It the season of the famous “Avarekaalu” or Hyacinth beans in Bangalore. Whenever we call Bangalore, my Mother and Sister in Law always mention that they have been using it in all their cooking and feel bad that we don’t get any here, in the US. Fortunately for us, we get everything frozen in all seasons. Of course, nothing can beat the taste of farm fresh, but at least something is better than nothing. The frozen food market has grown to such an extent in the US, we even found packets of “Hitakavare kaalu” that is Hyacinth beans that have already been skinned. That was a really exciting discovery in the Indian Supermarket last week.
Bangalore must be enjoying all its “Averkaalu Melas”, where every food from starters to desserts are made with with Avarekaalu. It is really hard for me to imagine how a dessert made with with beans would taste like, and as brave as I am in experimenting with food, that is probably one dish I would NEVER try in my lifetime. I wonder if people of Bangalore have stopped throwing out the bean peels, chalk on the middle of the road. It is a sight for the eyes during this season.
There are quite a few savory dishes my Mother makes with these beans, one of them is the “Avarekaalu Saaru”. It is a very traditional Karnataka dish and tastes great with Rice or Ragi Mudde.
- Avarekaalu( Valor Lilva in the US)- 1 Packet if using frozen or about 250gm, fresh
- Jeera( Cumin) – 1 Tsp
- Coriander seeds- 2 Tsp
- Rasam Powder- 2 Tsp
- Fresh grated Coconut- 1/2 cup
- Tamarind- 1/2 Tsp Paste or pulp from a lemon size ball, soaked in water
- Oil/ Ghee for tempering- 2 Tsp
- Mustard seeds- 1/2 Tsp
- Asafetida- a pinch
- Salt- To taste
- Curry Leaves- a sprig
Cook the Avarekaalu with 1/2 tsp of Jeera in the cooker till it is soft. Drain out almost all of the water from the cooked beans. Grind the coconut, Rasam powder, 1/2 Tsp Jeera, Coriander seeds, a few curry leaves and a 1/4 cup of the cooked avarekaalu to a fine paste. Add the paste to the cooked beans and add water only if necessary, to make it as thin as needed. Add the turmeric powder, tamarind and salt. Bring the Saaru to a boil on a low flame. In the meanwhile, make a tempering of the mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafetida in hot oil, and add it to the Saaru.
Serve hot with Ragi Mudde or hot rice. Makes a perfect meal for a cold winter day.