Barnyard Millet Adai

Adai is a dosa-like crepe that is commonly found in Tamil and Telugu breakfast spreads. It is made using a fermented batter of rice and lentils and is thicker than its dosa counterpart.

Ankita and Padma, chef volunteers from the Millet Cooking Lab have come up with a barnyard millet version of adai. They swear by this recipe, for it ensures consistently fluffy adais everytime. While adai is commonly paired with jaggery or chutney, our favorite pairing is with vegetable stew.
Barnyard millet ½ cup
Samba rava ½ cup
Tur dal 1 ¼ tablespoon
Chana dal 1 ¼ tablespoon
Urad dal 1 ¼ tablespoon
Ginger ½ inch piece
Green chilies 2
Jeera 1 teaspoon
Salt 1 teaspoon (adjust to taste)

A heavy-bottomed tawa and a mixer-grinder.


For the batter, start by washing the barnyard millet, rava, and urad dal 2-3 times or until the water runs clear.


Soak them separately for 4-5 hours in just enough water to cover them.


In a mixer grinder, grind the millet to a coarse consistency. Then add in the rava, tur dal, chana dal, ginger and green chilies and grind them to form a smooth batter.



Empty the batter in a bowl, and add salt and whole cumin. Mix well and set aside to rest, covered for 1-2 hours at room temperature.



Heat a heavy-bottomed tawa on medium heat till evenly hot. Spread a few drops of oil to season the pan.



Pour a ladle of the batter and spread it evenly on the hot pan. Pour 1 teaspoon of either coconut oil or ghee on the pan around the batter and on top of the batter. Cook on medium heat till the batter on top is dry.


Now flip over and cook on the other side for a couple of minutes. Pour some more oil or ghee, if the adai looks dry.


Serve hot with a chutney of your choice or jaggery.

Tips and variations

Adais are usually thicker than dosa or cheela.


Therefore, they need more time to cook.        


Roasting them on medium heat ensures that they cook through.


Adai is traditionally served with coconut chutney, jaggery, or avial.     


This recipe will work well with bajra and jowar as well.

Chef Ankita Jain has spent more than 15 years working as a chocolatier. While she enjoyed shaping the kitchen at Harsh Chocolates, her passion for healthier food led her to start Bicycle Kitchen. Over the past three years, she has experimented with millet-based recipes and perfected them.


Padma is an early-years education entrepreneur and the enthusiastic food blogger behind MyGoodFoodWorld. She divides her time between Manchester in England and Chennai, Tamil Nadu.



This recipe is part of the Millet Revival Project 2023, The Locavore’s modest attempt to demystify cooking with millets, and learn the impact that it has on our ecology. This initiative, in association with Rainmatter Foundation, aims to facilitate the gradual incorporation of millets into our diets, as well as create a space for meaningful conversation and engagement so that we can tap into the resilience of millets while also rediscovering its taste.


Rainmatter Foundation is a non-profit organisation that supports organisations and projects for climate action, a healthier environment, and livelihoods associated with them. The foundation and The Locavore have co-created this Millet Revival Project for a millet-climate outreach campaign for urban consumers. To learn more about the foundation and the other organisations they support, click here.

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