Monday, December 26, 2011

Avarekalu Usali

Hope everybody is enjoying the holiday season! Here is another dish made of avarekayi, the season's favourite, at least in Karnataka! :) Avarekalu Usali is quick to make, with boiled beans. I usually have this just as is - I don't need anything else to go with it!

Avarekalu Usli


Avarekalu (field beans) - 1 cup, cooked
1-2 tbsp fresh, shredded coconut
2 green chillies, chopped
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and lime juice to taste

For the tadka:
Oil, mustard seeds, turmeric powder & curry leaves


Boil the beans in a pressure cooker with a little salt and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and do the tadka. Add chopped green chilies and saute for a few seconds.
Add the cooked avarekaalu and salt to taste, keeping in mind that the cooked beans are salted too. Toss around a few times so everything gets mixed well.
Add the coconut and lime juice. Finish with chopped cilantro.
Let it sit a while so the beans can soak all the flavors and then serve.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Terong Balado - Eggplants in a Tangy Chili Sauce

Every once in a while, you chance upon a killer recipe that is not just super delish, hitting all the right notes but also easy to make and that you know will feature often in your kitchen after trying just once. This is one of those.

Terong Balado is an Indonesian dish, made of eggplants cooked in a tomato-chili sauce. There are variations to this - some that have more sauce and eaten with rice or like how Chef Madhu Menon made it, a drier version that makes a perfect appetizer. And an elegant one at that. The addition of fresh tomatoes and basil leaves just takes it to another level! I urge you to try this out once. You will be hooked.

Terong Balado
Recipe Source


1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2" thick roundels
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
a handful of basil leaves, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

For the sauce:

1 tbsp shallots
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp red chili paste (or fresh red chillies or sambal olek)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp lime juice
1.5 tsp vegetable oil


Rub the eggplant roundels with soy sauce and sesame oil on both sides. Keep aside to marinate.
Put the shallots, red chili paste, garlic and about 1/2 a tsp of oil in a blender to make a paste.
In a frying pan, heat 1 tsp of oil. Add the paste and fry for about 3-4 minutes. Add the sugar and salt. Add the tomato puree and about a tbsp of water and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes. Switch off the stove and add lime juice. The sauce is done. Rub some of this sauce on the marinating eggplant slices.
Heat a skillet and add 1 tbsp oil. Place the eggplant slices, one next to another and let them cook for 3-4 minutes. Then flip them over to cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side.
Arrange the slices in a plate and smear the remaining sauce over them. Scatter the chopped basil and fresh tomatoes over the dish. Eat and experience heaven in each bite! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ginger Thokku

Two days in a row! :)

Here is a yummy thokku that I tried from Kamala's blog. Very pungent, very spicy and delicious! I had some with steaming hot rice and ghee (I've gotten re-addicted to ghee these days), some spread on toasted whole wheat bread with some oil drizzled on top and even made a tomato gojju using this as the base. Versatile dish this.

Ginger Thokku
Recipe Source


1/2 cup ginger, cut into very tiny pieces or grated
5-6 dry red chilies
1 tsp methi seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp jaggery
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil


Dry roast methi seeds in a kadai. Keep aside. In the same kadai, add a tsp of oil and fry the red chilies for a few seconds and keep aside.
Pour the remaining oil into the kadhai and fry the ginger, until the raw smell is gone, about 3-4 minutes. Let cool.
Make a powder of the methi seeds. Add mustard seeds, red chilies, ginger, tamarind, jaggery and salt to that and pulse until smooth.
Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Serve, well, however you like it! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Avarekalu Badnekayi Huli | Avarekalu Sambar - Flat Bean & Eggplant Sambar

Remember this time last year when I went berserk and posted 8 posts in one month? A record for me and yes, considering my 2 posts a month average, 'going berserk' is no exaggeration. (Hey, hey... no sniggering, you good-regularly-posting bloggers!) Well, looks like this is going to happen again this year! First half of the month, I posted nothing. This is my third one this week already and I have a few more already lined up! Good, no?

So, not-so-great picture not withstanding, here is another traditional avarekayi (field bean) recipe. Avarekalu Sambar, or Huli as we call it, is a thicker version of the regular sambar, made with flat beans instead. Here it is paired with eggplant. This huli can be made in many ways - like with using huli pudi or making fresh masala like here. This here is another of my mom's methods, which uses saaru pudi (rasam powder) instead and has a fresh dalchini masala.

Avarekalu Huli


1 heaped cup fresh avarekalu, boiled
2 long green brinjals or 4-5 small eggplants, diced into thick chunks
3/4 cup toor dal
1 small tomato, cut into quarters (optional)
2 tsp saaru pudi
1 tbsp coconut shreds
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp jaggery
salt to taste

For the masala:
2-3 1" dalchini/cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp heeng

For the tadka:
Oil, mustard seeds, Hing and curry leaves


In a pressure cooker, cook avarekalu and toor dal+tomato separately. Once cooked and pressure is down, squish the tomato and whisk with the dal.
In a pot, heat oil and do the tadka. Add the chopped eggplants and saute for a few seconds. Add 2 cups of water and saaru pudi. Cover and cook on medium flame until the eggplants are soft.
In the meantime, roast the "to grind" ingredients in a little oil. Let cool and grind into a smooth paste along with coconut, 2 tsp cooked avare beans and a little water.
Add the ground masala, the cooked avarekalu, toordal, salt, tamarind and jaggery to the brinjal pot. Mix well and bring to a boil. Add a little water, if required but generally hulis are quite thick in consistency.
Serve over rice with ghee on top, with some sandige or papad on the side.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Beetroot Thel Dala - Sri Lankan Bhaji

Beetroot, like I mentioned earlier, features often in my house. Wanting to make something other than my usual playa, gojju (which I just realized I haven't posted here yet, thinking I already have!) or rasavangi, I chanced upon this Sri Lankan recipe at Edible Garden by Nags, the source of which is a cookbook called "Sri Lankan Flavours" by Channa Dassanayaka. Below is her recipe, with very minor variations based on the way I cook - like cooking beets in the pressure cooker beforehand (I usually cook beets in the pressure cooker while making rice and/or dal in it), lesser oil and the addition of sugar, which is my thing when it comes to beets. Thanks, Nags, for this lovely recipe.

Beetroot Thel Dala
Recipe Source


2 medium beetroots, peeled and diced small
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 medium tomato, diced
2 bay leaves
2 1" cinnamon sticks
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 green chilies, slit
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp oil
salt to taste


Pressure cook the diced beets. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add cinnamon & bay leaves. Quick stir for a few seconds and then add the chopped onions and garlic & fry for 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, green chillies and half the curry powder. Add a dash of salt and cook until the tomatoes are soft.
Mix in the cooked beets, salt, sugar and the remaining garam masala.
Cover and cook on low for 3-4 minutes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Avarekalu Saaru - Flat Beans Rasam - 2 Versions

This past weekend saw me in Mysore heading for my school's first ever alumni meet. Now this school has been around, like, forever and has been for three generations in my family. My mom's aunts and uncles went there, as did my mom and all her six siblings and then me and my sis. Plus there have been countless cousins and second cousins, both from mine and my mom's generation that went there. So, yeah, a khandaani parampara, so to speak, to go to this school :) Many of the alumni flew from far and wide to be there. The turnout was huge, with folks who studied there in the 1940s and teachers now long retired from school service also being invited and actually showing up. Met many old classmates and contemporaries, among whom were not one, but two food recipe bloggers. Small world, eh? All in all, a very nostalgic trip down memory lane.

The season for avarekalu or field beans starts here around December. One of things I got back from Mysore was fresh avarekayi. All shelled and stored away, expect more recipes featuring this bean in the coming days :) The dish today is saaru. My mother makes avarekalu saaru in two different ways. Both the methods are detailed below, though the saaru in the picture is from the first method.

Type I:

1 cup avarekalu (boiled)
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp shredded jaggery
salt to taste

For the masala:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2-3 dried red chilies
a pinch of hing
1 tbsp coconut
1 tbsp boiled avarekalu

For the tadka:
mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing, curry leaves and ghee (or oil)

Boil the shelled beans in a pressure cooker.
Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, red chilies and hing. Let cool. Then grind into a paste along with the remaining masala ingredients.
Heat ghee in a pot and do the tadka. Add the masala, the boiled bean along with 2-3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Add tamarind, jaggery and salt.
Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Serve with rice.

Type II:

1 cup avarekalu
2 tsp saaru pudi
1 tsp tamarind
2 tsp shredded jaggery
salt to taste

To grind:
2 tsp coconut
2 tsp boiled avarekalu
1 tsp jeera
1/2 tsp raw rice
a pinch of asafoetida

same as type 1.

Pressure cook the avarekalu and saaru pudi with about 3 cups of water.
Make a paste of the ingredients in the "to grind" section. There is no need to roast the cumin seeds.
In a pot, do the tadka and add the pressure cooked kaalu, the ground masala and 1-2 cups of water. Add more water for a thinner saaru.
Add the tamarind paste, jaggery and salt.
Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Serve over rice with some ghee on top.