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
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.