Adai (Savory Lentil Pancakes)

I am beginning this post with an apology to Sugarfree Sweetheart Priya , because this recipe was intended to be part of the diabetic friendly food week she hosted, but did not make it in time :(. It was one of those weeks, where everything seemed calm and quiet until things started rolling and before you knew, it was an avalanche and you are buried deep under trying to catch a breath. It was frustrating to have all the photos in the camera, yet not able to find an hour to sort through them and post the recipe online. However, it was a happy avalanche , had my college buddy over for thanksgiving, and met two other college mates over the weekend and it was an unplanned and unintended mini college reunion, which is always fun.

Even though I didn’t post in time, the recipe is still a very diabetic friendly food and I just love it for its taste. I also have a weird personal connection with this “Adai”. In May 2002, suddenly I started craving Adai, so I kept ย making them two or three times a week, and two weeks later I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. And in July 2005, when I started super-craving Adai again, I just ran to the store and got an early pregnancy kit and guess what , I was pregnant with my second child. Pregnancies and the cravings…….. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย  No ย more crazy cravings…… and thank God for that !

So here is my Adai recipe for the Sugarfree Sweetheart’s Diabetic friendly food week:


To make the adai batter , you will need :

  1. Rice – 1 cup (use brown rice instead)
  2. Thur dal (split piegeon peas) – 1/2 cup
  3. Channa dal (split chick peas) – ย 1/2 cup
  4. Moong Dal (green gram) – 1/2 cup
  5. Urad Dal (black gram) – 1/2 cup
  6. fennel – 1 tsp
  7. cumin – 2 tsp
  8. dried red chillies – 2 or 3 (5 or 6 for spicier adais)


  • Soak the rice and lentils in water for 3 hours. I also soak the red chilles with them as it helps them to grind better.


  • After 3 hours, grind the soaked rice and lentils with red chillies, cumin, fennel and salt to make a coarse batter. I grind in my blender and it takes only two minutes.


  • You can make pancakes with just plain batter. But adding onions and greens add more texture and taste to the adais. Traditionally, drumstick leaves are used. They are not available here, so I use spinach.


  • Thinly slice an onion and chop ย baby spinach and add to the the batter.


  • Heat a skillet and grease with cooking spray. Pour a spoonful of batter and spread evenly.


  • When you see the adai browning slightly, flip over and cook the other side.


  • Flip one more time and cook until you see brown spots. The lentil batter takes longer to cook.


Adais can be served with coconut chutney or a dollop of yogurt. If you ask me, they are good on their own :).


17 thoughts on “Adai (Savory Lentil Pancakes)

  1. Looks delicious! Can I substitute different lentils? I live in Italy and there isn’t a huge variety available.

  2. Pingback: Recipes from Diabetic-Friendly Food Week | Sugarfree Sweetheart

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