Avakaya is South India’s state of Andhra Pradesh most favorite pickle. It is go-to pickle at festivals, weddings, gatherings, pujas, and wherever people gather. If you taste, you will soon realize the exaggeration about Avakaya is genuine. In other words, you will experience heaven on earth. Avakaya biryani is basmati rice cooked with avakaya. Avakaya biryani is an extravaganza.
Avakai is spicy, reflecting Andhra’s significant taste. Made from scratch, using household ingredients, Avakaya is a seriously tasty pickle. It is an exceptional combination to eat with rice and ghee. It also goes great with any dish which needs more flavor and spice. It even works as a dip. Lastly, it can be transformed into India’s favorite dish Birayni. So what is Avakaya? Ava (mustard seeds), kaya (vegetable), is made of raw mango, mustard seed powder, salt, chili powder, oil. Literally, that’s all. It is important to mix the right amount of ingredients. In addition to its fame and great taste, Avakaya will wow you with its long shelf life. Avakaya will stay fresh for 6 months to a year, which can be extended by refrigerating and avoiding any moisture contact. Andhra meal is incomplete without avakaya.
Avakaya is made in many variations. Regular Avakaya, Sesame Avakaya, Jaggery Avakaya, Ginger/Garlic Avakaya, grated mango avakaya etc. Yummy. Every household is busy making preparations in summer when it is mango season. While women are busy gathering chilies, mustard seeds, and sesame oil, men are busy buying mangoes, get them cut. Children just can’t wait for fresh avakaya to taste. It’s a family affair. As said food and happiness are closely connected. Steaming rice, avakaya, and ghee.
Mangoes are chosen carefully. Green, raw, hardest are chosen. Men gain experience year by year. Though there are quite a number of mango cutters in the market, they choose the person they know. They continue choosing the same person every year. Cutting avakai the right way is not possible for anyone. Only a heavy, sharp knife with an experienced person can.
- 2 cups basmati rice
- ¾th cup prepared avakaya pickle
- ¼th cup diced carrots
- ¼th cup diced potatoes
- ¼th cup diced red onions
- 1 cinnamon optional
- 2 star anise optional
- 2 tbsp - healthy oil
- Soak basmati rice for at least an hour.
- Heat basmati rice in 1¼ cups of water in a pot on high heat. Add 1 tsp salt. When water starts boiling turn flame to lowest heat. Cook until all water evaporates. Turn off the stove.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot. Add cinnamon, star anise. Fry for 30 seconds.
- Add carrots, potatoes, onions. Cook for few minutes. Add salt and avakaya. Stir well. Cook till slightly soft. Do not overcook.
- Now in another pan first add the vegetable layer. Then rice layer. Repeat layers till rice and vegetables are done. You can set up layers in a tray and cook in the oven over 350c.
- Close lid tightly. Turn stove to lowest heat. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice is well cooked.
- Remove, mix well.
- Serve hot.