Every summer, my family would head down south to Bangalore, where my grandparents stay or Mysore, where my uncle and his family stayed. We kids had a wonderful time, despite my continuous attacks of asthma, getting up to all kinds of harmless mischief together. There was an old temple opposite my uncle's house with a banyan tree which had roots dangling nearly to the ground. We used to try and swing on those roots and go around the tree without touching the ground. In the evening, we used to climb up to the terrace (up a steeply sloping wall without a parapet - now I shudder at the very thought) and watch the sunset and the lights coming on at the Mysore Palace which was visible from the terrace. We could see hordes of terracotta-tiled roofs, and coconut trees waving their leaves in the breeze. One of our favourite snacks to enjoy up on the terrace was hacchida avalakki - made out of flattened rice.
Recipe for Hacchida avalakki
2 cups avalakki (flattened rice/ poha)
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 green chillies, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
bunch coriander, finely minced
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 tsps oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 red dried chillies
1 small bunch of curry leaves, washed and dried
salt to taste
- Set the oil to heat in a large wok on medium heat
- When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Wait for them to pop before adding the red chillies and curry leaves. Stir till the curry leaves are crisp, then add the flattened rice.
- Keep stirring slowly till the poha crispens
- Take it off the stove and mix all the other ingredients except the lemon juice
- Taste to check the salt and then add the lemon juice and mix well
- Serve immediately - it gets soggy if you let it sit around.