Lentil Adai with Tangy Tomato Chutney, Brown Sugar and Cold Butter Curls

Thanksgiving is around the corner and I would like to share recipe for a vegan dish that my grandmother made. We lost her in 2013 but I remember her everyday and more so on special days like Thanksgiving.

Lentil pancake is called Adai in Tamil, my mother tongue. The batter for this dish is prepared using lentils like Bengal gram (Channa dahl), yellow split peas (Tuvar dahl) and rice. You can replace white rice with brown rice,  wild rice or Jasmine rice too. Adai is a protein packed dish and is typically served with a chutney or coconut based vegetable curry, butter and brown sugar. This can be one of the appetizers for your Thanksgiving dinner.




Makes 20 medium adais



  • 1 cup brown rice / white 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
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to soak and grind
  • 1/4 cup oil to make 20 adais



  • Non-stick tava or saucepan
  • Wooden flat spoon to flip the pancake
  • Blender or Vitamix

Cooking Directions:

  1. Soak the brown/white rice and lentils in a separate bowl with excess water for 4-5 hours. Set them aside.
  2. Once done, drain the water completely and grind them with ginger,garlic and tomato to a smooth batter. Use minimum water. The batter will be thicker than pancake batter.
  3. 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.
  4. Heat the saucepan over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Using a cooking spray, grease the saucepan with oil. Pour a ladle full of the thick batter in the center of the heated saucepan and spread in circular fashion with the back of the ladle to form a circle. Drizzle little oil 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 tomato chutney (recipe below), brown sugar and cold butter curls

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



  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon roasted almonds
  • 2 plump red tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt to taste


  • Blender / Vitamix

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Once hot, add garlic and green chilies. Sauté for a minute. Add tomatoes and let it cook covered for 8-10 minutes on low flame. Switch off the heat. Let it cool. Grind to a smooth paste with almonds. Add salt to taste.

Tips to plate:

  1. Keep a bowl of brown sugar, leave the butter in the fridge until ready to plate. Used a cheese grater to get the butter curls.
  2. In a large communal plate, neatly arrange the cooked lentil panckes (cooled room temperature as butter shouldn’t melt when placed on top). Smear little tomato chutney on top, single cilantro leaf , sprinkle brown sugar and finally place the butter curls.
Vijitha Shyam blogs at http://spicesandaroma.in/
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