Bottlegourd Adai

It is a common tendency of people here that they pamper their guests whom they respect the most with sumptuous feasts to express their special affinity towards them. So the way food offered to guests is obviously regarded as a scale to measure their closeness. During my childhood days I often found people getting offended during family functions, particularly weddings, as they felt humiliated at the banquet hall (pandhi) which incidentally became the starting point (place) of most of the family feuds. Nowadays to avoid such unpleasant situations, people hire hosts/ hostesses who give an artificial smile at every guest, treat them all with due respect, and eventually ensure the equality.

Thiruvalluvar, a Tamil sage, wrote about the importance of hospitality 2000 years ago in Thirukkural, the greatest compilation of couplets advocating moral values, which is relevant even today, and I quote one of his couplets as above. He compared the heart of guests 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 showered by our relatives when we visit them. 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 & grind them along with rice.
  • Now add all the remaining rice & Bengal gram and let the grinder run for few minutes (5-7 min).
  • Finally add the soaked black gram into the grinder.
  • Turn off the wet grinder within 3-4 minutes before the batter becomes smooth.
  • Transfer the batter to a canister.
  • 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 after use (avoiding the fermentation to take place) 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.
  • Generally adai goes well with sour avial and mor-kuzhambu, so when we make avial for adai we used to add sour curd lavishly to make it tangy.

94 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautifully explained as always, Megala and such nice recipes from Bottle gourd. Too good and sounds delicious.

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

      1. Welcome 😊😊 😊

      2. Welcome Megala 🌹🌹 🌹

  2. Healthy pancakes! I would like to eat those.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, they are delicious & nutritious. Thank you.

  3. That’s great… sounds delicious!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

  4. Meenal Jhala says:

    Megala, what a lovely recipe. In Gujarat, we make bottle gourd theplas or grated bottle gourd mixed in the dough with spices and then cooked into a roti, but I must try these pancakes!

    1. Megala says:

      I like methi thepla, but I never heard of bottle gourd thepla, and that sounds wonderful.
      Thanks much for the inspiration.

  5. Indira says:

    You proved that your photography skills are matching with your culinary skills…. lovely flowers, Megala!

    1. Megala says:

      Aw! I’ve used those images of anicham flower from Google. πŸ™‚
      Thanks, Indira, for stopping by.

  6. Wow Megala, this adai looks scrumptious! I too use bottle gourd to make Dhirde (pancakes). It is such a healthy and versatile vegetable!

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, our adai is similar to marathi dhirde, and adding bottle gourd makes this dish even more healthy & palatable.
      Thank you.

  7. Rekha says:

    This looks nice. πŸ˜€ Will try it some day. We make dosa out of snake gourd seeds. It’s usually had in place of appalams. (Not very crispy but tastes good with rice and curd or sambar). πŸ™‚

    1. Megala says:

      Oh! Interesting! πŸ™‚ Never heard of this before, will definitely check this out.
      Thank you so much.

  8. Shilpa Nairy says:

    I love the information you share before the recipe.. i will definitely try out this..

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you, Shilpa!

  9. Judy Kim says:

    This recipe makes me feel hungry πŸ˜‹ it makes me nostalgic for a similar Korean style savory pancake that my mother made during my childhood. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Megala says:

      Oh! Thats nice. I’m happy that this post evokes your childhood memories. πŸ™‚
      Thank you!

      1. Judy Kim says:

        You’re welcome, I think it’s interesting how cuisines will have similar dishes πŸ™‚

  10. Looks delicious Megala! Funny you remember family feuds starting over hospitality slights~ so much pressure!

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, it really puts pressure on the hosts to keep their guests satisfied.
      Thanks so much.

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