Tavalai Adai (Shallow fried lentil dosa )


Tavalai adai, a delicious dosa variety that is prepared in a kadai ( saute pan ). The dosa is shallow fried and is crispy like vada on the outside and soft and fluffy like a dosa inside. This is a treasured recipe from my Mother in law. Three reasons why you should try out this dosa : easy to make, delicious and kid’s favourite šŸ˜€ Oh, wait I have another reason for you too, it will make use of your left over idly batter too šŸ˜Š In the above picture, the dosa is served with tomato chutney, coconut chutney and cranberry pickle.

I am sure many of you are wondering, why is this dosa called “Tavalai adai”. When my mother-in-law first introduced me to this dosa, I did not really think much about the name, as I was just concentrating on relishing this dosa. But while writing the title for my blog, I got curious and took the help of my friend “Google”. It turns out this dosa has its roots in Thanjavore and probably got the name from the brass pan (colloquially thavalai or thavala in Tamil) it was made in traditionally.

Now, let’s get to the recipe

Makes : Around 30 dosas (My dosas were around 5 inches in diameter )

Note: This recipe is tagged as toddler friendly, but please adjust the spice level when making it for your lil oneĀ 


  • Raw rice (I used sona masoori) – 2 cups
  • Parboiled rice (Idly rice) – 1/4 cup
  • Tur dal – 3/4 cup
  • Chana dal – 1/4 cup
  • Prepared idly batter – 1/2 cup
  • Greek yogurt (or any thick yogurt) – 3.5 oz
  • Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Whole Urad dal – 1/4 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • For the tempering ( Below tempering is for a medium spice level )
    • 5-6 tsp oil
    • 1 tbsp urad dal
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds
    • A sprig of curry leaves
    • 2 inch ginger piece, finely chopped
    • 1-2 green chillies
    • 1 red chilly


  • Soak the rice and dal separately for 3-4 hours
  • Note: I used a wet grinder for making the batter
  • Grind the dal for 5 minutes, adding water as needed until all the dals have blended well, andĀ the batter has a coarse consistency
  • Grind the rice for 5 minutes, adding water as needed until the batter has a coarse consistency
  • Add the coconut, idly batter, salt and yogurt and blend well. The consistency of the tavalai adai batter must be slightly thicker than the regular dosa batter
  • Ā 
  • To prepare the tempering, use the same kadai in which you will prepare the dosas. It is preferable to use a narrow mouthed kadai or pan. Heat 5-6 tsp of oil in the kadai, and add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the urad dal, curry leaves, ginger, green chilies, and red chilly
  • Add the tempering to the batter and mix well
    • Note: If serving this dish for kids, you can either skip the tempering or avoid adding green chillies and red chilly
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the kadai or pan
  • Ā 
  • Pour enough dosa batterĀ to cover the circumference of the bottom of the pan
  • Ā 
  • Close the pan with a lid and cook the dosa surface bubbles and the bottom is reddish brown
  • Ā Ā Ā 
  • Invert the dosaĀ and cook the other side for about a minute
  • Ā 
  • Remove the dosa from the heat using a spatula and drain on a paper towel (You can keep the dosas hot in an insulated vessel like a casserole )
  • For making variety tavalai adai :
  • IMG_20160111_200851
    • You can add your favorite toppings to this dosa and enjoy it like a vegetable tavala adai too. I have tried the following combinations : carrot & cucumber, onion, pineapple & cheese
    • For the “carrot & cucumber” and “onion” version: add the topping , 30 seconds after you pour the batter in the pan, the rest of the steps are the same
    • For the “pineapple & cheese” version: add the topping of finely chopped pineapples, 30 seconds after you pour the batter. Once both sides of the dosaĀ are cooked, add cheese on the top surface of the dosa, drizzle a little extra oil and cook for an additional 30 seconds until the cheese melts

Enjoy the tavalai adaiĀ šŸ™‚




References used to find the story behind the dosa’s name:

http://www.tamildictionary.org/tamil_english.php?id=10467 ; http://cooknrelish.blogspot.com/2014/01/multi-lentil-fritter-or-thavala-vada.html



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