Murunga Keerai Adai| Adai With Moringa Greens

I got a bunch of really, really fresh and tender moringa leaves the other day. Using them to make Murunga Keerai Adai received unanimous votes from everyone at home, so that is just what happened. I realised I had not recorded the recipe for this family favourite on my blog, and I am here to rectify that.

The bunch of moringa leaves I picked up. Look at that gorgeousness!

What is Murunga Keerai Adai?

A sort of pancake made using rice and mixed lentils, adai is a traditional South Indian delicacy. It is cooked on a pan the same way as a dosa, but is slightly thicker and heavier. Adai with Avial is considered a classic combination in Tamilnadu, as is Adai made with moringa greens (Murunga Keerai in Tamil).

Murunga Keerai Adai

Enough has already been said about the many health benefits that moringa leaves possess. This Murunga Keerai Adai is a simple way to consume the greens, and utterly delicious too. I add in some finely chopped onions to my Murunga Keerai Adai too, which makes it all the more delectable.

My family recipe for Murunga Keerai Adai

There are little variations in the recipe for Adai in different families. This is the way it is made in my family, with one exception. My mom prefers adding a little less urad dal, to keep the Adai crispy. I use a bit more of the urad dal, so my Adai turns out softer. Hubby and I prefer the softer Adai.

Here’s how I make Murunga Keerai Adai or Adai With Moringa Greens.

Ingredients (makes about 12):

  1. 1 cup idli rice
  2. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  3. 1/4 cup toor dal
  4. 1/4 cup urad dal
  5. 1/4 cup chana dal
  6. 8-10 dry red chillies or as per taste
  7. 1 large onion
  8. About 1-1/2 cup of finely chopped moringa leaves
  9. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  10. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  11. Salt to taste
  12. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  13. Oil, as needed to make the adai


1. Soak the idli rice for 8-10 hours or overnight. Use enough water to cover the rice completely.

2. Soak the urad dal and fenugreek seeds together similarly for 8-10 hours or overnight.

3. Soak the chana dal and toor dal together for 8-10 hours or overnight, in a similar manner.

4. When the soaking is done, drain out the water from the idli rice and the dals.

5. Transfer the soaked and drained idli rice to a mixer jar, along with the urad dal and fenugreek seeds. Grind to a coarse texture, with a little water, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar.

6. Now, add the soaked and drained chana dal and toor dal to the mixer jar. Chop up the ginger roughly and add it in too. Break up the dry red chillies roughly and add them in as well. Grind everything together to a coarse batter, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the mixer. Add in a little water if needed.

7. Transfer the ground batter to a large vessel. Add salt and mix it well, using your hands. The batter doesn’t need fermentation and can be used immediately to make adai. You can even choose to set it aside for 4-6 hours, covered, for it to develop some sourness. I prefer using it after leaving it out for a few hours.

Topmost left: The soaked idli rice and lentils, Top right: Step 5, Centre left: The ground idli rice and urad dal, Centre right: Step 6, Bottom left: The batter, coarsely ground, Bottom centre and right: Step 7

8. Just before you are ready to make the Murunga Keerai Adai, wash the moringa leaves well under running water. Place in a colander and allow all the water to drain out. Chop the greens finely and add to the batter. Also chop the onion and curry leaves finely and add to the batter. Mix well.

9. Now, place a dosa pan on high flame and let it get nice and hot. When the pan is heated up, reduce the flame to medium. Pour 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 all around the circle. Let it cook on medium flame for a minute or so, or till it gets brown on the bottom. At this stage, flip it over and cook till the other side is also done. Transfer the cooked Murunga Keerai Adai to a serving plate. Serve immediately with powdered jaggery or any other accompaniment of your choice.

Top left and right, Above leftmost bottom: Moringa leaves, curry leaves and onion being added to the batter, Leftmost bottom: The batter, all ready to make adai, Bottom right: Making the adai on the pan

Is this Murunga Keerai Adai vegan and gluten-free?

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suited to those following a plant-based diet.

It can easily be made gluten-free by skipping the asafoetida used in the recipe. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain asafoetida to a lesser or greater extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

Tips & Tricks

1. Don’t grind the batter too smooth. Keep it a little coarse, for best results.

2. I add a mix of Bydagi and Salem Gundu dry red chillies to the batter. The Bydagi chillies add a beautiful reddish colour to the adai, while the Salem Gundu chillies add spiciness.

3. A few garlic cloves can be added to the batter too. I have skipped that here.

4. Make sure the onion and moringa leaves are chopped really fine.

5. For best results, use very tender and fresh moringa leaves. These can be chopped and added directly to the batter. If the moringa leaves are a little mature, saute them lightly and then add to the batter.

6. Adai can be made plain without the moringa leaves and onions too, using the same proportions of idli rice and lentils. You can skip the moringa leaves and use just the onion in it, too.

7. The Adai batter, once ground, can be used immediately. It does not need fermentation. However, like I was saying earlier, I prefer setting the batter aside for a few hours for it to get a little sour. Slightly sour batter yields more delicious adai, I think.

8. Any leftover batter can be stored refrigerated for about 2 days.

9. Idli rice is preferred in the making of Adai. Boiled rice can be used instead. You could also use a mix of idli rice and regular raw rice. We prefer using only idli rice.

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


8 thoughts on “Murunga Keerai Adai| Adai With Moringa Greens

  1. Looks wonderful. I’ve never tried a murunga, nor even moringa leaves, so this would be a new thing for me on multiple fronts. I need to find out where I can find this leaf in my area!


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