Saturday, February 12, 2011

Avarekai Tovve

I have been brought up on very complex flavors like a true Koli. However I have evolved to love simple natural flavors. The Avarekai Tovve is one such recipe. Simple flavors of in season Avarekai/ Val laced only with fresh ginger.

When Dad was in Mumbai I spent a lot of time with Sulekha. Last Sunday she cooked for me. She is so self deprecating always she surprises me many times with some brilliance. This recipe is one such, so understated and yet flavorful. It was fun to watch Sulekha roll out the puris and make the Tovve coz she always finds it a pain to cook. I think she enjoys cooking only when she has people like me and her married daughter to appreciate it, the foodies we are. Does she know with all the fuss she creates she is quite a good cook!

I had taken Gucchi Olu and Methi dal for Sulekha so you see a bit of the bhaaji on my plate in the picture. While Sulekha kept it for later.

See the spicy sambhar I had posted before. There are many useful tips and the culture bit about the Kannada love of Avarekai explained in my post on Avare Kaalu Akki Roti.


1/2 kg of Avarekai/ Val/ field beans. Separate the fresh beans from the pods and soak it in water overnight or in warm water atleast for an hour. This will swell up the skin and peeling the skin off the bean is a breeze. We sat together to do this task as I talked to her. It is always like this I just keep talking and talking with Sulekha. She listens sometimes making wise cracks.

It yields about a large bowl of hidikbele/ peeled beans.


1 bowl of hidikbele/ peeled Val/ field beans
1 onion halved and sliced
1 green chili
a big handful of chopped cilantro
1 inch piece of freshest ginger
2 teaspoons oil
salt to taste

Heat oil in a small pressure cooker. Add the onion and fry till translucent. Fry till they are half cooked in the oil. Now add ginger. Top up with water just to cover the beans. At this point add the chopped cilantro. Pressure cook for 3 whistles. Cool the cooker and then open the lid after the steam subsides completely. Mash the beans with a Ravi (masher). Boil once on high heat. Put off heat and just leave it undisturbed for the flavors to unite. 

The finishing touch is with a bit of lime juice, a very large pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a dollop of ghee.

Serve with hot puris is what Sulekha recommends. But I am quite confident it will taste heavenly with steamed rice too. It is a lot like our Maharashtrian goda varan. Yet very delicious as it is the in season Avarekai which is the star!

The meal was complimented with a fresh salad of carrot and cucumber shavings with chat masala sprinkles and Alphabet Payasa for dessert (until I post it keep guessing)!

Thank you Sulekha I enjoyed my time and it was very thoughtful of you to have me over so that I was not lonely! This is a dedication to you. For being my first friend since 2nd May 2005 when I landed in Bangalore  on a transfer. For help with settling down in Bangalore and the organization we work for. I have much more to Thank you for and only you know it. Love you, God Bless and Touch wood.

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