AvarekaaLu palya/usli

Avarekai is apparently known as flat beans(I had to google for it!) in English and more popularly known as Surati Papdi in Indian stores in the US. Avarekai always evokes memories of my grandpa and also the erstwhile winters of Bangalore. If you are wondering why I chose the word erstwhile winters, it is a topic for another blog post :). Grandpa loved any dish made out of avarekaaLu! He would bring 2-3 kgs of avarekai from the market and leave it out in the open during the cool winter nights. This would make the avarekaaLu have more “sogadu”. To loosely translate the term into english, it means having a nice fragrance and an oily sheen to the beans. Then came the laborious process of shell the avarkaaLu. Next step was to separate the tender ones which would be used for making akki rotti. The big ones would be used to make saaru, upma etc.

Seeing as the love for avarekaaLu has been passed on through the next generations, I love using them in all kinds of dishes. Once such dish that I learnt from mother-in-law is the avarekai palya or usli. This pairs beautifully with plain akki rotti, puri or if you are little health freak like me, it goes well with chapatis too. I have to make do with the frozen variety here in the US though!


Ingredients: Serves 3-4

1 bag of frozen avarekaaLu or fresh beans from about 1.5 kgs of avarekaai

1 medium bunch methi leaves, chopped (optional but recommended)

2 teaspoons jeera powder

2 teaspoon mustard seeds

2-3 green chillies

1-2 cloves garlic

1 inch ginger

Onion 1 small chopped

Coconut 1/2 cup

Cilantro 1/2 cup chopped

Oil – 2-3 tablespoons

Salt to taste

Grind 1 tsp of jeera, 1 tsp mustard garlic, ginger, green chilli, coconut and cilantro to a fine paste with little water.
In a pressure cooker, heat oil, add mustard and jeera seeds and wait till the mustard splutters. Next add onion and saute.  Add the paste and saute for a minute. Add methi leaves and saute. Next add avarkaaLu, salt and little water if needed. Pressure cook for 3 whistles. Serve with plain akki rotti, puri or chapati.

Plain Akki Rotti/ Rice flour Rotti

As a follow-up to the badnekaayi yengai post,  here is the recipe for akki rotti. Following the instructions and the measurements always helps me get fool-proof akki rotti, everytime!

Ingredients : Serves 2-3

1 cup rice flour

2 cups water

Salt to taste.

Take a heavy bottomed vessel to heat up the water. Once the water starts boiling, add salt. In one swift action, heap the flour in the middle of the vessel. Do not disturb this or stir it. That is the key to get non-lumpy smooth akki rotti.

Cover the vessel partially and reduce the heat of the stove to a simmer. Set a stop clock or watch the time and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.  Turn of the heat and then stir the entire mixture until you get a smooth paste.

Wait for a while for this to cool down so you can work with the dough. Make small balls about the size of an orange and knead it until it is smooth.

Dust the surface and the rolling-pin with flour and start rolling the rotti. Once you work the rolling-pin once or twice to flatten out the ball, pinch the edges of the rotti. This helps the rotti to not break up around the edges when rolling.

You can make these rottis ahead of time and stack them on a plate and refrigerate it covered. It will stay upto 2 days in the refrigerator. Bake the rotti on a tava and spread oil or ghee over it. Serve hot with yengaai palya or any other curry of your choice.

Akki rotti/ Ragi rotti

Akki rotti has been my favourite tindi or breakfast food of all time 🙂 As kids we would relish the uber thin akki rotti made in a kadai by amma and served with some chutney pudi and a big dollop of butter. Ofcourse i don’t eat it with  butter anymore..but it still tastes delicious.

There are so many things that you can do with akki rotti. Amma makes it with onions, cilantro and chillies. Or she makes it with methi leaves or dil and jeera. Oh and how can i forget avarekaayi rotti.

My MIL makes it more interesting and she adds just about any vegetable to it. Be it cucmber, radish or soaked chana dal.

I mostly eye-ball the measurements when i am cooking. I try my best to convert that into accurate measurements in my recipes. Here is my version of akki rotti

1 big onion or 2-3 small ones

2-3 green chillies chopped (depending on how much heat you want)

1 cup of chopped coriander

1 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup chana dal (pre-soaked)

1/4 cup coconut (optional, i don’t use it)

Water for the flour

Oil for cooking

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and add a little water just enough to mix all the ingredients. It is easier to pat the rotti if the dough is not watery. Make orange-sized balls out the dough.

If making raagi rotti, add the ragi flour instead of rice flour

There are 2 ways to make them.

1) Pat the rotti directly on a kadai or a non-stick tawa.

Take 1 tea spoon oil and grease the entire kadai or tawa. Pat the dough on this and place kadai on the stove and cook with the lid covered. Start with low heat and once the rotti is slightly cooked, turn up the heat. Keep turning the kadai/tawa so that the heat cooks the rotti evenly on all sides. Add more oil now if you want the rotti to be crisp. Once it is golden brown on all sides, turn off the stove and remove from the kadai while it is still hot.  With this method you can get thinner rottis.

2) Pat the rotti on a foil

Grease the foil with oil and take the dough and start patting and flattening the dough with your hands. Heat a tawa and spread a teaspoon of oil. Now gently put the foil face down on the tawa and slowly remove the foil so that the rotti is left on the tawa. After one side is cooked and the color becomes golden brown, flip the rotti over. Add more oil if you want the rotti to be extra crisp.

Variations : You can use greens like methi, dil (sopsige soppu) . You can also use 1 cup of jaoLada hittu or sorghum flour. Adds more nutritional value. You can also grate one cucumber. One thing to remember when you are adding a lot of greens or vegetables is to go easy on the water while mixing the dough. These veggies should leaves enough water for you to mix the dough.

Serving suggestions : Amma makes an onion-coconut chutney to go with akki rotti. My MIL makes onion thokku to go with it. I will try to put up the recipe for both sometime. Or you can simply eat it with chutney pudi with butter, oil or yogurt!