Tuesday, 27 December 2011




     1)    Locally grown tender broad beans (avara vaalu in Konkani and avara in Malayalam) – 500 gm.

     2)    Fresh coconut – ½
     3)    Dry hot red chilies – 4 Nos.
     4)    Mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
     5)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil – 1½ tablespoons
     6)    Salt – ¾ teaspoon

To Cook:

          Cut off both the tips of the tender broad beans. Use a small sharp knife to remove the fibrous strings on either side. Wash the beans nicely and drain. If you find any mature tough beans among with the tender ones, open them up and take only the seeds (if you chop up and use the mature beans, the taste and the texture of the upkari will suffer).

          Place a stack of tender broad beans on the chopping board and slice them across into very thin slivers. Finish the lot and set aside. Break the red chilies each into 2 or 3 pieces. Grate a quarter portion of a fresh coconut.

          Set a thick cast iron wok (for best taste) on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish crackling, tip in the red chilies. Stir once and chuck in the chopped broad beans. Sprinkle the salt and stir nicely. Cover with a lid and turn down the heat.

          Every couple of minutes, lift up the lid, stir and cover again till the broad beans are well cooked. The beans will change colour and will become quite soft when cooked. If there is any excess water (which oozed out of the broad beans) at the bottom, turn up the heat and stir till it evaporates. Now tip in the grated coconut. Stir well and switch off the heat.

          Taste and add more salt only if required. You will find that the hint of bitterness coming from the broad beans is beautifully offset by the slight sweetness of the grated coconut. Serve valla upkari hot with rice, gruel, porridge, chappatis or with bread.

Bon appétit!!!

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