Apr 29, 2013

Avaraikkai Poriyal - Hyacinth Beans Steamfried with coconut

Just like the Chinese stir frying, South Indian cooking follows a healthy technique ( with no formal name) for cooking vegetables. In this method, the vegetable is first sauteed in a pan of spice-infused oil. The pan is then covered with a tight fitting lid and the vegetable is cooked in the resultant steam. This is kind of like the best of both worlds as the vegetable is fully cooked, calls for less oil and there is very little nutrition loss. For lack of a better term, I call this method as "Steam Frying" in this blog.

This is one of those multi-morphing recipes that you could easily adapt to include any vegetable. Hyacinth Bean, called avaraikkai in Tamil and Papdi in Hindi, are available here in GA, in all four seasons. Hyacinth Bean is an excellent source of iron and a good source of zinc . This translates to healthy hair and skin. For this reason, I try to include it in our menu as often as possible.

This recipe comes straight from my Little White Book with only one modification. I slice the beans very thin so it cooks fast and it feels soft ( for my daughter).
Hyacinth Beans with Rotis

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • Hyacinth beans / avaraikkai / papdi beans, sliced thin - 2 lb
  • onion, chopped fine - 1/2 cup
  • garlic, chopped fine - 2 cloves, optional
  • coconut, shredded or grated or powdered (fresh/frozen/dried) - 2 tbsp
  • dry red chili - 2
  • mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • oil, for high heat cooking - 1 tbsp
  • salt, per taste

  1. Have everything ready before you turn the heat on. This recipe goes from 0 to 60 in the first 5 minutes!
  2. If you haven't already done so, slice the Hyacinth beans very thinly and keep aside in a bowl. Chop the onion and garlic quite fine. 
  3. In a saute pan on medium high heat, add 1 tbsp oil. When it is sufficiently heated, add mustard seeds. 
  4. When the mustard seeds splatter, add cumin seeds and the dry red chilies. You could crumble the chilies for more heat.
  5. Also add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft (about 5 minutes).
  6. Now empty the bowl of chopped Hyacinth beans to this. Add enough salt and sprinkle very little water on top.
  7. Cook covered for 15 minutes or until the beans are fully cooked.
  8. Watch the pan and give it a stir every 5 minutes or so. If the beans are starting to burn, you could add a little more water (about 2 tbsp).
  9. When the beans are ready, add the shredded coconut and remove from fire.
  10. Mix to incorporate the coconut into the dish.
  11. Avaraikkai poriyal
  12. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

If you do not have shredded coconut, you could add a tbsp of very thick coconut milk.


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