Tirunelveli Adai

Tirunelveli is a small town in the South Indian state of Thamizhnadu. While the town is small, it’s cuisine is not. It is a distinctive cuisine that is well known across the state and in many other parts of the country. I have been keen to try this cuisine since many people that I know hail from Tirunelveli and swear by the cuisine. So, I devoted a whole day’s menu to Tirunelveli cuisine. My initial observation is that the cuisine is basically the same as from the rest of Thamizhnadu, but with slight variations. But these variations brings about a big change in taste. Each dish that I made was outstanding in taste, flavour, mouth-feel. I have since resolved that I must include this cuisine regularly in my meal programme. So you are likely to be inundated with many recipes from this region.

Tirunelveli Adai

1 1/2 cups raw rice (I used brown rice, but red or millets will work equally well)
1/2 cup split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1/2 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1/2 cup split Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1/2 cup whole green mung (sabut moong, paasi parupu)
3 dried red chilis
3 green chilis
1 sprig curry leaves, roughly chopped
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
Unrefined salt to taste
Rinse the rice and lentils separately
Soak them overnight (again separately)
Drain and transfer to a blender (I use a wet grinder)
Add the red and green chilis, curry leaves and salt
Grind into a coarse batter, thick but pouring consistency
Transfer the batter to a bowl and add the asafoetida
Mix well
Heat a griddle
When it has become hot, reduce flame to medium
Pour a ladle of the batter in the centre of the griddle
Using the back of the ladle, gently spread the batter outwards in a circular motion
Check whether the underside is cooked by flipping the adai over
If not done, flip it back again
Once one side is done, flip over and cook the other side
Transfer the adai to a casserole
Repeat for the remaining batter
(Note: You can store any excess batter in the refrigerator for about 4 days)
Serve hot with sambar and/or chutney of your choice, or just vegan yogurt

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