Monday, August 17, 2009

Aval Nanachathu- Brown rice Flakes sweetened with jaggery and grated coconut

Saturday Morning: After roaming around the local farmers market - picking fresh produce and marveling how tender and ‘realistic’ the carrots looked , compared to the chemical injected and genetically engineered ones that refuse to lose its firmness even after lying in the refrigerator for more than a month - we decided to visit the Asian store to grab some more stuff in the shopping list.

On reaching the store, my eyes caught the sight of a bunch of baby bananas, in a pretty yellow colour with a touch of pale green hue on its tips, and looking at those petite beauties, I could hear a loud voice in my brain saying “cheru pazham”, a variety of baby bananas available back home in Kerala. I picked up a bunch draped neatly in a plastic wrap, and kept it back. On a second thought, I picked it up again and then I saw CJJ shaking his head and pursing his lips …I could clearly read his face and I was certain he was referring to an incident in the past where we bought some baby bananas amazed by the stark similarity with the variety available in Kerala, only to disappoint ourselves in the end. I stood there for another 30 seconds contemplating and finally proceeded to the check-out carrying a bunch of baby bananas.

Saturday Afternoon: After lunch, we threw ourselves on the couch and started our movie-matinee. An hour into the movie, I heard CJJ asking:

…anything to munch on..?
Me: hmm….nuts……cherries….banana , I replied knowing very well that he wouldn’t be interested in any of these but to my surprise , I saw him going for the box of roasted peanuts.

20-30 minutes passed and again I saw him a bit disturbed and heard him asking:

is there any snacks…?
Me: welll…..……there was a quarter loaf of blueberry bread……
CJJ: aww….wow….I forgot about it completely….( all excited and about to jump off of his seat..)
Me: Yeah…true…..since you forgot, some fungus attacked ‘em and I trashed it two days back…
CJJ: ( on hearing the unexpected) …ohh…..shoooottttt!!

After 15 minutes, I was in a mood to have some fruits and grabbed the bunch of baby bananas. The moment I had my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised….it was sweet….I had one more bite , it was really tasty….and

I heard myself, “ wow….this is sweeettt…….nammude nattile taste…”, ( …….wow….it tastes like the ones we get back home). At that , I saw CJJ sneaking a look through the corner of his left eye , with a tinge of disbelief on his face and I offered him one………. and what followed was an expression where his tiny eyes popped out and his round face brightened with a big smile. In less than 1 minute, I found a big pile of banana peels on our coffee table and noticed that the plucking and peeling action from his side was much faster than that of mine and seeing that I feared that the whole bunch would be finished in another minute…. so I gently reminded him:

orennam naalathekku maati vechekkane….” , ( keep one banana for tomorrow_”
enthina…..” ( for what?) , asked CJJ , chewing a mouth full of baby banana.
enikku avalu nanachathinte koode kozhachu kazhikkana…..” , ( I want to have ‘em mashed with sweetened beaten rice) I said plucking another one from the bunch.
…..eeeww…..thaniye kazhicha mathee….enikku vendatto..”, ( U may have it all alone, don’t force me) said CJJ with that constant gaze of disdain he usually has whenever I suggest making something that does not belong to the category of non-veg.

Considering the growing pile of banana peels, he himself got up from the couch and placed the rest of the bunch back to the kitchen counter.

Another 40-45 mts passed…..and I saw CJJ getting disturbed again with his hunger pangs and my stomach was also grumbling. At that point, the thought of brown rice flakes dampened with the freshness of grated coconut and sweetened with jaggery and infused with a sprinkle of cardamom and ghee was dancing on my palate . Suddenly, I announced my plan to make sweetened beaten rice and saw myself hitting the kitchen and once more to my surprise, I didn’t hear any note of disapproval from his side this time. He even helped me grate the jaggery and once I finished everything, I handed over him the plate and watched him eating in small spoonfuls.

I plucked a banana and on a second thought, knowing this guy well for all these years, I plucked one more and asked him if he wanted one and I got one more headshake, confirming a big NO. I placed a banana on his plate , and told him:

…onnu slice cheythittu …athinte koode kazhichu nokku…” ( slice ‘em and have along with a spoonful)

He sliced the banana and had one spoonful and thennnnnn……… I saw him trying to mash the sliced ones with the back of the spoon. At that point, I was in all smiles and grabbed his plate and mashed the banana with my hands, into the sweetened rice flakes and watched him enjoying that humble snack……

….and I couldn’t stop myself from saying , “gathi kettaal …………..” and he completed the sentence with a private joke :) :)

gathi kettaal puli pullum thinnum “ is an old adage in our mother tongue which roughly translated means, the tiger would eat even the grass, if he has no other go, to satisfy his hunger! I know I killed both the language there but couldn’t come up with an equivalent of that saying.

Well, Aval Nanachathu is a simple and humble evening snack that requires no cooking at all. Beaten/Flattened rice aka brown rice flakes is dampened with freshly grated coconut and sweetened with jaggery, and flavored with a touch of crushed cardamom and ghee. Perfect snack to make on a hot summer evening!

  • 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups cup thin brown rice flakes/Aval (chemba/Matta aval)/beaten rice
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • ½ cup tightly packed jaggery/sharkkara, grated (or to taste)
  • 3 pods of green cardamom, crushed
  • 1 tsp ghee/clarified butter
  • In a plate/mixing bowl, blend grated coconut, jaggery and crushed cardamom pods by mixing with hands. To this add half of the beaten rice/brown rice flakes/aval and start crushing and squishing with your hands, to combine everything as well as to release the moisture/juice from grated coconut and jaggery. When you find the first batch of beaten rice/brown rice flakes/aval almost wet and a bit soaked and plump, add the rest of the beaten rice/aval and continue to crush and squish with hands, until everything comes together as a wet and plump mixture. Check if you require more sweetness and adjust accordingly and finally pour the ghee on top and blend once again with your hands. The whole mixing process will take about only 3-5 minutes depending on the quality and freshness of grated coconut.
  • Serve with a glass of tea/coffee/milk. You may also serve this with sliced bananas on the side. If you want to go one step further, mash the bananas with a fork or hand and mix to the sweetened beaten rice; that’s just like how we have at home :)
Note: There is no need to add water or milk or any other liquid to make it wet and plump. The wetness comes from the moisture content in jaggery and mainly from the juice ( coconut milk) produced by the freshly grated coconut when squished with hands. If the grated coconut lacks freshness and moisture, then it is difficult to get the desired wetness. The end product is not soggy; it’s just wet, soft and plump , with a bit of bite here and there.

Related Posts:

Ariyunda Kozhukkatta Aval Payasam

For more, Go to Complete Recipe Index.


No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. Aval my all time favourite you know any Halwa recipes made with milkmaid ?i am craving for one ..i want only your halwa recipe 'coz i am sure that it'll have a "nadan" taste & a homemade touch ..

  2. It was nice to visualize you and CJJ shuttling to and from kitchen.!!
    I never used to like aval nachattu as it was often presented in front of us when we were kids...I always prefered the version of aval nanachattu with salt, green chillies and coconut which my Dad was given :)

  3. I envy CJJ. I want to taste that aval nanachathu. I haven't eaten before. I will probably make it sometime soon :)

  4. Reading that brought a smile to my face.

  5. This is my second most fav naalumani palaharam(first being ethaka-appam) grandma use to mk it simply awesome....
    Pics r relly nice....I like both the grated jaggery and melted jaggery version..
    Saw ur post early morning and mouth started watering...alas hv to satiate myself with wheat bread :'(
    nice to hv such recipes documented...
    Once I have my own kitchen ur blog is gng to be my bible !!!

  6. Hmm.."kalleylo phovu" of our favorite snacks.I make it with sugar instead of jaggery sometimes..any which is as tasty as it can be..:)

  7. This is my favourite.. I was away from the blog world for sometime and now coming back realised that all others are in full form. I have your other recipes to read.. so lemme go back :)

  8. sometimes the post are so interesting that you forget the recipe..this one was like that!!
    really enjoyed the conversation.. :-)

    though aval is not my favourite it used to be a regular item as a kid...aval is always too sweet for me....i still remember the aval kaaran who used to come from tamil nadu..he would spend sometime talking to us after we buy aval from him...after some friendly bargaining....

    and hey we do get the same kind of banana here as well..:-D

  9. can i expect a halwa recipe from you soon ? i know you can make your own version even if you haven't tried any 'coz you are a great cook ..

  10. great presentation,mouth watering pictures & i am amazed how you share your cooking secret to everyone online are indeed a great cook & again i adore you a lot ...

  11. Such a long boring rant for a simple recipe..eeks..

  12. I know you are not going to publish this,but please cut short your crap for such whole-world-know dishes..though you are trying hard n desperately to move on n interact with readers..

  13. hmmmmm.....Oh, my god!!!I never had this stuff in uk eventhough it was my faaaaaaaaaaaaavorite!!!!How on earth did i forget....My mom makes it both with jaggery and sugar....Im a sugar girl...Thx for reminding:)

  14. forgot to say...Nice write up.....enjoyed reading it...Pile of banana peel...I had similar instance, but for me it was pile of cherry seeds...:)

  15. Wow my favourite tea time snack! I love to have this as such without cherupazham. Its been a long time since I made this as there is no Indian store in my place! Seeing yours has tempted me!

  16. What a lovely post.And the mention of aval brings back sweet memories.Nowadays try making the kids eat this!We used to have our maid(back in the good old days when I was young that is) pound the aval and coconut and sharkkara with the kallu and ural and the result would be a mass of brown powdery sweet heavenly tasting stuff.

  17. Good read! And yes, the pics are beautiful as always! I loved that jar ! I can have aval nanachathu anytime of the's just so yum! It reminds me of June- July 08 when I used to make it for Amma when her Haemoglobin level was low ( super low as in just 3.2!! )I used to stuff her with it cos it was a super good source of iron :)

  18. your posts are getting very nostalgic these days and making me long for my mother :-(
    can't make up my mind which is better - your narration, the picture or the recipe.

  19. and don't bother about anonymous comments. i guess by publishing it you are doing exactly that.

  20. Loved reading the conversation...nice pile of banana peels :) Even a simple recipe like this is worth blogging about.

  21. Nice recipe...never tried it before but will for sure do now..sounds yummy :-)

  22. Thats such a nice mallu dish..My amma used to make it once in a while for grandpa n dad..nice photos..About the story,sorry dont feel bad,but i too felt it was little long n boring..hope you dont mind me saying,u have a nice blog.

  23. Adyam enikke sherikku chiri vannu..Randideyum karyam orthitte..
    Pinne aa aval thinnunathe orthitte kothiyai..Aha!!Aval and Pazham!!
    Aval nanachu vechekkunathe super!
    My rgds to u and ur CJJ

  24. Aval is my fav all time snack.Looks awesome! I made poha payasam for janmashtami and I could try this with the remaining packet of Poha. :-)

  25. Raji, with or without milkmaid, i have never ventured into making halwa...partly coz both of us dont have a sweet tooth , also the thought itself is a bit intimidating to me :) I have seen my granny and paternal aunts making the naadan aluva but i have a long way to to go attain that skill level :) Hope u would be able to find ur dream recipe from other blogs. Truly appreciate the trust and confidence you show on the recipes featured in this blog. Thanks a bunch :)

    Nanditha, yeah, me too didnt like it much those days coz of the frequency at which it appeared on the table , but now i want to have all those stuff i rejected those days :) i havent tasted the spicier version u it like the aloo poha?

    My Experiments..., hope u enjoy :)

    Jayashree, glad I could ! :)

    Bindiya, thank you :)

    Anon, anything mom and grandmom made is tasty and heavenly :) and though i like wheat bread, i understand what u re saying...are u staying in a PG or hostel? Pleased to know that I am being of some help to some out there :)

    Divya, I have made kalayile phovu with the kumta masala shilpa sent me last year....and i did enjoy that a lot....very tasty it was :)

    Dhanya, yeah, i did read that u were travelling.....would like to see a post soon with ur travel accounts and pictures....hope u will get to it soon :) Btw, how was the trip?

    Mathew, Coming from someone like u , who brings out great pieces of writing each and every week,I take it as a huge compliment :) Thank you :)hey, we had a avalu-kaari too, again from TN itself....she used to come once in 6 months or so...and i used to wait for her visit coz she also brought 'pori' and kappalandi muttai ;P once she also came up with a marriage proposal for me...;))))Been thinking of her a lot recently, whenevr i opened the aval packet....mostly she will get featured here soon :P

    Shabs, pile of cherry seeds...interesting! nice to know that i refreshed ur memory...yeah i like the sugar version too.

    Poornima, thank you :) i think if u pound anything with a combo of sharkkara and thenga in a ural, it just tastes ariyunda...u had one delicious childhood for sure :)

    Ria, thanks a lot :) hows ur mom now? is she ok? was not aware of the iron part..i think i should have it more frequently then! And the vessel is a small bharani , small enough to keep on a table top filled with uppu, achar or even puli inji :)

    Chitra, thanks !

    Bindu, you got it right! thx a lot for the very encouraging feedbacks :) and the prevailing tone in my posts, i think is mainly coz i'm caught up in one of those moods...miss home a lot! i can imagine to an extent how u feel ....

    Pravs, thanks dear :) ur blog is a treasure trove of such simple ones !!!

    Kaya, very easy to make...hope u try and enjoy it soon :)

    Asha, to my knowledge, this one is not region/state specific i think , must be known under different names mostly. Thank you very much for dropping by and letting me know ur feedbacks. And for the long and boring parts, please feel free to skip/ignore such parts/posts as I really can't help it....thats the general tone and trend of this blog... :)

    KF, ho....vellappozhum engilum ethu vazhi onnu varaan thonneello.....varshathil maveli varunna poleya fairy de visit....:)) oru randu moonnu line enkilum vaayikkan patteello...othiri santhosham,,,,:) avide ellarkkum sukalle?

    Vijitha, could....i love aval payasam too :)


  26. Was just going thru ur comments, I cudnt stop laughing reading ur reply for KF....varshathil maaveli....hehehe....Enikku vayya...
    Will be buying aval today if hus comes back from work early..I hope he does!.But here aval comes in a biiiiiiiig bag...dono how long I will take to finish that one.
    I know like CJJ, he also hates aval nanachathu and he is going to moan when I ask him to buy aval,
    Anyways, U take care....

  27. Sorry I haven't been visiting recently and look how much I've missed. As I read about you and CJJ and the snacking, I remembered clearly what I love so much about this blog.

    Will email you soon.

    Hugs all around!

  28. Dear Shn, as always you paint a warm and lovely picture with your words... and now you made me crave aval nanachathu, though I've never had it :)

    Have never seen brown rice poha -- it's poha yes? Makes me want to go looking.

  29. Shabs, everyone has their own favorites...

    Cynthia, heyyy..pls dont say sorry...i know how buy u ve been.....mail me when u re fully relaxed :)

    Linda, did I ?? I am soo happy to hear that i could bribe ur craving dept with my words :D yes it is poha....let me know , if u cant find it in next two weeks....i will courier a pack if u want provided i go to my nearby city where the indian store carries this brown poha..let me know...

  30. My husband and daughter love this all time favourite and with those little bananas....... You make me hungry.

    I actually came back with 1 kg of naadan aval last week on my trip to Kerala! Don't get it here.

    Btw, love the first picture.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.