Saturday, April 28, 2012

Avarekalu (papdi lilva) saaru and a dive into memory lane

Like I haven't professed my love for this bean enough on the blog, here I go again with another round of avarekayi related rant. Yes, I found these personal favorite bean again at my grocery store. I don't remember seeing avarekayi in India during April, the season is long gone and this is a winter bean by definition. But here I am with my fresh avarekayis, peeled and ready to go. For any one interested, it was labelled 'desi papdi' in the store.

As I was checking out yesterday, the lady at the counter looked at me and said 'are you sure you want to buy this, it is coming to $19', I looked straight back at her and said 'yes', I know it is a splurge but may be I won't buy that new summer dress after all - LOL. It is not about the bean but is about reliving those moments again, remembering the laughter, love in the cozy house with siblings and parents years back. As I was peeling them last evening, I kept playing the scenes from childhood in my mind.

Avarekayi as I remember was a favorite among cows and buffaloes also :-), not that they cooked the delicious dishes at home but were treated to a bounty of the peels at every street corner during the season.  Anna would be walking inside the compound wall and telling us to bring the peels to feed the cow that somehow miraculously would be standing every time we got avarekayis home, and he wouldn't allow us to throw the peels anywhere on the street, it had to be on top of a clean, shiny, flat stone that the cows would be able to lick. He would sit there, watching them and sometimes stroking their neck as they ate those fragrant peels.

Though my cooking is primarily with ingredients I find locally, creating and transferring those memories for my daughter is important for me. When I make a good saaru(rasam) from it which almost tastes like the one nammamma makes and when my daughter slurps it down looking at me with the same expression I had as a young girl, it is priceless, I will go back and pay $19 every time I see it in the grocery store isle.

Have you seen the popular Mastercard advertisement? below is based on it :-)
Price of 3 pounds avarekayi - $19
Price of gasoline for the grocery shopping $4
Price of eating avarekalu saaru with family - priceless :-)

True, there are some things money can't buy, just tuck in a memory to give you company of those cherished things forever. If you haven't noticed, time just flies.

Since I got a big bag of avarekalus this time, I used it in multiple dishes. See a yummy avarekalu kadubu recipe here. Today, I have for you a delicious saaru(rasam) with avarekalu from nammamma's kitchen.

What do you need to make Avarekalu saaru?
2 cups peeled avarekalu
3-4 curry leaves
For Saaru masala:
2 Tblsp coconut (fresh/frozen)
1 Tsp chana dal/kadle bele
3/4 Tsp coriander seeds
1 Tsp poppy seeds/khus khus/gasagase
5-6 dry red chilies
2 inch piece of cinnamon
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1 small lime sized tamarind soaked in water for 20 minutes/1 Tsp of tamarind concentrate
1 Tsp cooking oil
1 Tblsp salt (adjust to taste)
2 Tsp chopped onions
How do you make Avarekalu saaru? 

  • Wash the avarekalu and boil it till tender with salt.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the ingredients under saaru masala except for coconut, tamarind and onion on medium heat until you get a nice aroma from the fried cinnamon and other spices (3-4 minutes). 
  • Let the masala come to room temperature. 
  • Grind the fried masala ingredients with coconut, raw onion, tamarind and 1Tblsp of cooked avarekalu.
  • Use about 1/2 cup of water to get a smooth paste of the masala. 
  • Add the ground paste to cooked beans, adjust water to a slightly thick pouring consistency and boil it for a good 8-10 minutes. 
  • Taste and adjust salt or tamarind. 
  • Tear the curry leaves in half and drop it into the boiling saaru. 
  • Switch off and serve it with rice, roti or just drink it straight from a cup chewing the avarekalu with every sip. 
  • Use about 2 cups of water to boil avarekalu. 
  • Adding boiled beans to the masala brings thickness to the saaru and also helps form a homogeneous mixture. 
  • Boil the saaru well to remove the raw smell of onion, but do not replace with fried onion in this recipe :-)
  • We prefer the saaru to be a little spicy, adjust the red chilies according to your taste. If when you taste the saaru, you find it lacking punch, add red chili powder to spice it up. 
  • Notice that this saaru does not have the usual seasoning/vaggarane as it is already very flavorful. Use raw curry leaves while boiling the saaru to enhance flavor.
  • Beans being heavy, settles at the bottom of your dish, make sure you mix it before serving or someone might just not get their share of the avarekalu :-)


NamsVeni Pothas said...

nice preparation .when ever i see Avarekaalu here i remember the nice dish you prapare.
thanks for the healthy dish.

Gayathri NG said...

Hmm fav veg, which tastes good in sambar too, you perfectly done dear...

sashi said...

It reminds me of mom soaking the avare kalu for avare kalu hurigalu. It used be a fun filled evening, trying to pop the skin off the beans. The beans would be flying around in all directions, wet floor and in between getting shouted at for wasting the beans. A small price to pay for the tasty hurigalu.
Pretty much everyday avarekalu would show in one form or the other.