Monday, December 8, 2008
Patani Aval Usili - Green Peas with Beaten Rice
Aval or Beaten Rice, is not only easy to prepare, but very tasty as well. However, old timers consider offering Aval Usili to a guest, as an insult! My sister-in–law’s mother-in-law prevented the cook from preparing Aval when we visited them. Though I explained to her, that we loved the dish and that we often prepared it at home, the grand old lady was very firm. She did not want us – the sambandis (inlaws)- to have the ‘ humble’ usili at her place and that was that!
Aval is devoid of fat and cholesterol. It makes an excellent ingredient for light evening tiffin. Although it is quite filling, it gets very easily digested, and does not affect the appetite during dinner time.
Puli Aval (Tamarind Aval), Elumcham Aval (Lime Aval), Tenga Aval (Coconut Aval), Masala Aval (Aval with onion and potatoes), Tomato Aval, Milagu Aval (Black pepper Aval), and Vegetable Aval are just few of the different types of Usilis that can be prepared, with this ingredient. Among all the Avals, the Patani Aval (Green Peas Aval), has been voted as the best by my grand children.
Beaten rice (the hard variety) – 2 cups
Boiled fresh peas (or frozen peas) – ¾ cup
Salt – ¾ tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Split black gram dal (urad dal) – 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal (chana dal) – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Red chillies – 3
Curry leaves – a few
1. Wash the beaten rice two times and drain. Squeezing is not necessary.
2. Let the wet Aval stand for about 20 minutes, till it resembles cooked rice.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
4. When mustard seeds splutter, add the two dals and roast till golden in colour.
5. Add the asafoetida powder.
6. Add the broken red chillies and fry till crisp.
7. Add the curry leaves, and then the green peas and salt.
8. If you are using frozen peas, cover with a lid and let the peas cook on low fire.
9. Next add the soaked Aval and blend well.
10. Cover and cook on low heat for two minutes.
11. Remove lid and stir well to break up lumps if any.
Enjoy the simple, tasty and hot Patani Aval . My grand children on their return from school, enjoy it with a cup of thick curds, over Tom and Jerry cartoons!
TIP: The hard variety of Aval is best for this recipe, as the grains in the dish should be separate from each other, and should not stick or form lumps. The hard variety is however not available everywhere. While using soft variety, a quick rise under cold running water is sufficient, else the aval will quickly become slushy. Also, avoid covering the dish while cooking, and keep it on low heat for a longer time, to get rid of the moisture. Avoid stirring too many times. Use a flat ‘chappati’ turner ladel and gently mix.