Flattened rice flakes are a popular South Indian staple for breakfast. It is called ‘poha’ in Hindi, ‘aval’ in Tamil, and ‘avalakki’ in Kannada. It is generally available in the thick and thin varieties, usually used to prepare breakfast or dessert. It is also used to make sweet and savoury dishes as offerings during festivals and poojas. These flakes tend to be dry in nature, and are typically washed and pre-soaked in water, allowing them to plump up and become soft. It is then tossed in sweet or savoury tempering, and cooked (or not!) depending on the dish that is being made. There are several other options for soaking; it can also be immersed in yoghurt (and just eaten with sugar or salt mixed in), in milk (with salt and sugar to taste, tempered with cashew nuts and raisins), or in tamarind water along with spices (tossed with curry leaves, fried groundnuts and lentils). In fact, the ‘thayir aval’ prepared for Gokulashtami is said to be a favourite of Lord Krishna 🙂
‘Aval’ is very light and easy on the digestive system, and is a very healthy eating option while you are counting calories. They have more fibre that tends to keep you full for a longer time, without making you feel heavy. The recipe here is a summer season favourite, made when raw mango is available in abundance here. The addition of freshly grated raw mango adds a wonderful sweet-sour tang to the dish, making it a really quick, light and delicious breakfast dish to brighten your mornings. It can also suitably serve as a light dinner as well. Read on for the recipe!
- Grated raw mango: 1/2 cup
- Aval (thick) – 3/4 cup
- Green chillies – 3, slit lengthwise
- Channa dal – 1 tbsp
- Urad dal – 2 tsp
- Green peas – 1/4 cup (I used frozen)
- Fresh coriander leaves – a handful, chopped
- Onion – 1 medium, sliced thinly
- Salt to taste
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Curry leaves – 5 to 6
- Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Hing (asafoetida) – a pinch
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Rinse the poha in running water to remove any impurities.
- Soak the poha in enough room temperature water (just enough to immerse it fully). About 15 minutes of soaking will do.
- Drain the poha after 15 minutes. Lightly squeeze it to drain any excess water and set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan, and allow the mustard seeds to splutter. Add the lentils.
- Roast lentils until golden
- Add slit green chillies and fry for a few seconds
- Add onions and fry till soft. Then add grated raw mango and fry till soft.
- Add turmeric powder, some salt, and mix well. Add the 1 tsp sugar and mix.
- Add the green peas to this.
- Mix well and cook till soft.
- Add the fresh chopped coriander and mix.
- Add the soaked and drained poha to this.
- Mix well until evenly incorporated. Check if the salt is adequate, and add more if needed at this stage. Mix well to distribute uniformly. Switch off the stove.
- Now add the freshly grated coconut to this.
- Mix well and let it rest covered for 10 minutes. Serve hot with chutney, or with thick set curd.
Enjoy as a hot breakfast, or a light evening snack / dinner 🙂
TIPS & TWEAKS
- If the mango is too sour, add some more sugar to balance the taste evenly.
- You can also add fried groundnuts or cashew nuts to this dish instead of adding fresh green peas.
- The addition of grated coconut is highly recommended, since it adds a lovely flavor to this dish. However, you can skip if you don’t like coconut.