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Tomato-Methi Adai

After a brief hiatus, I’m back…….rejuvenated….. hopefully!!! I am a very moody person……ask hubby, sis and mom……they are very well versed with my mood swings!!! One moment I’m on top of the world and the next I’m down in the doldrums …..usually b’coz something didn’t go the way I planned it!!!! Yep, I’m one of those “planners” ….you know the ones who have everything planned, have contingencies for their contingencies!!!!! How I manage to do that with three children ruling my life??? When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

As a family, we are not big breakfast eaters but now that the boys are playing football…..ohh did I mention that my oldest is crazy about football ??? He loves it, spends a lot of time researching positions, studying plays….he has even narrowed down the colleges he wants to play for!!! He has even made a list of camps that he wants to attend so as to further his knowledge and skills. I can only be thankful that he shows the same dedication to studies too!!! I have been told that sometimes I have the attention span of a squirrel….jump around everywhere !!! Back to the topic, now that we spend most of our Saturdays ( read 4 hours!! ) watching our boys play football, breakfast has become more of a necessity!!!!

My aunt gave me this recipe when I moved to this country 15 years ago!!! It’s for TOMATO –METHI ADAI or Tomato and Fenugreek Leaves Pancakes. Before you turn your face up at the combination………as a culture Indians do not eat sweet breakfasts, only savory ones. There are no pancakes or waffles dripping with syrup or doughnuts dusted in confectioner’s sugar, in a traditional Indian household. There is however crisp crepes made with a batter of rice and lentils served with a fragrant spice laden stew, pillowy soft idli served with tangy tomato chutney, soft porridge made from semolina or crisp vadais made from lentils served with nutty coconut chutney. Those are what I grew up on and they still hold a special place in my heart.

I have been incorporating vegetable purees into my dosa batters and dough so the kids are excited by the colors but I don’t have to listen to the litany of…. “I don’t want to eat veggies”.  Adai is a cousin to the ubiquitous dosa found in every Indian restaurant. It is the slightly fatter version, if you may………sort of like a pancake to a crepe. The batter has more lentils than rice and it does require the same amount of fermentation that a dosa batter does. An Adai is basically a savory Indian lentil and rice pancake. I make these when I don’t have time to ferment or when I am bored with the dosa!!!! This one has an added bonus of veggies in the batter so I get the kids to eats veggies without all the drama!!!! Usually I puree the greens too but for this post, I went with the original. It also has whole green gram that is chalk full of protein. I generally prefer to make these in the summer when tomatoes are at their best but if the urge overwhelms me I will make them using canned tomatoes but it doesn’t taste quite the same. You puree soaked rice and green gram lentils with tomatoes and dried red chilies, then you add finely chopped onion and methi leaves. Since V loves coconut, I add a little bit and I love ginger so in it goes as well. Ginger gives it a warmth and heat while tomatoes ( if using fresh ones) provides a sweetness and sourness quite unlike another. If you are using canned tomatoes, depending on the brand you might have to add a little tamarind. Methi adds a bitterness that wakes up the otherwise bland rice and dal. My only note is that this will not crisp up as much as a dosa…it will be slightly softer. The kids ate it without complaints and only I knew how healthy this was !!!!

Tomato -Methi Adai


Makes 12-14 adai


1 ½ cups raw Rice (do not use basmati)

¾ cup whole Mung Beans or Green Gram

1 cup Tomato Puree

¼ cup water, if required

2 tbsp. shredded fresh Coconut

2 tsp. chopped Ginger

2-4 dried Red Chilies

Salt to taste

¼ cup finely chopped Red Onions

½ cup finely chopped Methi/Fenugreek leaves


Soak the rice and green gram in 2-3 cups of water for 2-3 hours.

Drain completely.

Puree in a blender with the tomatoes, ginger, red chilies and coconut. Add only enough water to form a slightly coarse batter.

Add the salt, asafetida, onions and methi leaves. Mix well.

Heat a tava or griddle. To ensure it hot enough, sprinkle a few drops of water over the surface. It should sizzle.

Smear a little oil. I generally use a wedge of onion to do this. Do not smear too much.

Pour a ladle full of batter. Working quickly spread the batter using a continuous spiral motion, spreading outwards.

Using the handle of a teaspoon, make a small hole in the center.

Now, pour abt a tsp. of oil around the edges and the hole in the center.

Cook for abt 2-3 minutes, until the bottom of the adai is cooked and crisp. Turn over and repeat.

Serve with any chutney of your choice or jaggery.

This is off to “Come , join us for Breakfast” at Cooking for all Seasons and “My Legume Love Affair” at The Veggie Indian.