Breakfast, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Main Dish, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Tiffin, Vegan

Ada Dosa with Drumstick Leaves

Ada dosaAda dosa is a popular traditional morning breakfast or evening tiffin in Kerala Iyer households. It is a thick dosa made of coarsely ground parboiled rice and lentils. It is a balanced food consisting both carbs and protein and after having a couple of adais, your stomach feels very full for at least 3 hours. Adai is a family favorite and we make two variations. One is with rice and multiple dals and the other one with rice and chana dal and drumstick leaves/methi leaves mixed in the batter. This is a very good way of including greens in your diet. Earlier I had shared a soft and instant dosa with drumstick leaves made of raw rice. Check it out here.

Moringa leavesIngredients:
Parboiled rice/idly rice – 2 cups
Chana dal – 1/4 cup
Shallots/asafetida(hing) – a handful of shallots or 1/2 tsp hing
Dry red chilies – 6-8
Water – just enough to grind to medium consistency
Salt to taste

Drumstick leaves – 1 cup tightly packed
Methi leaves – 1 cup washed and chopped

For Dosa:
Sesame oil/groundnut oil – 1 tsp per adai

Preparation time:
Soaking: 3-4 hours
Grinding: 10 mins
Cooking time: 3 mins/dosa

Wash and soak the rice, chana dal, and dry red chillies together for 3-4 hours. Grind the soaked ingredients along with handful of shallots (or 1/2 tsp asafetida) coarsely. Since only coarse grinding is necessary, you may use a mixer to grind in batches. Add necessary amounts of water to grind the batter to a medium consistency. Do not make it too loose. Add salt and drumstick leaves/chopped methi leaves to the batter. Mix well.

Batter consistency should be thicker than the dosa batter. Ada dosai batter does not require fermentation.

Heat an iron griddle. Use a cotton cloth to grease the griddle with sesame oil.

Ada dosaWhen the griddle is hot, spread a ladleful of batter and spread around to make a thick dosa. My grandmother never used to a ladle to spread adai. She would use her hand to spread the batter around.

Drizzle oil around the adai batter and in the middle. Do not economize on oil. Since this is a thick dosa, a good amount of oil is needed so that the batter gets cooked properly. Cook in medium heat.

When the sides start getting brown, turn over and cook the other side. Cook until both sides turn crisp.

Remove from tava and serve hot. Since this is a spicy dosa, it does not need chutney. It is traditionally served with unsalted white butter or jaggery.

Breakfast, Dosas, Indian, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Ada Dosa

Instant, crispy, filling, spicy, hot and healthy! Served with avial, jaggery, and butter – a beautiful blend of the Tamil and Malayalam food culture. Perfect breakfast for cold winter mornings. You need that sesame oil intake to keep your skin supple and moist during winter. Lentils, shallots, curry leaves, and asafetida make this a very healthy and protein-rich breakfast. Remembering my grandmother, Rukmini, and my valiamma, Madhavi, who were famous for their special ada dosa (at home we call this varatti). Relatives who are planning to visit would inform in advance so that my aunt can prepare and be ready with the batter. Both and grandma and valiamma wouldn’t use a ladle to spread the thick batter on the hot dosa tava. They would spread it with their hand. I think their love found way into the food also!


Preparation Time:
(for batter):  10 min, previous night.
Cooking Time: 5 min.

To Soak Overnight
Raw rice – 1/2 cup
Parboiled rice – 1 cup
Bengal gram(Chana dal, Kadala parippu) – 1/4 cup

At the Time of Grinding the Batter
Black gram(Urad dal, Uzhunnu parippu)* – 1/4 cup
Peeled Shallots* (cheriya ulli) – 1 cup
Dried Red chillies OR powder* – 8 – 10 nos or as required
Curry leaves – 5-6 stalks
Oil [preferably sesame(til)] – 2 tablespoons

Red chilly – Red chilly powder or Green chilly
Shallots – Onion can be used but does not give the same taste. Shallots can be substituted with asafoetida also.
Black gram – White urad dal can be used and does not affect the taste.

Wash and soak the raw rice, parboiled rice, and chana dal overnight.
Grind the dals and rice along with shallots, red chillies, and curry leaves to make a coarse paste. Ensure that the batter is very coarse and not watery. Add salt. The trick to get the right consistency is to remove all water from the soaked rice and grind with very little water.


Heat griddle and pour about a full ladle of batter on to the griddle.

Spread the batter around by patting with a flat spoon to a make a circle. The fire should be on high.


Add a tsp of oil around the dosai and let it cook for about a minute.



Flip the dosai and cook in medium heat for another minute.


Smells Yummy!
Serve hot directly onto the plate!


List of accompaniments:
Sambhar, chutney, or butter.

Health Benefits/Alerts:
You can store this batter in the fridge for 2-3 days. Those who prefer sour dosai can let the batter ferment for 5-6 hours and then use it.

This is a very healthy diet. The use of asafoetida/shallots helps in easy digestion. Curry leaves have a great cleansing effect on the intestines. Weight watchers should watch out for the butter they eat with the Ada Dosai though!

This recipe is a beautiful blend of the Tamil and Malayalam food culture. Everyone in our family, irrespective of age, has been a huge fan of Ada dosai. And all new additions to the family have come around to liking it equally well. Its all about the smell….!!

Skill Level:

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