Kale Adai | Indian traditional lentil pancake with kale:
Those of you who are familiar with this green leafy (at times purple) vegetable, somewhat related to cabbage; would know that its an excellent source of vitamins A,C,K, manganese, copper, very good source of calcium, potassium, fiber, other vitamins, iron and so on…it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties as also cancer preventing aspects.
How and why did I think about cooking with this nutritious vegetable?
Well, one of my good friends who is very particular about her eating habits, had posted an info about the benefits of kale on facebook. This was new to me. At that instance I thought, well it might taste weird, it might not be possible to incorporate it into Indian recipes etc etc.
At the supermarket the following weekend while shopping for veggies, I noticed that kale was on offer (its in season september to feb). A large pack for just £1 (which in Indian Rs is about 100). I picked it up anyway…I picked up spinach too just in case it was a total disaster with kale, there would be some greens to fall back on.
I thought long and hard staring at the kale whenever I opened the fridge….then I tried ignoring it;) since I was filled with doubt hence did not dare to use it in any Indian manner.
As they say when things have to happen, they do happen! I prepared 3 different simple recipes on 3 different occasions. I will be posting 2 of those, since the other one got eaten up (not because it was a disaster;)) before I could lay my hands on the camera – no that’s not true actually!!;) it was too close to dinner time and I did not wish to make my kids wait up..and there was none left..
Adai as some of you might know, is a south Indian traditional healthy pancake prepared using all the different lentils and rice in equal quantities. The original recipe is given here.
split pigeon peas – 1/4 cup (tuvar dal)
split yellow peas – 1/4 cup (chana dal)
split dehusked blackgram – 1/4 cup (urad dal)
split dehusked green gram – 1/4 cup (mung dal)
rice – 1/4 cup (I used sona-masoori rice which is what I use for making dosa batter)
dry red chili – 1 (hot variety) (use as per taste, I prefer it mild)
dry Kashmiri red chili – 1 (mild variety)
fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp (methi seeds)
salt to taste
oil to cook the pancakes – 2-3 tbsp
Kale – 4 cups heaped loosely packed
wash all the lentils and rice with water, drain and then soak along with the red chilies and fenugreek seeds, in fresh water for 2 hours
add the kale to boiling water, cover partially and cook for 6-8 minutes. i cooked it for 8 min
drain the kale well and allow to cool
drain the soaked lentils and rice mixture. grind this using a mixer/grinder adding small amounts of water to form a slightly coarse paste. you can use the drained off water for this
now, grind the cooked kale to form a paste using small amount of water in the same mixer/grinder
now, mix this kale paste into the adai batter, mix in salt to taste
heat a skillet moderately
drop a tsp of oil on the skillet and wipe it off using a kitchen paper towel so that it forms a thin film on the skillet yet you can’t see it
simmer the heat then using a rounded ladle drop a ladle full of batter onto the skillet at the center. now using the back of the ladle moving it over the batter in a circular motion spread it uniformly as far out as you can. turn up the heat to medium now
spread a tsp of oil around the edge and a few drops over the spread batter
cook until you see the pancake becoming darker over the top, the edge turning brown and lifting up slightly while the under-side develops brownish specs
now filp, add a tsp of oil along the edge cook until the under-side develops brown specs
flip it over, if you notice any raw/under-cooked areas flip it back and cook for 20 – 30 sec more
transfer to the serving plate
traditionally adai is served with powdered jaggery.
i served it with jaggery and chutney powder (spicy fried lentil powder) adai is also known to be served with another traditional dish called avial
this recipe makes about 12 adai which was the right quantity for our family, the batter was used up at one go. since it has a vegetable, I would suggest you please do the same – i.e prepare batter just enough for your family for one meal/breakfast
adjust the spiciness as per taste
for people with known kidney problems or gall bladder problems, it is believed best to avoid using kale. the reference is here.