Bajra Adai| Pearl Millet & Lentil Pancakes

Love adai, the quintessentially South Indian savoury pancakes? We definitely love them to bits. Here’s presenting Bajra Adai, a version of these pancakes made using pearl millet instead of the parboiled rice that is typically used in them. They’re every bit as delicious as the regular rice-based adai, filled with the same goodness of multiple lentils plus the many health benefits that bajra has to offer.

A bit about these Bajra Adai

I have subbed the parboiled rice used in regular adai for bajra aka pearl millet, like I was saying earlier. These days, there are several varieties of broken millets (millet rava) available in supermarkets for making upma, and I have used bajra rava from a brand called Health Sutra to make these adai. You could use whole bajra as well, too.

These Bajra Adai are completely vegetarian and vegan, suitable to those following a plant-based diet. If you wish to make them gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the recipe. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour, to a greater or lesser extent, and are best avoided when following a gluten-free diet.

These zero-rice Bajra Adai are perfect for those who wish to cut down on the amount of rice they consume, for various reasons.

Millet Magic at Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m sharing this recipe with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, a group of food bloggers that I’m part of. Every month, the members of the group share recipes based on a pre-determined theme. The members are paired together, and each pair gives each other two ingredients to cook with.

The theme for this month is Millet Magic, wherein all of us are showcasing foods made using various types of millets. The theme was suggested by the very talented Aruna of Vasu’s Veg Kitchen.

Sujata, another talented blogger at Batter Up With Sujata, was my partner for the month. She assigned me the ‘chana dal‘ and ‘bajra‘, and I decided to use them to make these Bajra Adai.

Some interesting millet-based recipes

Looking forward to introducing more millets in your diet? I have some interesting recipes to share with you guys, apart from the Bajra Adai recipe I’m going to share today, of course.

Aruna has a number of lovely millet recipes in her blog, of which this Ragi Puttu and Ragi Peanuts Laddoo caught my eye. Can’t wait to try them out!

Sujata has several millet-based recipes on her blog, too, including some unique bakes. You should definitely check out her Potato & Barnyard Millet Cutlets, Fennel Oats & Millet Cookies and Rose-Flavoured Bajra Nankhatai.

Meanwhile, do also go through the recipes for Bajra Pesarettu, Ragi Rotti and Ragi Vermicelli Salad on my blog.

Bajra Adai recipe

Here’s how I make the Bajra Adai.
Ingredients (makes about 12):

1. 1 cup bajra upma rava or broken bajra
2. 1/4 cup toor dal
3. 1/4 cup urad dal
4. 1/4 cup chana dal
5. 3-4 dry red chillies or as per taste
6. A 1-inch piece of ginger
7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
8. Salt to taste
9. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
10. Oil, as needed to make the adai


1. Wash the bajra rava well under running water. Drain out all the water. Now, soak it in enough fresh water to cover it, for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. Similarly, wash the toor dal, urad dal and chana dal well, and drain out all the water. Soak the toor dal and chana dal together and the urad dal separately, in fresh water, for 8-10 hours or overnight.

3. When the bajra rava and the dals are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Now, we will start grinding the batter.

4. Take the soaked and drained urad dal in a mixer jar. Peel the ginger, chop roughly and add to the mixer jar too. Break the dry red chillies roughly and add to the mixer jar too. Grind everything together to a smooth paste, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar and mix up the ingredients. You may add a little water to make the grinding easier. Transfer the ground batter to a large vessel.

5. Now, transfer the soaked and drained bajra rava to the mixer jar. Grind to a smooth batter, using a little water if needed. Stop at intervals to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar and to mix up the rava. When a smooth batter is ready, transfer it to the same large vessel.

6. Now, grind the soaked toor dal and chana dal together, in the same way. Grind these a little coarse, at intervals, adding some water if required. Transfer the ground batter to the same vessel.

7. Add salt to taste, curry leaves and asafoetida to the vessel too. Mix the batter up thoroughly. Your Bajra Adai batter is ready to use immediately. If you want to, you may leave it out for a few hours for it to get a bit sour – which makes for more delicious adai.

8. When you want to make the adai, get a thick dosa pan nice and hot. Then, reduce the flame to medium. Place a ladleful of the batter in the centre of the pan, and spread it out into a circle using the back of the ladle. Drizzle some oil around the circle. Let it cook on medium flame till it browns on the bottom, then flip it over and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side too. Transfer the Bajra Adai to a serving plate, and serve hot with chutney or any other accompaniment of your choice.

9. Prepare adai using all the batter, in the same manner.

Tips & Tricks

1. Adai batter doesn’t really need fermentation. It can be used immediately after grinding.

2. I prefer leaving the batter out for a few hours after grinding, for it to get a little sour, if not ferment. I feel the adais are much more delicious when the batter is a bit sour.

3. You can use green chillies while grinding, instead of the dry red chillies I have used here.

4. Finely chopped onion can be added to the batter too, after grinding. Alternatively, finely chopped onions can be sprinkled over the adai once the batter has been spread out on the pan.

5. The Bajra Adai batter stays well for 3-4 days when refrigerated. Use as needed.

6. A few cloves of garlic can also be added in, while grinding the batter.

7. You may add in a little water, if the adai batter feels too thick.

8. I have used the moderately spicy Bydagi dry red chillies here. You can use any variety you prefer. Adjust the quantity of chillies you use, depending upon your taste preferences.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

34 thoughts on “Bajra Adai| Pearl Millet & Lentil Pancakes

  1. These look so good ! Never would have imagined bajra in an adai ( altho we make instant bajra / jowar dosa). Will try to source this millet rava online as they are not to be seen in shops here.


  2. Such a healthy pancake this is with bajra and lentils. I would even add some veggies to sneak them in for kids. Love the way you have presented this. Yum


  3. I’m a big fan of these thin dosa like or adai of any sort. Your gluten free bajra adai look so welcoming. I too prefer a bit of sourness in any of the savory pancakes I make so would definitely leave it a few hours to ferment.


  4. I make Adai with lentil amd rice and my family enjoys it. I would definitely love to try out these gluten free bajra Adai. Thanks for the share.


  5. Never tried Bajra Adai though I do make different savory pancakes. I too will like to ferment it a bit for a slight sour taste.. Look so delicious and filling meal for breakfast.


  6. Awesome share Priya. Bajra adai looks so crisp and delicious. And also super healthy. I love adai and this bajra sounds great. I would love to try it sometime. Can I use bajra flour instead of broken bajra?


  7. Bajra adai looks so delicious and nutritious. I too add some mixed millets in adai batter often. Love the idea of using garlic as I love its flavor.


  8. Bajra Adai sounds interesting Priya !! Love this healthy, delicious and crisp bajra adai…. these are also super tempting to make in breakfast .


  9. Arey wah!! super duper. My husband loved it. He is so happy I will make it more often now and I am happy as well, as rice is not the main ingredient here!!


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