I hope that there is no need for any introduction to the famous Saravana Bhavan restaurant of Chennai. During my younger years, it was the ultimate place to go and eat; of course, we’ve progressed to higher levels of eateries over the years.
The visits to Saravana Bhavan excited everyone. It was their sambar and coconut chutney that attracted people in huge numbers and some of them literally drank that sambar. I think there are many out there who still drink that tangy and spicy preparation.
There was this Adai with Aviyal combo which was my favourite, actually still is. While Adai is basically Dal Dosa, the Aviyal is fantastic blend of vegetables in mild coconut gravy. Now that’s some combination, which has not found a match still.
Even if I make sambar or chutney to go with Adai, the taste buds beg for that Aviyal to be present. So, at my home there’s no Adai if there’s no Aviyal. Of course milagai podi is always there with anything.
Par-boiled / Idly rice – 1 cup
Raw rice – 1 cup
Toor Dal – ½ cup
Chana Dal – ¾ cup
Urid dal – ¼ cup
Red chillies – 7 or 8
Asafoetida – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Salt to taste
– Wash the rice and dals together 2 to 3 times and soak in water along with the red chillies for 2 hours.
– Grind it coarse in a mixie or grinder, along with one green chilli. If you touch the batter with your hand, you should be able to feel the coarse rice against the soft dals. That’s the right consistency. Season the batter with salt. Add in 2 tsp of asafoetida and a few curry leaves and mix well. The batter needs to be fermented for a min of 3 hrs to get a tastier adai.
– Adai is made just like a dosa on a hot tawa. The only difference is that once the adai batter is spread on the tawa, we make a hole in the centre of the adai, giving it a look of a spread out vada. Use gingelly oil to sprinkle around the circumference of the adai and also in the hole that was made.
A variety of vegetables can be added to this batter to make it tastier. Finely chopped onions, grated carrots, finely chopped cabbage, Drumstick leaves, Banana flower are some variations you can try out. When vegetables are added to the batter, it results in a thicker Adai.
Adai made with sour batter tastes delicious.
Now, I made Adai the traditional way, like a dosa with a hole in the center and also fried a spoonful of batter in the Appam pan, with which I make the vella appams. Isn’t it double treat. Also, an tongue tingling tomato+onion+coriander chutney made the dish complete.