Avalakki Spinach Uppittu

In this age of hyper information, as much as life gets easier, it also gets complicated in other ways.  We are constantly bombarded with 'health' foods and panaceas on all of media. Reader's Digest to The Hindu to 24x7 TV channels, radio. Everyone seem to have an opinion on what constitutes 'health' foods and what will help us as a society to lead a healthy and long life. But how credible are these bits of information. Do these bits reflect current scientific evidence? Going beyond, how solid is the scientific evidence. How much of it is truth and how much of it is paid for by vested interests. It is all questions and more questions.

It is my pet peeve when people recommend the latest fad. Oats was one a  few years back. Now it is mainstream. Australia Oats lobby successfully marketed their surplus oats to 'health conscious' Indians. Now everyone seem to think Oats is a healthier than say rice/ragi/wheat. The truth is oats is as good or as bad as any other grain. It might have a slight edge over polish rice, but not unpolished rice. And then there was a the 'fat-free' fad. Everything was made fat free. But at what cost?  remove  fats and replace it with salt and sugar. How else can something that is processed to remove all fats stop tasting like cardboard? We now know that it was the sugar industry here in the USA that funded research studies that kept trying make fats look bad even though the earliest of unbiased research did show the problems associated with sugar consumption.

The fat versus sugar battle was the longest running sham show we have ever seen.
Now there seems to be a trend somewhat extolling the virtues of our own millet. Millet do not need as much water as say rice or wheat so they are environmentally friendly. They have a slightly better nutrition profile over polished grain. They can be substituted for rice/wheat in a variety of traditional recipes too.But for today we will stick to Avalakki or beaten rice. Not just any Avalakki, it is the red rice avalakki/poha. This variety retains a portion of the barn and has a slightly reddish hue. It is cooked the same way as the regular Poha. In this recipe I have bumped up the veggie quotient by throwing in spinach.

We will need,

Red Rice Avallakki/ Poha  1 cup
Peanut oil   2-3 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/8 tsp
Jeera 1/4 tsp
Hing  a dash
Curry Leaves a handful
Urad dal 1 tsp
Channa dal 1 tbsp
Onion chopped 1 large
Green Chillies slit into two 4-5 (adjust according to taste)
Turmeric a  generous pinch
Spinach 1 bunch (washed, patted dry and chopped)
Salt and lemon juice to taste
Toasted peanuts to top (optional)

  • Wash the Avalakki in several changes of water. Sprinkle 2-3 tbsp of water on the avalakki and set it aside to plump up and soften.
  • Place a Kadai on medium heat. Once it is hot, pour in the oil, quickly followed by mustard, jeera, hing, curry leaves, Urad dal and Channa dal. the spices and dal will pop and sizzle. 
  • Once the dals are golden, throw in the onion and green chillies. Saute till the onions are translucent.
  • Make a spot in the center and place the turmeric and cook it for a few seconds to soften the pungent edge of the turmeric. Stir well.
  • Throw in the spinach and saute for a couple of minutes so the spinach wilts but is not mushy.
  • Fluff up the Avalakki with your fingers /fork. Once the grains are separate, throw it into the Kadai. Add salt, lemon juice and gentle fold it all into the onion/spinach mixture. 
  • Once the Avalakki is completely warm, remove from heat and scatter the peanuts. Or the peanuts can be scattered on individual servings as well.
Notes: I can easily think of substituting spinach with other greens. Any tender greens will work in this recipe.

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