Adai is yet another traditional Tam-Bram (Tamil Brahmin) recipe. It belongs to the dosai (dosa) family but the beauty is, unlike dosai the adai batter does not require fermentation. Adais can be prepared immediately after grinding the batter. The usual combination for adai is part raw rice, part par boiled rice, channa dal, toor dal and some red chillies for heat. One can mix and match various lentils and legumes and can create different types of adai. Sky is the limit.

These days I rarely use white rice for most of my tiffins (and cooking in general). So this continues with adais too. Instead of soaking rice, I use cracked wheat. I have also used corn grits (it's available in US) and also use brown rice while preparing adais. You can also use the 16 beans soup mix instead of the usual Indian lentils. Make sure that you soak it overnight. Now for the simple and healthy adai recipe using cracked wheat.

Cracked Wheat Adai

Recipe: Cracked Wheat Adai (Savory Cracked Wheat and Lentil Crepes)
Prep Time: 3-4 hours soaking plus 10 minutes for grinding
Cooking Time: 3-4 minutes for each adai.
Serves: 4-5 people
Shelf Life: Best if used on the same day or store the batter in the refrigerator and use it by the next day
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: Adjust according to taste
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram

1 cup Cracked Wheat
1/2 cup Channa Dal
1/2 cup Toor Dal
1 tablespoon Urad Dal
2 Red Chilies
1 Green Chili
1/4 to 1/2 cup Grated Coconut
1/2 tablespoon Ginger, grated
1/2-3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing)
Few curry leaves
1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped

Special Utensils:
A mixer/wet grinder

For the adai batter:
  1. Soak cracked wheat separately with water at least 1 cm above the cracked wheat. In another bowl soak together the dals and chillies. Soak everything for at least 3 hours.
  2. Whether using an Indian mixie or grinder, first take a small portion of the dals along with the chilies and grind it first to a smooth paste adding water as required. This is done to ensure that the chilies are ground properly otherwise it would remain coarse and the spice level will not be even.
  3. Once this is done, drain and add the rest of the dals and grind it to the texture of sooji/semolina. Add water as needed so that the motor does not get stuck and also the batter does not become very watery. The soaked dals grind very quickly so keep a close watch. Then drain the cracked wheat and add it to the lentil mixture along with the grated coconut and grind it for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. The batter should not be very smooth and not too coarse either. If it is very smooth, the adai's texture will not be desirable and if it's very coarse, it will take lot of time and oil for the adais to cook. We don't want either, right? So it has to be in between.
  5. Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl/vessel. Add salt, grated ginger, hing, curry leaves and coriander leaves if using. Mix together with a ladle and check for seasoning. Add more salt or red chili powder to suit your taste.

For the adais:
  1. Heat a tawa/griddle on medium-high heat. Rub the surface of the tawa with some oil and a piece of stale bread/onion to ensure that the adai can be removed without sticking to the pan. Sprinkle some water to see if it's hot enough. You should hear a sizzle.
  2. Now take the batter with a ladle and pour it in the middle of the hot tava. (Note: If you think the tawa is too hot and you can see a lot of smoke then reduce the heat, other wise the adais will blacken quickly without being cooked properly). Spread it into a small circle using the back of the ladle. It can be as thick as you want or as thin as you want. The thinner the adai the quicker it cooks.
  3. Use non stick cooking oil spray and spray it over the adais or use a 1/2 teaspoon oil to drizzle along the circumference of the adai. Cook it for about 2 minutes or until the batter is cooked. Flip it the other side and cook it for another 1-2 minutes. Keep it on the tawa for extra 1-2 minutes on both the sides if you want crispy adais.

Serving Suggestion:
  • Dab little ghee on the hot adais and serve it with jaggery, aviyal (a vegetable stew made with yogurt gravy) or morkuzhambu (quite similar to aviyal but made with buttermilk).

Special Notes/Tips:
  • Traditionally adais are thick with a coarse batter. Four to five holes are made with a spatula once the batter is poured on the tawa and oil is added to each hole to ensure thorough cooking and to get the desired amount of crispness. I still remember how my grandmother used to prepare adais. You can't eat more than one. It used to be thick with some whole chana dal here and there, greasy but very tasty. But these days everybody is health conscious and with the advantage of non-stick pans we need not use so much oil. Also making the batter less coarse enables quick cooking.
  • The more the oil and coconut the more tasty the adais get. So if you are very health conscious you can omit both. Instead of adding coconut you could add finely chopped onions, fried in a little oil to the batter. This gives a different taste. This version is my absolute favorite. If you want to avoid oil, you can steam the adais. Pour the batter and spread it as usual and cover it with a lid and leave it for 2 minutes and flip it. Closing it with a lid again is not necessary.
  • I use the Indian wet grinder to prepare batter for idli/dosai/adai. So I usually soak for adais when I soak for idli/dosai. After grinding for idli and transferring the batter to a bowl, I immediately grind for adai. I feel that this method consumes less time and power. Otherwise if you do it on 2 separate days, you have to spend more time, clean the grinder twice. Moreover 2-3 days tiffin is taken care of on the same day. I usually soak for both mid morning and grind it in the evening. So adai for that day's dinner and idli/dosai for the next two days.
  • You can use an Indian mixie or a food processor too to grind the batter.

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  1. Vani // 16 September 2009 at 21:46  

    Looks so crispy and yum, Madhu! Really love that it has cracked wheat in it, instead of rice. Hope your India trip went well and you are all settled in.

  2. Srivalli // 16 September 2009 at 22:58  

    Madhu, those Adais are so lovely, great picture as always..

  3. Sum // 17 September 2009 at 10:00  

    The adais look awesome... i tried it recently with rice instead of wheat... it was just ok, not upto my expectation, may be because the proportions were not ok.... will have to try this one....

  4. Altoid // 11 October 2009 at 20:54  


    I tried this recipe yesterday and it turned out delicious. The texture, the flavor and the crispiness was just perfect. Thanks for a keeper recipe.


  5. Julie // 3 June 2010 at 04:03  

    I found this site through Srivalli's blog and am really enjoying the recipes. I have some good Indian grocery stores here in Chicago, so I'm able to get most necessary ingredients, but I have a question about coconut: I don't have the motivation to grate a whole coconut by myself, so what is the best alternative? I bought a pack of frozen coconut (Laxmi brand, "coconut shredded"), but am not sure when it may be substituted for fresh coconut and in what quantity. Any advice is very appreciated!

  6. Srivalli // 18 June 2010 at 11:15  

    Julie, Sorry for the delay in responding to your query. I am glad you are enjoying the recipes in BC.

    I can understand how tedious grating a coconut can be..:). I waited to hear from my friends on what is available in US when you refer to frozen coconut.

    Viji replied that frozen Coconut can be used the same way we use fresh ones. But only missing part is taste - for one who has tasted fresh coconut, nothing will match it.

    She says she has even prepared coconut burfi with it and found it tasty.

    She buys from Chinese stores. There are two types - one tender and one ordinary. Tender won't suit for Indian cooking.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Srivalli // 18 June 2010 at 11:15  

    Altoid, thanks for the feedback..:)

  8. Julie // 21 June 2010 at 05:34  

    Srivalli: Thank you so much for your very helpful response! You answered my question very well. Maybe one of these days I'll go for the fresh coconut! For now I'll try out the dried stuff. I bought it in an Indian grocery store, so it should suit for Indian dishes.

  9. Anonymous // 2 July 2010 at 09:49  

    I made this today and it is so yummy. As well as savoury uses, for breakfast I scattered some jaggery over it and added passionfruit pulp. Delicious!