Simple Hituku Bele and a Visit to the Avare Kai Mela!
I have already blogged about Avare Kaalu (or Hyacinth / Lilva / Navy Bean??) in this post a few days back. Here is yet another Avare post, to share the excitement of the Mela (Festival) in Bangalore, as well as a very simple and tasty dal (lentil) we have at home.
My experiences of Melas in general – whether it’s the village Santhai at Valiapatti, or the Farmer’s Market at Portland, are a flood of stalls and vendors spread out in large open areas! So little did I imagine that the famous Avarekai Mela at Bangalore, would be confined to a mere crowded shop at Sajjan Raw Circle, and few pavement sellers! My initial disappointment was quickly replaced by excitement, as I entered the shop with my husband and Yosee. As we wended our way through the avaricious crowds, we could glimpse through the multitudes of preparations, packed and stacked in rows and rows of shelves. Nipattu, Chakli, Mixture, Avalakki, Ladoos, Chikkis, and many more snacks were available, where avare bele was liberally thrown in.
The spicy fried avare bele was the only chaste avare preparation, as it was not corrupted with any other ingredient. Avare Kai enthusiasts seemed to be pouring in on and on but no one seemed to leave at all. As the crowd kept swelling, we came out of the shop after a few purchases. There were chefs cooking a dozen dosas at a time on large tavas on the one side and efficient hands were rolling out delicious obbattus on the other side. Hot Uppittus and even Bhel Puri was being sold. The flavoursome Avarekai Saru accompanied the ‘hot hot dosas' which were embedded with cooked avare bele and minced onions. Masala Vadais were also selling like hot potatoes, or should I say, like avare beles! The unusual sweet Avarekai Payasa was another attraction for children.
My husband who is the honorary photographer for the blog went bersek with so many Avare Kai dishes around him. He alternated between buying and clicking and finally we made our way to Yosee’s place, fully loaded with parcels of Avare Kai dishes. After enjoying a buffet tea of the dishes, we thankfully washed it down with a hot cup of filter coffee offered by Yosee. Back at home as we sat loading the pictures into the computer, a sense of fulfillment over took us.
HITUKU BELE or SQUEEZED OUT AVARE BEANS
I have shared what is ‘Hituku Bele’ and how the beans are squeezed out of their membraneous skins in the earlier post here. Lakshmi shares the technique here. Squeezed Beans are readily available as well, if you want to skip this laboursome task.
Hituku bele - 2 cups
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Asafoetida powder – 1 pinch
Salt – ½ tsp
Juice of one lime
Oil – 2 tsps
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Green chillies - 2
Fresh coriander leaves – a few
1. Boil two cups of water in a wide pan and add the lentil.
2. Add turmeric powder and asafoetida and cook till tender but not mushy.
3. When the bele is cooking, mash one portion of the bele with the back of the ladle inside the cooking pan..
4. This will give a consistency to the bele.
5. Stir well and add salt and cook for two more minutes.
6. Blend in the lime juice and switch off flame.
7. Heat oil and add mustard seeds.
8. After it splutters add the chopped green chillies.
9. Pour the seasoning on the dal
10. Garnish with fresh corriander.
Relish the simple, light and delicious hituku bele with rice or rotis.