coarse paste. You can add a handful of chopped cilantro leaves, ginger, green chillies for more flavour. Add salt, curry leaves, asafoetida and mix well.

Heat a well seasoned griddle until smoking hot. Pour a laddle of batter onto the griddle and swirl in a concentric circular motion starting from the inside to the outside. Make a small hole in the center of the adai. This is so that you can pour a little bit of oil in and crisp up the center too. Sprinkle a little oil around the edges and roast till golden brown. Flip and roast the other side till done. Serve with accompaniments of choice.

Adai cooking

Adai cooking on a hot griddle

Adai Flipped

Adai flipped over to cook the other side


  • Green Chillies dressed with yoghurt: Finely chop or crush green chillies. Add coarse kosher salt to taste. Add fresh plain yoghurt and mix.
  • Tomato Pickle
  • A lump of jaggery
  • Sometimes a pat of fresh homemade butter is also served

Malabar Adai: Pallakad on a platter !

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At Mon Apr 03, 02:27:00 PM 2006, Blogger Anjali said...

Oh My ... this looks very nice! Waiting to try it!!

At Fri May 19, 01:04:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saff, this recipe sounds very yummy and I am going to make it one of these days. Can the batter be frozen? Thanks

At Tue Aug 22, 04:33:00 PM 2006, Anonymous RT said...

I have to say that this is the best Adai I have ever made. I love the simplicity of your dishes (No grinding a million times) and lack of exotic ingredients. I loved the spinach parthas too and it would be great if you could post a recipe on Vegetable biriyani. I am tired of my old recipe and would like to try something new. your blog reminds me of a modern and colorful version of "samaipadhu eppidi"--the battered copy that my mom gave me when I got married.
As a million people have already said, Great job on this blog.

At Thu Aug 24, 01:57:00 PM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

sowmya Yes, the batter can certainly be frozen. Just make sure to thaw it in the fridge before use :-)

RT Thanks! you are too kind!

At Thu Nov 16, 12:25:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Bombay Bijlee said...


Last night I tried your 16-Bean Adai. It tasted great! However, it made us all very..err..flatulent. I added some Asoefotida but that didn't do its job. Does Adai need to ferment in the same way that dosa batter does?

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At Thu Oct 09, 11:00:00 AM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I came across this post while googling for Malabar Adai. You can also add vegetables like onion, cabbage, carrot, methi leaves, murunga keerai (Drumstick leaves) etc to the adai. It greatly improves the taste (especially onion. And I recently tried adding chives too, with good results).

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At Mon Aug 23, 09:16:00 AM 2010, Blogger Krithika said...

GORGEOUS! My husband is not a big fan of adai...but I am too tempted now and I am going to make it anyways :-D
Loved your upma kozhakattai too!

At Mon Mar 19, 08:07:00 PM 2012, Blogger FoodieToo said...

Have you tried fermenting th batter - it tastes even more unbelievable


At Mon Mar 19, 08:08:00 PM 2012, Blogger FoodieToo said...

Have you tried fermenting the batter - it tastes IMO out of the world.


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