Aval or flattened rice flakes is without a doubt one of the easiest ingredients in Indian cuisine. It’s is also one that evokes cosy memories. This paal aval us one such recipe that reminds me of my childhood a lot. A very simple after school snack that is made with poha (aval), banana, milk, some nuts and dried fruits and coconut was that comforting bowl of paal aval, that satisfied the hunger pangs and worked better than all the beat the heat remedies for the humid summers. This is also one of the easiest thought-free snack ideas I use now as a mum.
What do you need to make this recipe?
Paal aval is a basic raw porridge with rice flakes. Slightly different with a few more additions from the doodh pauva, this paal aval is often made with red rice flakes that are more common in South Indian cuisine. This paal aval that we are making is in the Malabar style as I have experienced during my childhood in Kozhikode.
Poha or aval
The classic Kerala style recipes with flattened rice ate made with the red rice variety. Pale pink in colour, this provides a pinkish colour to the milk it is soaked in. Nutritiously as well the red rice flakes are considered superior to the white flakes as they still carry the bran. Flattened rice is perfectly safe to consume. You can wash it quickly in running water and use it. The hand-pounded varieties will have bits of the husk in them that is unpleasant to bite into, so you may have to remove them manually. Usually, I pick up the cleaned variety from the Indian/Nepalese grocery store.
In Malabar, the banana variety used for this recipe is Mysore pazham. It has a slight sour centre which I am not a big fan of so I prefer to use sweeter varieties. If plantain banana is available, I use it to make this recipe, if not sugar bananas (Pisang raja) works well too. If you are in India, try the South Indian finger banana (elakki poovan) that tastes amazing. Since I use the sweeter banana versions, I avoid adding sugar. If you like this recipe with a sweet tooth, add sugar to your liking.
Dry fruits and nuts
An absolute must for this recipe are the nuts and dry fruits. That is the one that gives the textural factor. I love to load up crushed mixed nuts, chopped dates, raisins, dried apricots or cranberries based on what I have ready to go.
The milk softens the poha that you are adding. There is no particular variety of milk to choose from. I would avoid coconut milk as it makes it a bit too thick unless you are adding fresh thinned out coconut milk. I like the flavour of cashew milk or regular milk in this recipe.
Fresh grated or frozen sliced coconut adds so much flavour to this recipe. Of course, there are hardly any Kerala dishes that you will find without coconut. You can opt out of the coconut altogether if you don’t like it.
Variations you can create for this recipe
Jaggery syrup if you like sweet pazham pizhinjathu, add some crushed jaggery to jaggery syrup to the dish. I prepare the jaggery soup in honey stage as we have done in the avalpori recipe. This stores well in the refrigerator as well. You can use a Gula Melaka as we have made to go with the lemongrass jelly too.
Skip the milk and make aval nanachathu. If you are avoiding milk or prefer a drier version, try this recipe for aval nanachathu.
Add some dry ginger powder, chukku. In rainy and winter months mum used to add a pinch of chukku podi (dry ginger powder).
Blending the mix or just the banana to make pazham pizhinjathu.
The best part of this paal aval recipe is the way you can adapt it to suit your meal requirements. Being a very basic, no-cook recipe it is perfect for beginners or dorm cooking too.
- Cutting board
- salad spoons
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup rice flakes use red or white variety.
- 1 long Banana 2 small banana
- 2 tbsp nuts / dry fruits
- Peel and slice the banana
- Add it to two cups.
- Add the coconut milk and muddle the mix with the spoon a bit.
- Add the dry fruits and nuts.
- Let this sit for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve the paal aval immediately.
As usual share, your thoughts and experiences with this recipe in the comments below. If you happen to make this paal aval recipe, don’t forget to rate it. In fact, once you have got the aval pack, try a few more of these recipes from our Aval thali post.
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