Sunday, September 28, 2014

No-Cook Aval - Sweet or Savory (Flattened Rice Snack Two Ways)

No-Cook Savory Aval
Aval (poha in Hindi), made from rice, is an extremely user-friendly staple; it is similar to oatmeal. Parcooked or steamed rice in its husk is pounded flat to make aval. Although one can cook with it, aval is eminently edible without any cooking!

Aval (poha) is an ubiquitous staple in a typical South Indian Home to be made into a number of quick and delicious recipes! It is very easy to prepare either sweet or savory dishes especially when it is hot and one does not want to venture anywhere near a stove for love or money :-).

Notes:  Check the aval for any foreign or discolored particles and discard them. Place in a bowl and cover with water; swirl with fingers quickly to get any husk pieces to emerge and float up. Pour out all the water along with the floaters. The drained aval is now ready to use in the recipes.

Fresh coconut is best for these recipes; but frozen is acceptable. If only dehydrated or dessicated coconut is available, add water and let it hydrate well for about 10 minutes or so before adding to your recipe. For the Sweet Aval, jaggery tastes the best; but brown sugar is an acceptable substitute.

No-Cook Savory Aval with Brown Chickpeas

Ingredients for Savory Aval
Savory Aval:
A quick and easy recipe especially great for tea time! Although there is thalippu that is cooked, since there is no actual cooking of the aval or veggies I think of this as a no-cook recipe! I like to make it as a quick meal often; sometimes I add the brown chickpeas; thawed peas and corn are great additions - I don't cook them - just thaw and toss in! It turns out that this Savory Aval is great hot also; I warmed up leftovers for a lovely warm snack!

If  Sambar powder is not available, use Rasam or curry powder instead; or toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and the red chile given below in a small pan until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool and grind well into a fine powder; since the spices are already toasted, the ground powder can be added directly to the aval mixture.

Spices instead of Sambar powder:
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 dried hot Red Chile


1 cup Thin/Thick Aval (poha)
1/2 cup grated Coconut, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Sugar
2 - 4 Shallots, OR 1/2 small Red Onion, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/2 Lemon/Lime, juiced
1/2 cup cooked Indian brown Chick Peas (optional)
2 Tbsp roasted Peanuts/Cashews
1/2 cup Indian Sev or another Indian snack mix (optional)

1 tsp Oil
1 big pinch Brown Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
1 tsp Chana dal (optional)
1 little pinch Asafetida (optional)
1-2 fresh green chile, minced
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves, sliced into chiffonade
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric
1-2 tsp  Sambar powder 

Place the washed aval in a large bowl (check notes above for cleaning/washing the aval/poha).

Squeeze the lemon/lime juice over it and set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Prepare the thalippu/tadka: heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and the dals; when mustard seeds pop and the dals turn pinkish, add chile and curry leaves carefully (chile and curry leaves may sputter and pop) and cook for a few seconds. Stir in the turmeric and sambar powder. Add to the aval.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the nuts, sev or snack mix) to the bowl and mix well; let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Savory Aval may be made up to one or two days ahead. Check for seasonings before serving.

Serve at room temperature mixed/topped with the peanuts and snack mix.


Quick sweet avalThere are two ways to make sweet aval.

1. Pal Aval: softened with hot milk (any type - almond, soy, cashew, etc), sweetened with jaggery or sugar, and served hot, warm or cool; a gluten-free milk-"toast"!

1 Serving

1/2 cup thin Aval, prepared as directed above
1/2 cup hot Milk, any type
Jaggery/Brown Sugar/White Sugar to taste
1 tiny pinch ground Cardamom (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and let the aval soften for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm. Enjoy!!

2. Sweet Aval without milk: Very similar to muesli. This recipe is simplicity itself! Just mix aval with coconut and jaggery; we often had this sweet aval (aka "nanacha" aval - literally moistened aval) as an after-school snack often as it is quite effortless to prepare it at short notice! Although Amma only used a very flavorful small banana available in Kerala, any ripe banana may be used. Other fresh/dried fruits or nuts may be added as well.

Serves 2 - 4

1 cup Thin Aval, washed as directed above
1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh grated Coconut
1 small ripe banana, diced (optional)
1 Tbsp Each - Cashew pieces and Raisins (optional)
3-4 Tbsp grated Jaggery or Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom

Mix together all the ingredients well; let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. If made ahead, chill until needed. Serve at room temperature.  Enjoy!!

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