Saturday, May 16, 2009

Broadbeans Stir fry (Avarakkai Poriyal)

Green Earth - Composting:
I had been completely awed by composting till we actually started doing it. Last year our county had a recycle fair where they gave out free composters. Nothing fancy about a 4 X 3 feet of rectangular plastic with circular holes running along the sides which can be rolled into a cylinder and sunk into the ground. Mix a bit of dirt and start adding compostable material and you are good to go. DH has the responsibility of turning it around occasionally to speed up the decomposition and the rains have helped keep it moist.

Ever since we started composting the amount of trash we carry to the curb has reduced and the nasty smell in the garage from all the decaying organic matter has also completely disappeared. The kitchen trash liner (usually a grocery bag) does not have to be replaced that often now that organic stuff that decay and smell don't land there. Going from what happened in our household removing the organic matter from household trash (kitchen waste, yard waste) will drastically reduce the amount of trash that has to be taken to a landfill. Dairy products, oil, meat or fish are all stuff that should be kept out of the compost bin.

When you are in need of compost for you home garden you have it right there.

Composting is not for everybody but if you have a yard and a 5x5 feet area that can be set aside you can try your had at composting too.

Want to know more about composting? Click Here.

Picture of the Compost Bin? Click Here.

Visit to determine how safe, healthy and green are the products that you buy and use daily. I checked the scores for some of the everyday products that we use in our house and realized there are comparitively priced better alternatives available. If you want to know the scores on some of my everyday products they were dismal.

Do you compost?

Everybody knows a stir fry or poriyal as it called in my parts you say. Bear with me while I expalin my grandma's method of cooking which I have finally come to realize is the best method for a stir fry. How the vegetable is cooked determines if it looks bright and tastes crunchy or looks limp with no crunch. I usually season the oil, saute the onions and then add the cut vegetables to the pan, sprinkle some water and let it cook. And then amma showed me how here amma used to make stir fries. It is much faster and tastes and feels a lot better. Ammayee cooks the vegetables first before adding seasonings and that is the trick to a tasty stir fry. This is for vegetables like green beans, any type of beans, snake gourd, carrots, beets, peas - all that require a bit of cooking time. Whereas for vegetables like brinjal, squash or okra to which we normally do not add water for cooking this is not the recommended method.


Broad Beans Stir Fry (Avarakkai Poriyal)
1. Broad Beans string removed and cut
2. 1/2 Medium Red onion chopped
3. 1 tsp turmeric powder
4. 1/2 tbsp sambhar powder (or 3 red chilies split in 2)
5. seasonings: curry leaves, 2 tsp urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin
6. 1 tbsp freshly grated coconut (I used frozen and thawed coconut)
7. salt to taste
8. 1 tsp oil

1. In a sauce pan or kadai add the cut beans, turmeric and a tsp of the sambhar powder and 3 tsp of water, cover with the lid and cook on medium low heat for 5-6 minutes. Do not overcook. Set aside
2. Add the oil to the kadai and when hot add the seasonings and red chili if using
3. Add the cooked beans, salt and the rest of the sambhar powder (if using)
4. Let cook for a minute or two, add the coconut and switch of the heat.

Ready to serve.


  1. Indo,
    I tried composting last year with an improvised bin I made by drilling holes into a plastic container, but the experiment was a flop. After a few days, a layer of mold had formed and I had to throw the whole container into the trash. It would be helpful if you can add a picture of your compost bin or something similar so I have an idea of what to look for, and perhaps a link on where to find it :) I did look up on Amazon, but they were all the fancy-expensive types.

    Oh, and I totally love avarakkai. Just give me some rice + yoghurt and that bowl of porial and I'm a happy camper.


  2. Yeah, the steam-first-then-temper method is what my mum uses to make poriyals - they're definitely tasty and the best part, all the dals in the tempering retain their crunch. But I make it your way to save time and an extra utensil.

  3. I love the compost idea. I know that Starbucks gives out free used coffee beans ground which I've heard works as great compost, ISG!

    This curry, my naani used to make and I used to hate it :) But now, I miss it :|

  4. that's a neat way to cook stir-fry... thanks for the tip :)
    stir-fry looks delicious!

  5. yummy poriyal.. i like avarakai very much.

  6. Mamtha, I have added links for information on composting as well as a picture of the compost bin. It would have been a smart thing to do, so thanks for getting me to do it :)

    It's wet and icky here to run out and get a picture. Thanks to blogger Ginger Green for the picture.

  7. No we do not compost:-( how nice of your county to give u a bin.

    I have hardly seen these braod beans here. would see a lot of them in NJ.. I kind of miss them. I eat these just like a salad, & more while cooking:-)

  8. Love bean stri fry . Looks yumm.

  9. Thanks for the links Indo. Will look for those bins.


  10. Unfortunately we do not compost and glad to have found some ideas here (as always).
    We in Bangalore are so used to calling surthi papdi lilva as Avrakkai. I like this differnt version.

  11. thanks for the composting post ISG, very informative.I have been thinking aboutit for a while too... but haven't dared...
    goodluck to me...

  12. You have been tagged.
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  13. Broad beans are the same as fava beans right? I got fava beans in the pod for the first time today, I shelled them and threw out the pods, I had no idea I could cook those!

  14. "Before" and "After" becomes key words in cooking which might make huge difference in taste and texture. Lovely bright stir fry. I always thought cooking veggies befor seasoning makes it limpy but u have changed my view.

  15. Composting is such a neat idea, ISG. And so nice of your county to encourage that by giving away the bins.

    My mom & mil make it the same way as your grandma. Retains color and great tasting. These days, I use a pressure pan for making bhajis like this. I do the tadka first, then add veggies and water and cook. Gets done in a jiffy.
    The poriyal looks great, btw!

  16. My grandma & mom make it that way too but I usually do it all together.

    Love avarakkai and my mom almost always made poriyal with it.

  17. I don't know poriyal so don't say everbody does :) But on reading it looks like the "chechki" :) My mom too at time steams the veggies tender before frying

  18. Indo, Such cool trick, eh! Will try it soon. Thanks for sharing it. I love avarakai as well.

    No garden area yet, and I can't handle worm bins like my friend does it in her apartment - so no composting yet. But yeah,, whenever we get a yard, I will do it.

  19. This is how I cook most times, but they go both ways - crisp and limp, guess I should just pay attention.

  20. Mamtha, Soma maybe your county does too. Contact the department that is responsible for recycling.

    N I should try getting coffee grounds from Starbucks.

    RC, surthi papdi lilva is called mochai in Tamil. Avrakkai is also called Hyacinth beans.

    Goodlife, good luck. Not so hard when you actually start composting. I'll take a look at the tag. Don't read much these days.

    Sig, no these are not fava beans. Maybe I am calling them wrong, these are also called hyacinth beans.

    Sandeepa, my bad. Yes it is very similar to the chechki.

    Nirmala, I thought the same too. But the trick is not to overcook. I think on the Indian stove 4-5minutes might be sufficient with the lid on.

    Sra, have to cook it just right else limpy it will be.

  21. My mom loves broad beans.

    I've never tried composting.

  22. I saw in Wikipedia yesterday that fava beans are also called broad beans . But then when I searched for broad beans all results that popped up looks like the ones in your picture :) I guess broad beans is such a generic term.

  23. Composting is a very good idea! avarakkai poriyal looks delicious!

  24. i always fear the compost pit will attract too much insects and will smell horrible. all my leaves raked during fall end up being composted but i am queasy to handle it!!
    stir fry..yeah, blanching and then seasoning is the best way to get the crunch.

  25. I like this like this like this!! We make it the same way except the sambar powder!!

  26. I did the composting two years back. Loved the idea but with the weather out here it becomes bad sometimes...them had to dispose them which is the difficult part.
    Loved the Poriyal...will try your Ammayee`s methd of cooking them first.

  27. I love the compost idea:-).Nice recipe...missing my mom's!

  28. The poriyal looks perfect and inviting, like the sound of composting too, will check out more about it !

  29. These vegetables look awesome....a wonderful side to eat with rotis and rice.


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