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!
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.
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 25 min
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 and chopped coriander leaves.
- 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