16 July, 2011

Khara Avalakki: For the Love of Simplicity

Khara Avalakki

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A glorious crown of silver hair, thick black framed spectacles popped on tip of his nose, angelic white muslin short kurta and dhoti on medium built frame, vibhuti dot on forehead, ruby studs in ears, rather mischievous twinkle in his eyes, and ever smiling lips were the trademark of one of the most loving, humble, caring, very special and exceptionally good looking man in my life, my Ajja (paternal grandfather)!

Ajja was more of a best friend to all his grandchildren than granddad! And it was not a simple task to be a doting grandpa for some 40+ grandsons and granddaughters. Yes, you read it right! Although I was lucky enough to bask in his undivided attention for just for 2 years, he has made a lasting impression on me. Being the youngest grandchild in the family with teenagers for cousins, I was rather pampered and shamelessly spoilt by all the elders in the family, cousin brothers and sisters, and especially by my grandfather. His chest was my comfortable bed for all my naps and his lap my playground! It was thing of amusement for everyone to watch how I kept him wrapped around my little finger and made him dance to my tunes, while my parents stood in front of him, shaking like a leaf, when he scolded them for punishing me for some naughty things I did! There were times when he held important village meetings on large open veranda in our ancestral home while I happily sat on his lap drawing moustache on his face with kohl. He had owned hectors and hectors of farm lands and large estates of plantations but it was always a small space in his loved ones hearts that mattered to him the most!!! It’s rather difficult to find such humble individual in life who believed in simplicity in life. A simple man with simple needs.

And his simplicity and modesty were all the more visible in his taste for food. A bowl of ganji (boiled rosematta rice) with a dollop of thuppa (ghee), simple stir fried vegetables and mavina midi uppinakai (tender mango pickle) were his favourite meal. One other thing he loved having was Khara Avalakki, a quick snack of spicy beaten rice with coconut and dash of aromatic tadka. He would gladly eat it for breakfast and evening snack with a large steaming glass of strong filter coffee. There is nothing complex or complicated about this dish. All you need to do is prepare tadka and add it to beaten rice, grated coconut and finely chopped onions and then finally, mix them all well. Just as simple as that! But there is nothing simple when it comes to taste. The fiery kicks from red chillies are mellowed by sweet coconut and the little crunchy bites from red onion add more flavour and different texture to it. All in all, this Khara Avalakki is simple, quick, and unbelievably delicious.

Tadka/Oggarane for Khara Avalakki

Khara Avalakki (A quick snack of spicy Beaten/Flat Rice with sweet Coconut and aromatic Tadka)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Serves: 2-4 people
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner
Spice Level: Medium to Hot
Shelf Life: N/A
Serving Suggestion: With coffee or tea for breakfast or evening tea or when hunger strikes

3 cups of thin Poha/Avalakki/Beaten Rice
1 tsp Sugar (optional)
Salt to taste

For Spicy Coconut Mixture:
1 cup fresh/frozen Coconut, grated
1 medium Red Onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Urad Dal/Split Black Gram
6-8 Byadagi Chilli or any mild flavoured chillies
Few Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Oil (preferably Coconut Oil)

Khara Avalakki

Chop the onion and add it to a mixing bowl containing grated coconut.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves. When mustard seeds start to pop n splutter and urad dal turns golden, transfer the tempering to onion and coconut mixture.
Now, using your fingers start breaking the red chillies. Mix the ingredients in mixing bowl using user hands.
Mix in poha, sugar (if using) and salt to taste and give it a good mix so that every single poha is covered with coconut mixture.
Serve it immediately with coffee or tea for breakfast or evening tea. Khara Avalakki is one of the easiest and simple snack recipe that you can serve at any time of the day.


  1. Sia my all time fav this is and i can eat it at any time such a comforting food :)

  2. wow!!thats lovely n delicious poha!!beautuiful click!

  3. Will try this sometime,looks so delicious

  4. Looks super super delicious.

  5. Grandparents are truly special. I had grandmothers, sadly my grand fathers on both sides passed away very early.
    But I understand what u mean, i found myself nodding my head and picturing my grandma ( maternal) and recollecting all she did for us.

    Loved the khara avalakki, we make dadpe pohe, similar, 'cept no coconut, we use tomato. Will try this soon.

  6. I wish I had a red onion to try this out right away..it looks so appetizing!

  7. What a lovely post! Your grandfather was very special! This dish looks do delicious. I have some rice flakes and I plan to try it! Thankyou!

  8. Nice recipe n superb ckicks! Even I prepare the Avalakki in the same way, but I will add turmeric to this and more green chillies..

  9. Yummy!! A favourite with us!!

  10. I love this so does my daughter. I have not made avalakki in a long time. Must make some soon. Thanks for bringing back memories.

  11. Love the simplicity of the dish..looks super duper delicious..and the pics are mind-blowing!!

  12. Hi Sia,

    really elegantly written post. A joy to read and a welcome addition to our range of Indian Breakfasts. It does indeed look simple, but I think these are often the most vibrant recipes; where you can really taste each ingredient separately.

  13. Thanks Sia for a really elegantly written post and great new recipe for us.

  14. just loved the description of your childhood. grandfathers are truly special and so are grandmothers.after reading it I suddenly want to visit India,esp Mangalore ( a place I have heard so much about, but never been except a fleeting trip to Udipi) will try the recipe for sure

  15. Hi Sia...
    Very interesting varied recipes Thank you dear... For sharing


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