Adai with brown rice and lentils – South Indian Speciality

Another dish created in my kitchen with brown rice is adai. Adai is a Tamil term for savory pancakes made with white rice and lentils. You may wonder why I replaced white with brown rice in this recipe. I have answered it here. Hop over to read it and do come back!

In short, brown rice is a whole grain and is not replenished of any nutrients. People who want to lower their blood sugar, lose weight or just want to eat healthy are in love with this holy grain. I can hear you say “I don’t like bland taste of brown rice. It doesn’t go well with Indian sauces and gravies”. Chill! I have a solution for you.
We have complex taste buds and we crave for our aromatic spices and wonderful flavors to linger and dance in our tongue before it makes it way to the tummy. That’s how I felt during gestational diabetes. My dreams would be filled with plates of crispy adai, jaggery , butter, aviyal and what not! See I have the taste bud of a typical foodie. Doesn’t that key quality in me make you trust my experiments in the kitchen?
I have started using brown rice in batters like idly, dosa, pesarattu and now adai too! You cann’t even find the difference in taste. Brown rice in batters is the magical way to get the whole grains straight to your loved one’s tummy without receiving any stares and shouting at the dining table. Yeah! I know we get shouted at the table or atleast see frowns at the table when menu is with not so usual ingredients. Here is the link to my post on adai eons ago. I had used white rice in it. Now see my brown rice version, visually you don’t see a difference right? Trust me, you will not find any change in taste as well. I love to serve adai with chutneys made with vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, cilantro, mint, bell peppers or anything that doesn’t add excess calorie to your meal. It’s better to avoid serving these healthy adais with coconut or peanut chutney. Well, you can eat them once in a while. That’s acceptable for sure but eating my wholegrain adai with coconut/peanut chutney every other day is a big NO-NO! Also I love to serve them with creamy sambhar cooked with lots of vegetables. Doesn’t it sound like Complan drink ad? – A complete planned food.
Now you ask me “My plate is filled with healthy adai served with healthy chutney and a healthy sambhar”.
I nod with pride that I convinced you to make a healthy dinner.
Then you ask me “What will I serve my husband?”
I stare back thinking about how my husband frowned when I gave it to him that night?
Leaving that unpleasant scene behind and winking as if nothing happened, my reply is “Serve with dollops of butter and jaggery (well, if he likes it) or if he still frowns better serve him super crispy with little oil/ghee and keep pointing out that we will meet the cardiologist pretty soon. Keep scaring  him I say!
Well, these kind of arguments are pretty common in every household. Just keep switching between what he loves to eat and what you love him to eat. He caught me with a bowl of ice cream one night. He cynically said ” South beach diet huh? Eat ! Eat!.
Rules break, mistakes happen and so does we come up with menu deals at home. And next day I made chole bhatura (deep fried bread with garbanzo beans curry) for him.
Makes 20 medium adais
Source: Self
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup yellow split peas/ toor dhal
1/2 cup Bengal gram / channa dhal
2 garlic cloves
1/4 inch ginger – skin peeled
2 dry red chillies
Salt to taste, about 1-2 teaspoon
 1 medium size tomato
For the tempering
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil or any oil of your choice
1/4 cup onions – finely chopped
2 teaspoon asafeotida
10-12 curry leaves – finely chopped
Black pepper balls – whole/crushed
Water to soak and grind
1/4 cup oil to make 20 adais
Non-stick tava or saucepan
Wooden spatula
Food processor or mixie-grinder

Soak the brown rice and lentils in a separate bowl with excess water to fill them both for 4-5 hours. Also soak the dry red chillies in any one of the bowl. Set them aside. Once done, drain the water completely and grind them with ginger,garlic and tomato to a coarse paste. Use minimum water. The batter will be thicker than pancake or dosa batter.

Heat oil in a small pan and add asafoetida, curry leaves, onions , black pepper balls and salt. Add them to the batter and mix well.

Heat the non-stick tava over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Spray the tava with cooking spray and spread it around with a kitchen towel. Pour a ladle full of the thick batter in the center of the heated non-stick tava/ griddle and spread in circular fashion with the back of the ladle to form a circle. Drizzle little oil (be stingy with its use) around the edges and let it cook for 8 minutes and flip it over for another few minutes, about 5 minutes. They should be brown and crispy. Always cook them in medium flame to avoid burning them.

Serve with a chutney and sambhar

Tips: The first one will always take longer time to cook, hence be patient when you have the first one getting cooked.

Additional notes
1. Adai with brown rice and lentils can be eaten during phase 2 and 3 of South beach diet.
2. Also a perfect dish for women with gestational diabetes. Eat 2 of them with healthy chutney and little sambhar. You have to watch your sugar level after the meal. If its less, then eat one more adai. That’s how I experimented with the quantity.
3. An ideal dinner idea for those who want to lose weight or those who are pre-diabetic and diabetic.
4. It is a protein packed dish with complex carbohydrates. Nutritious without doubt.

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  1. This is the kind of food I want to eat, healthy but yummy too… But yes convincing everyone else in the house is a different story! In regular dosa, can I switch the white rice powder for brown rice ? Same quantity or different ? I will certainly make that switch! Thanks in advance – I am so excited!

  2. Wat a nutritious and protein food, loved the addition of brown rice, fabulous healthy twist..

  3. I love that you have replaced the white rice with the healthier brown rice. I have never made this particular pancake but I am going to try it out. It sounds wonderful. Vegan too. Do you leave the curry leaves in when you put them in the batter? Hope you have a lovely day and thank you for sharing your recipe.

  4. Hey Vijitha,

    First time on your space…and i was thrilled as I had made the same adai with brown rice and sometimes with buckwheat or broken wheat and it tastes fab every time around! Congrats on makng it to the top 9 on foodbuzz! Keep rocking!


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