Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Recipe of the month: Karnataka Speciality - Avarekalu Usli

This is a follow-up to the Ukkarisida Akki Rotti/Bili Rotti (rice-based pancake) post that you saw on my blog last month. Both the dishes you see in this post and earlier one are specialities from my home state of Karnataka in India. These are dishes that I have grown up eating and hence very close to my heart. My mum made soft fluffy rottis with a yummy avarekalu usli for me the last time I was in India and since this side dish is such a favourite of mine, I decided to feature it on my blog. I published the ukkarisida akki rotti recipe on my blog as a contribution from my mum but I kept the avarekalu usli all for myself to cook it at home in Singapore and then post for you

I have already chronicled my love of avarekalu in previous posts on my blog. The english names for avarekalu is hyacinth beans, lablab beans or field beans. They are also known as surti papadi in hindi. These chartreuse green beans are seasonal and can be used (either whole or deskinned) in a variety of dishes like salads, dry side dishes, curries, rice dishes, upma and akki rotti. In my humble opinion, they make every dish that they are added to taste more awesome!

If you are not familiar with these beans, this is what they look like....

I brought back a whole lot of avarekalu back to Singapore and based on my mum's directions, I made the usli along with the ukkarisida akki rotti on one leisurely weekend. Both turned out great and I was full of beans for the remainder of the day (no pun intended!). I prepared the usli in my rickety old pressure cooker because not only does it save time but the dishes cooked in a pressure cooker generally have a better flavour profile. 

Here is the recipe. This protein packed side dish is vegan-friendly and gluten-free and it pairs well with chapati/roti or akki rotti. If you get your hands on these wonder beans, do try this recipe. You will be glad you did!

Avarekalu Usli

Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 25 min
Serves: 4
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe Source: Amma 


3 cups uncooked avarekalu (field beans/hyacinth beans)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
a pinch hing/asafoetida
8-10 curry leaves
2 medium red onions, chopped
3-4 green chillies, chopped finely (adjust according to spice level)
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/4 tsp haldi powder/turmeric 
1/2 tsp jeera powder/cumin powder
1/2 tsp dhania powder/coriander powder
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste (~11/2 tsp)
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
11/2 cups water
3 tbsp vegetable oil


1. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida and fry until the tempering sizzles. 

2. Add the chopped onions, finely chopped green chillies and ginger-garlic paste and fry until the onions turn translucent.

3. Add the turmeric powder and mix.

4. Mix in the avarekalu, salt and sugar, Fry for 2-3 mins until all the flavours come together.

5. Add 11/2 cups of water (the avarekalu should be submerged) and give it a quick mix.

6. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and pressure cook for 4-6 whistles.

7. Once the pressure goes down and it is safe to open the lid, you may find that there is still a little water in the cooker. Don't worry about it. Keep the cooker on medium-high heat uncovered until most of the water evaporates.

8. Add the cumin powder and coriander powder and mix well.

9. When almost all the water has evaporated, add in the grated fresh coconut, lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves. Give it a good mix. 

10. Serve hot with chapati/roti or ukkarisida akki rotti. Enjoy!

  • Avarekalu is notorious for causing bloating and flatulence. Hence, using cumin, ginger and garlic in dishes containing this bean, helps to counteract the gassy effect
  • You may have to adjust the amount of water you add and the number of whistles to pressure cook the beans depending on how long it usually takes in your kitchen
  • If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook the beans separately in water, drain and then mix along with the other ingredients and proceed as per the recipe instructions.
  • You can make this kind of usli with shelled peas or chickpeas as well



  1. Thank you Ms.Megha ... This is the exact recipe am looking for ... :)

  2. Replies
    1. Oh yes sorry about that! The lemon juice is at the end. I have updated the recipe. Thanks for letting me know :)

  3. This is not the traditional recipe of Avrekalu Usli,

    Let me give the proper easy and tasty recipe.
    1.wash the avrekalu & Garlic(1/3rd of Arvrekalu) add salt & water, pressure cook for 6-8 whistles.
    2.Seasoning:In a pan Heat lavish amount of oil & ghee or ghee alone add mustard, hing, jeera, allow it to splutter then add finely chopped green chillies,Coriander leaves & curry leave.
    3.Once pressure is released check for excess water and allow it to evaporate,Give it a good mix and add the seasoning & mix.
    4.Serve hot with ghee

    1. Thank you for your input but let me assure you this recipe is tasty too. Based on what you have written, the order of the recipe is slightly different that's all so I don't see how it is any easier. My mom makes it this way and I love it.


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