Avarekaalu Melogra


Avarekaayi (lilva beans) is a great favorite of the old Mysore region. It is so popular that it even has an annual mela dedicated to it, showcasing the various delicacies that can be prepared from it.

Avarekaalu, itself is used to make anything from delicious sambhar, Akki (Rice)Rotti ,idlis, dosas , fried snacks (Ambode,Masala Vade) or even sweets like payasa( which I have never tasted , by the way). It is also used by soaking the beans in water for a few hours, and squeezing off the outer fibrous skin. This process is called ‘hithkodu’ in Kannada. This resulting seed is called ‘Hitakavarebele’. Though the process is tedious, the outcome is very rewarding.



Here in the US, we get the frozen beans at any season of the year. It is very convenient, since the seeds do not need to soak in water for very long, before removing the skin.

This is a recipe for Avarebele thovve, or melogra, it goes great with hot rice and ghee or as a side dish for Chapathi.

Ingredients (to serve 4)-

Avarekaalu- 2 cups or one packet frozen

Valore beans/Chapparada avarekaayi – 10 to 15, also called Hyacinth beans in English

Curry leaves- 1 sprig

Tamarind- ½ Tspn of paste or a lemon sized ball soaked in water

Mustard seeds- 1 Tspn

Asafetida- a pinch

Turmeric Powder- ¼ Tspn

Oil- 1 Tbspn

Salt- to taste

Dry roast the following ingredients and grind into a fine powder-

Urad dal- 1 Tbspn

Jeera-1/2 Tspn

Peppercorns- 8 to 10

Coriander seeds- 1 Tbspn

Khus khus- 2 Tspns

Red chilies- 5 to 8 depending on the spiciness

Dry or deccicated coconut grated- 2 Tbspns

Asafetida- a pinch


Soak the avarekaalu in water for an hour and remove the skin by pressing between the thumb and the middle of the forefinger. Break the valore beans into 2 inch pieces.

Cook both the beans, adding a little oil, turmeric and salt. After the beans are cooked, add the tamarind, and the melogra powder, and simmer for a few minutes. Make the oggarane by heating oil or ghee in a small hand kadai, add the mustard seeds, when they stop spluttering add the asafetida and the curry leaves. Add to the melogra. Check for seasoning.






2 thoughts on “Avarekaalu Melogra

  1. Hmm..i love hithakavarebele, i live in portland, OR and none of the indian stores here have this beans in the frozen section, what exactly is the name on the frozen packet that you get from ur indian store?


  2. Try Valor Lilva or Surati Lilva. I prefer the Valor, because it has bigger beans, and its easier to remove the skin. If you have a Patel Brother’s nearby, you might find the Swad brand.

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