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  • Spicy Aval/Poha (Flattened Brown Rice) with Black Chickpeas

    Posted on | May 29, 2009 | 37 Comments |

    Aval is the Malayalam name for flattened or beaten rice. Growing up, one of my favorite snacks used to be Aval Nanachathu (which translates to wet aval), which is just flattened rice mixed with grated coconut and jaggery or sugar. It is very easy to make, so it was a frequent tea time snack at my house. But after I left home, I never bothered to make it myself, no idea why!  When I went to India in March, I found brown rice Aval at the store, anything brown rice gets my attention these days, so I brought some back with me .

    One weekend I was raiding the pantry for a snack when I found the packet of Aval that I had forgotten all about. I was in the mood for something spicy and I had seen some savory Aval recipes before. So I searched the web, and every single recipe I found asked for soaking the aval in water, so of course that was the first thing I did. Alas, in just a minute, it turned into mush! Apparently there are different types of aval, and mine was the thinnest variety. The thicker ones are more popular and needs soaking to soften the rice. Anyway I didn’t waste it though, I boiled the mushy aval along with some milk and added some cardamom powder and agave nectar and voila! an instant dessert was ready!

    I was more careful with the second batch, didn’t do any soaking at all. I sprinkled some hot water after mixing it with spiced chickpeas which softened it enough and still maintained the crunch. This was an awesome snack, in fact I skipped dinner that day as this was extremely filling.

     Aval 003


    • 2 cups thin aval/flattened rice
    • 1 cup cooked black chickpeas (Kadala)
    • 1/4 cup shallots sliced
    • 1 tbsp thinly sliced green chilies
    • 1 tsp crushed red chilies
    • Salt to taste
    • Lemon/Lime juice for taste
    • Oil


    Heat oil in a pan and saute the shallots and green chilies till soft. Add the crushed red chilies and saute for a minute. Add cooked chickpeas and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the aval and mix well. Sprinkle 1 tbsp hot water and mix well, remove from the heat. Serve with a generous amount of lime/lemon juice sprinkled over.


    • This was quite spicy, so reduce the amount of green and red chilies to suite your tastebuds
    • If using thick aval, do soak it for couple of minutes to soften it.

    South Beach Diet Tip : This is a perfect snack for SBD Phase 2 and 3.

    Sending this one to Nags who is hosting Monthly Mingle #33 – Ravishing Rice Recipes, an event started by Meeta.

    Category: Appetizers and Snacks, India - Kerala, Lentils and Legumes, Rice, South Beach Diet Friendly, Vegetarian

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    37 Responses to “Spicy Aval/Poha (Flattened Brown Rice) with Black Chickpeas”

    1. Nags
      May 29th, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

      even i never make aval nanachathu on my own! though i have both aval and sharkara right in my pantry! this looks like a much more interesting snack though :)

    2. varsha
      May 29th, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

      I have totally forgotten the last time I had Aval..:P..This looks different n my type as it is spicy..:)

    3. Sra
      May 29th, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

      The few times I’ve made poha it was with red rice flakes, and until the last time, I’d always had trouble softening it – washing it, draining it and letting it sit for a while was what the recipe would say, but it being red, it needed to sit for a little while longer.

    4. Divya Vikram
      May 29th, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

      Sounds like a great recipe packed with protein. I love the sweeter version of poha better. i added a lil scraped coconut to it.

    5. Shreya
      May 29th, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

      Hi Sig, thank you for the comment on the Palak Rice. Regarding the colour of the rice, it comes from the garam masala and the pepper added towards the end, and not from brown rice. My hubby is non-mallu and does not prefer brown rice much, so I make it only for Onam and Vishu and when I feel like having some:-)

      Your post brought back many memories. It is my dad’s favorite snack, and whenever kadala curry was leftover from a puttu-idli breakfast, Amma would heat oil, throw in some chopped onions, red chillies and curry leaves and mix the aval and kadala curry and have it ready as a snack, and yes we loved squeezing the lemon juice over it.And come to think of it, I have not had it for ages:-( I have fresh aval (well-back from Vishu, when Amma sent parcel from Kerala to Mumbai:D) and would love to make this for breakfast tomorrow:-)

    6. Parita
      May 30th, 2009 @ 2:01 am

      Wow lovely snack..never used poha like this before..looks delicious

    7. Happy Cook
      May 30th, 2009 @ 3:16 am

      I agree sign for us also aval nanachathu was a regular ten time snack after school and velayichathu also.
      Next time when i go to asian shop i should look for aval.
      I have not had them for almost 20 yrs.

    8. Laavanya
      May 30th, 2009 @ 4:18 am

      The brown rice aval i brought back (made with rosematta) i think was so thick and needed a lot of soaking. Maybe I should look for the thinner varieties next time. I love savoury aval and this with chickpeas looks delicious Sig.

    9. Mamatha
      May 30th, 2009 @ 5:25 am

      I like the idea of adding of kadala to aval, makes for a wholesome meal. I looked at the ingredients and the recipe and see no turmeric or masala of any sort, what gave it that beautiful color – the crushed chilies?

      • Sig
        June 2nd, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

        Hi Mamatha, since both the aval and the chana are brown, it already had the nice brown color and then the chili flakes sure added some more I guess.

    10. elra
      May 30th, 2009 @ 5:34 am

      I learn so much about Indian dish that I don’t find in the restaurant, which is great. I thank you for that. I can proudly cook Indian dish from your recipe and show it of to my Indian friends (we have so many). Yum!

    11. Soma
      May 30th, 2009 @ 6:49 am

      These are not the white poha right? if not i have not seen these. what you made looks munchy delicious!

      • Sig
        June 2nd, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

        No not the white poha, it is made from rosematta rice, and is reddish brown in color

    12. SuperChef
      May 30th, 2009 @ 10:25 am

      ooohhh…i love aval nanachathu!! you just reminded me of it and i dont have any aval with me :( :(

      love this spicy aval also, like hte idea of putting kadala in it!! yumm!

    13. cheffresco
      May 30th, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

      Black chickpeas – never even heard of them! This looks great!

    14. Purnima
      May 30th, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

      Sig, that looks fabulous! Well can I grab a fistful? :D With black kadala..its a unique combo n made very differently! Must try it!
      (My moms version, which I love is – jaggery+coconut+ 1 Tbsp sambhar pwder, then add thin aval relish as snack! Gives a burst of flavors)Thanks !!

    15. Shantanu
      May 31st, 2009 @ 6:42 am

      Very interesting! At first glance looked like something that would come out of a Haldiram packet. I am sure this is an amazing snack!

    16. Mag
      May 31st, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

      Hi, It looks nice. It will be dry or wet dish?

    17. Nirmala
      May 31st, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

      Sig I was expecting the aval to be deep fried for this kind of snack but this recipe totally turned out different. Yes aval is very filling and I like it this way :)

    18. Bong Mom
      June 1st, 2009 @ 4:30 am

      We make this too but I have not seen a Brown Rice Poha here. Yummy snack isn’t it ?

    19. Roops
      June 1st, 2009 @ 6:11 am

      Nice one. never tried Poha with Chana. It will be a good combo pf carb and protein :) . I absolutely love poha mixed with coconut and jaggery. The wet kind of jaggery that i dont get anymore :(

    20. Juliana
      June 1st, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

      This is all new to me…so many ingredients that I never heard before :-) flattened brown rice? black chickpeas? I love to learn…thank you!

    21. Aparna
      June 2nd, 2009 @ 6:46 am

      All the sweet varieties of aval are favourites with my husband and daughter though I prefer savoury preparations.
      Aval and kadala is a new combination to me. It looks like chivda in your pic, Sig. :)

    22. Kalai
      June 2nd, 2009 @ 10:20 am

      Wow… Looks crunchalicious!

    23. chitra
      June 2nd, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

      Great recipe and good presentation.

      Could you tell me if this brown poha is available in the US and where?


      • Sig
        June 2nd, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

        Hi Chitra, sorry I haven’t seen these in the US, but frankly I’ve never looked for these here. You might want to check out the Indian stores in the area.

    24. Shruthi
      June 3rd, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

      Sig & Siv, Happy Wedding Anniversary (4th June). May you have all the happiness in the world! Enjoy!


      • sig
        June 7th, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

        Thanks Shruthi! :) So sweet of you to remember this!

    25. veena
      June 3rd, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

      Hi ..
      Nice presentation ..Pic looks so tempting ..


    26. Lubna Karim
      June 5th, 2009 @ 4:54 am

      Oh wow looks yummy….

    27. Cynthia
      June 6th, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

      I saw flattened rice in a store in Guyana recently but my suitcase was already overweight so I did not bother to bring some. Next time though.

    28. Srivalli
      June 7th, 2009 @ 9:05 am

      hey sig that looks real swell!..nice snack..

    29. Padmaja
      June 7th, 2009 @ 10:14 am

      I go thru times when I am stressed to try these easy n spicy snacks. Your version looks so yum…

    30. Miri
      June 9th, 2009 @ 2:27 am

      This such an interesting combination! not to mention healthy!! definitely on my to-do list!

    31. shanthi
      July 1st, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

      do u know where can we find brown poha here in searching for it