In India we make many different types of savoury and sweet pancakes of which ‘verum arusi adai’ is one. Most savoury pancakes make use of just grains or lentils and water. The prep work involved is simple and if one has the batter ready, they make quick and easy snack time meals. However, it is only dosa that has gained world wide fame. You should also try pesarattu, neer dosa, and adai to name just a few. These do not require heavy duty wet grinders and can be made in blenders /mixers as well.
Palakkad, where I come from, is on the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu and its cuisine is a delightful amalgamation of Tamilian and Keralite cuisines. Verum arusi adai is a variation of ‘adai’. Adai is a thick pancake made of coarsely ground rice and a mix of various lentils. Verum arusi adai is a thick pancake too but it contains only rice (verum arusi). We add a little fresh coconut to give it crunch and sweetness. Unlike the authentic preparation I prefer grinding rice into a smooth, less thick batter as it spreads smoothly and does not make me feel as heavy as the thick version does. You can choose whichever version suits you better. Had this been a runny batter, it would become neer dosa, from Mangalore.
I used brown basmati rice as I have a lot in stock and my family does not like it when I make pulao with brown basmati. When brown rice is made into pancakes it enhances the taste as the nutty flavour becomes prominent and there is not much hardness unlike white rice as the adai cools. Most people use white rice and some use brown boiled rice too. Make your choice, again!
Recipe: Verum Arusi Adai [Thick rice pancakes - Gluten / Egg / Dairy / Casein free]
Yield : Makes 15 pancakes, about 7-8 inches in diameter
Brown rice (raw, not parboiled variety) – 2 cups
Water – 2.5 cup
Coconut, freshly grated – 2-3 tbsp. (optional)
Fine ground sea salt – to taste
Oil to grease the pan, as needed. I use a well-seasoned cast iron pan and I hardly need to any oil around or over the pancakes, except for the first two dosas.
Wash and rinse rice well in several changes of water till the water runs clear, about 2-3 times. Soak in 2 cups of water overnight or for 4-5 hours.
Use a mixer or blender to grind into a thick coarse/smooth paste adding water only if needed. Pour into a container. The batter should be of thick lava consistency. Traditionally the batter is not made even molten. It is a coarse paste that is just spread into a thick pancake. I make mine smooth but not as thin as dosa.
Add grated coconut, if using. Balance the salt and mix well. The pancakes are generally made immediately.
Heat the pan. It is ready if a few drops of water splashed on it, dance around and dry up in seconds. Lower the heat.
Pour the batter in the center and using the back of the ladle spread it in a circle, moving out as you do so. If using oil, pour a few drops in the peripheries of the circle. Usually this pancake does not need any oil at all. Since the batter is thick it takes at least a minute on medium flame to cook through. If cooked you will find that the top will change to become translucent.
Flip over and cook the other side for a minute.
Remove and serve with molagapodi, powdered jaggery or coconut chutney.
You can add dill (sua/shepu) leaves, fenugreek (methi), coriander leaves (dhnia patta) or drumstick leaves (sem) for flavouring, instead of coconut or in addition to it. I love drumstick leaves while my sister loves dill. Since dill leaves are said to be great for lactation, my sister used to have this often with lots of dill during her pregnancy.
Like I said before some people use parboiled rice (puzhingal arisi / ukda chawal) instead of raw rice.
Some variations come with ground green chillies or red chillies for added heat. One of my friends in a facebook groups tells me that in his house they also add a little ginger while grinding along with chillies.