Methya Avarekaalu Khara Bhaath

I often always have stories to tell, reams and reams of paper to write, yarns and yarns to knit my stories,but the  past few months have been surprisingly dry for no apparent reason. I had photographs ready to go, blog waiting for me, but I somehow could not bring myself to write a word! Today I woke up and said to myself, 'today is the day, got to write something'. So here I am.
Past few weeks has been eventful. As an immigrant living in a foreign country, there are things that even after years of living abroad appear foreign to you. Generations later the foreignness disappears and immigrants become mainstream. Once that happens the new cohort of immigrants feel a lot less foreign in the new country. Something of that sort is brewing here right now. We have a new Miss America who happens to be an Indian-American. There are also Indian-American senators, state governors, Mayors, Judge, Astronauts not to mention doctors,engineers, professors, entrepreneurs etc. The children of Indian immigrants are well adjusted, thriving and they are not the stereotypical "American Born Confused Desi" aka ABCD. Thinking of how different the part of the world their parents came from, it is indeed a tribute to the human spirit. Imagine someone growing in India during the 1960s-1970s, where buying as much as a loaf of bread was a challenge let alone radios, TVs or cars, coming to USA to a land of plenty, to an open society, a free economy. Their children growing up often as the only brown kid in their schools,a generation of ABCDs. I do not see that anymore.  Now Desis are a lot more mainstream. The only brown kid in the school is not weird, he is just Indian, the kids who would go on to the spelling bee. It is no longer that the brown kids eat a lot of smelly-spicy strange foods, on the contrary it will probably be surprised to non-brown kids to know that we do not all eat 'Naan or chicken vindaloo' for dinner!
The Celts,the Italians, Asians, South Asians and people from everywhere melting into one pot. It is interesting indeed. The parallels are very similar. This is exactly what happened to India centuries back. The promise of a better land, a better life invited people from far away and India became home to people of different ethnicity, language, religion, food habits, etc. As an Indian pluralism is my second nature. I am a Kannadiga, I am also a Hindu, I am also a South-Indian, I am also an Indian. Now I am also an Indian-American! I am happy that both the oldest and the largest democracies are pluralist societies. It reminds me of a former colleague who happened to be half-Lithuanian. The first time we met, I told her I was from India. She said immediately, 'Yes! We are all from somewhere.'. At the same time I am thankful that I am not in a society where pluralism is not tolerated, let alone respected. It is sad that most of the world is.

So here is a tribute to all Indian-Americans. A bowlful of Menthya-Avarekalu Khara Bhaath. It is funny to see Avarekalu here. Because Avarekalu is available in all Indian groceries here. But I never got to see/eat them during my years in Delhi, nor did my parents find it in Uttar Pradesh during there three long years there. So is 'Home' just so archaic an idea? Got to think about it.

We will need,

Akki Tari /Idli Rawa 1 cup
Fenugreek greens /Menthya soppu a bunch
Avarekalu /Surati Papdi Lilva 3/4 cup
Ginger 1"
Cloves 4-5
Cinnamon 1"
Mint a handful
Fresh Coriander a handful
Green Chillies 5-6 (adjust according to taste)
Ghee 3-4 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Hing a dash
Salt to taste
Lemon Juice to taste.

  • Heat a thick bottom Pot. Toast the Akki tari/ idli raw till it is warm to touch. Remove it onto a plate.
  • Pour water into the pot and throw in the Avarekalu and salt to taste. Bring it to a boil and simmer till the Avarekalu is tender. Drain the water and reserve the Avarekalu.
  • Pick the leafy parts of the fenugreek. Tender steams can be included. Discard the tough steams. Wash the greens in multiple change of water and reserve.
  • In a blender, combine the ginger, cloves, cinnamon, mint, coriander and green chillies with as little water as possible and pulse it into a smooth paste. 
  • Heat the ghee in the pot. Once the ghee is hot, throw in the mustard, jeera, hing and curry leaves.
  • Once the spices splutter, throw in the masala paste. Stir for a few minutes and throw in the fenugreek. Saute till the fenugreek is tender, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add two (a little more if you like it soft , i do!) cups of water to the mixture, adjust salt and lemon juice. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and throw in the Avarekalu.
  • Give the mixture a good stir and gently pour in the toasted rawa, stirring to combine the mixture. Make sure to pour in the raw in a slow stream else it will end up lumpy. Cover and cook on low heat for a few minutes till the water has evaporated and the rawa is tender. 
  • Serve hot will dollops of ghee on top. Yummy.


Unknown said...

Welcome back Smitha :-), good to see you again.
Home is where your heart is and if it chooses to live in two different continents, you are richer two fold.

Avarekalu bhath in October, nothing is improbable anymore.

R said...

nice healthy recipe! like the interesting thoughts in the post too...

Kumudha said...

I LOVE avarekaalu! Avarekaalu khara bhath looks so YUM!

Lakshmi said...

yummy! :) Will try

Sudhir R said...

Welcome Back! Bloggers Blog is a common thing for me, glad you over came it. Avarekalu available there is really funny, when not in N. India. Well that America for you.

Hari Chandana said...

Very interesting and healthy combination.. looks yummy!!

Priya Suresh said...

Omg, wat a fantastic,flavourful and delicious khara bhaath.

Nisha said...

Sounds interesting

Maya said...

Is Surati papdi same as Avarekadu? I am a gujarati married to a kannadiga and cant figure out if they are both the same. My husband loves Averakadu and I havent been able to find it here in California...

Kannada Cuisine said...

Hi Maya...well your husband is in for some serious luck. They are the exact same :)

Maya said...

Oh great.. Thanx a ton :D