Monday, December 29, 2014

Hithak bele avare saaru

Often when you walk on Bangalore during winter months especially december and January, you will find the skins  of hyacinth beans( lablab/val bean) on the middle of the road. The squeezed out skins when stepped on by people will add taste to the dish cooked at home is the general belief. This was a childhood chore for many of us when our neighbours and my mom would buy them in bulk. We all kids would sit around the mound and shell the beans playfully. The beans would be used to make tasty dishes like avarekalu akki roti( rice roti), avarekalu uppittu( upma), it would also be sun-dried and mixed with salt and chilli powder to make hurgalu , a tea time snack(roasted sprouts) but most of them would be used to make hithak bele saaru( hithak in kannada is squeeze). The shelled beans would be soaked in water overnight. The next morning, the bean would be de-skinned by pressing between your thumb and fore finger.

                                                  the de-skinned bean and its skin


 This is quite a time-consuming work but the de-skinned beans when cooked with spices would be buttery soft and would slip through leaving a yummy taste and will make the work worth while. We kids would rush to throw the bean skins on the road, ideally i think this is good food for cows but the belief originated from yore could be that it adds taste to the dish. I have no authentic information on this but i like the tales and memories attached with this hyacinth bean. It is ages since i ate this lovely bean since it is not  easily available in Hyderabad markets. This time since, my parents were coming here, they got me a kilo of shelled beans. Half of it were soaked in water overnight and it's skin was squeezed  out next morning to make the tasty Hithak bele goes the recipe


De-skinned avarekalu ---- 2 cup
tamarind paste from a golf ball sized tamarind
Tuvar dal - 50 gms
Jaggery ----------1 tablespoon
salt to taste
haldi - a pinch
You can even add potatoes/beans or brinjals to this  dish but that is a choice

For grinding masala
Chillies - 6 nos
coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
channa dal - 1/2 table spoon

Dry roast the above and grind them( i used sambar powder instead)   with the below ingredients

grated coconut - 2 table spoon
garlic ----- 1 clove
A small onion - 1

For garnish
 a teaspoon of oil
hing - a pinch
curry leaf a sprig.


Boil tuvar dal and de-skinned beans and keep aside.
In a dish, heat tamarind paste , jaggery and haldi, add 100 ml of water and allow it to boil till the raw smell of tamarind disappears.Now add the ground masala and allow it to boil for 5 minutes and then simmer.
When it simmers, add the cooked dal and beans and bring it to final boil
Garnish with mustard, hing and curry leaves.

Serve this with hot rice or ragi mudde( ragi balls which is a staple of Karnataka)

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