Bottlegourd Adai

It is a common tendency of people here to pamper their guests whom they respect with sumptuous feasts to express their special affinity towards them. So the way food offered to guests is obviously regarded as the scale to measure their closeness. During my childhood days I noticed people getting offended during family functions, particularly in the weddings, as they felt humiliated at the banquet hall (pandhi) which incidentally became the starting point (place) of family feuds. Nowadays to avoid such unpleasant situations, people hire hosts/ hostesses who give an artificial smile at every guest, treat them all well, and eventually ensure equality. Over 2000 years ago Thiruvalluvar, a Tamil sage, wrote about the importance of hospitality in Thirukkural, the greatest compilation of couplets advocating moral values, which is relevant even today, and I like to quote one of his couplets here:

He compared the heart of guest with anicham flower (Scarlet Pimpernel) as the guest gets humiliated just like the wildflower closes up in bad weather.

Anicham poo

Nevertheless, we all enjoy the pampering at every stage of our life by different people particularly when we visit our extended family. Women in our family usually overindulge us by saying “innum konjam” (meaning little/few more) while serving us their specialty dishes. Bottle gourd adai (savory pancakes) is one of my aunts’ signature dish, she never lets us leave her home without indulging in her soft spicy sorakkai adai served with creamy tangy avial,

Bottle gourd is one of the most commonly available vegetables here and every Siddha/ Ayurveda practitioner praises these humble gourds to the skies for their excellent detoxification properties. Bottle gourds may be used for making juice, or added into a bowl of salad, or used for making thayir pachadi, kootu, sabzi, curry, etc.

Bottle gourd is also added into adai batter for making it soft & spongy. Generally I blitz all the ingredients in one shot to prepare my batter, but my aunt gradually adds every ingredient into the wet grinder at different stages to get the perfect texture both for crispy adai & also for soft adai. Now I followed my aunt’s recipe to a T, and prepared bottle gourd adai as below:


Idli rice (parboiled rice)1 cup (approx. 200 grams)
Bengal gram (chickpeas)1/2 cup
Black gram 1/4 cup
Red chillies10
Diced bottle gourdas desired
Shallots (sambar vengayam)200 grams
Chopped coriander leavesas desired
Chopped coconutas desired
Curry leavesa few sprigs
Turmeric powder1 tap
Asafoetida powder1/4 tsp
Salt1 tsp
Coconut oil for cooking adai

Adai making:

  • Wash and soak rice & Bengal gram together for 3 hours.
  • Wash & soak black grams separately for 1 hour.
  • Turn on the wet grinder and add torn red chillies & chopped ginger into it.
  • Add diced bottle gourd and then add soaked rice & Bengal gram little by little enabling to smash the bottle gourd, ginger & red chillies.
  • Now add all the remaining rice & Bengal gram and let the grinder run for few minutes.
  • Finally add the soaked black gram into the grinder.
  • Remove the batter from grinder before it becomes smooth.
  • Add chopped shallots, coconut, coriander leaves, curry leaves, turmeric powder, asafoetida powder & salt into the batter and mix well.
  • Pour the water used for rinsing drum into the batter to get the desired consistency.
  • Now heat a cast iron griddle in medium flame and prepare adai as shown below.
  • Serve hot sorakkai adai with butter, avial & karuppatti (palm jaggery) or vellam (cane jaggery).
  • Refrigerate the remaining batter immediately in a container for 24-36 hours.


  • If we add large quantity of bottle gourd, adai becomes too soft that it gets stuck to the griddle. I used about one-third of bottle gourd for 200 grams of rice.
  • If we grind soaked black gram along with rice, it changes the texture of adai, so my aunt adds them only at the end as coarsely ground black gram lends a delicious texture to adai. You can notice small chunky black gram in the adai shown below.
  • When we make avial for adai we used to add sour curd lavishly to make it tangy.

63 Comments Add yours

  1. Lady Oscar says:

    It looks delicious! I usually use bottle gourd in soup. Today I learn to use it in such a nice pancake~ Thank you! Can’t wait to try the recipe!

  2. iScriblr says:

    Wow, looks delicious!🙌

  3. This looks so good! Look at that color…perfectly cooked!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

  4. Christy B says:

    Tangy and tasty!!

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, thanks!

  5. FoodTrails says:

    Truely said, no where in the world as we treat them in India with respect and next only to God!! Good way of sneaking lauki in kid’s meals.Very nutritious adai recipe .

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, our ancestors had the wisdom to know that it is possible to lead a peaceful life only when we respect the people around us.
      Thanks Swati.

  6. forthemo art says:

    (EN) You added something special this time to something already delicious: a so ancient text . I really appreciate you mentioned the Thirukkural.😊
    (IT) Hai aggiunto qualcosa di speciale a qualcosa di già delizioso: un testo così antico. Apprezzo molto che hai menzionato il Thirukkural 😊

    1. Megala says:

      I’m so glad that you liked this post, and I think you are a hyper polyglot, knowing two languages that are worlds apart. 🙂
      Thank you so much.

  7. This looks wonderful and healthy.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, it is. Thanks so much.

  8. Schnippelboy says:

    Interessantes Rezept

    1. Megala says:

      Your comments make me to learn few words in German. 🙂 Thank you.

  9. 3C Style says:

    I could eat three of these right now. They look so yummy! I had never heard about Bottle gourd before. Now, I am so curious to try this vegetable. Wonder if I can get some here in Quebec? I”ll look for it. Thanks Megala. I love it when you give us information about the ingredients and your culture.

    1. Megala says:

      I’m so glad to hear this. 🙂 Thanks much, Dominique, for your time.

      1. 3C Style says:

        My pleasure! Hope that your day is going well so far Megala. 🙂

  10. These look wonderful and healthy! 💗

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

Please share your thoughts here: