Over the past few months, I've been scouring the food entries on Wikipedia a lot to the point where aavakaya is alphabetically the first food entry on Wikipedia. I read the aavakaya page and it said the dish is commonly made during early summer, which corresponds to the time of the year I'm writing this blog post.
I hope this blog post doesn't come off as cultural appropriation to anyone reading this, as I'm not of South Indian descent- but I don't stand to profit from this video either, especially financially. Is it wrong to combine cuisines and fuse them together to form something delicious? I think not but that's up to you to decide. I just don't feel like I should be restricted to cooking American or European-inspired meatloaves just because it's politically correct.
Oh, and full disclosure: I've never tried the actual aavakaya recipe before, so I don't have a frame of reference as to what this meatloaf should taste like. I can only imagine I wouldn't be fond of hot mango pickles on account of its spiciness.
The meatloaf didn't turn out very spicy(well, I only used a pinch of curry powder but you're welcome to use more if you like) and it didn't remind me of anything that would be served at an Indian restaurant in terms of the level of spiciness. But I'm fine with that.
My dad didn't like this meatloaf- he spit whatever was in his mouth out after I filmed him tasting it. He's just being polite to the camera for you guys. My dad said the dried coconut tasted tough and the tofu bland, which is the opposite of what you'd expect out of a dish that is known for its spiciness. Oh well.
Gooseberry Jam: https://nuts.com/cookingbaking/spreads/jam/gooseberry.html
Pigeon Peas: https://nuts.com/cookingbaking/beans/pigeon-peas.html
You will need:
For the cooking equipment:
A frying pan
A large bowl
A lasagna pan
Nonstick cooking spray
For the meatloaf:
1/2 chopped up onion
Ghee(see HELPFUL LINK)(served with aavakaya)
2 beaten and whisked eggs
1 average cucumber or 1/2 long cucumber, chopped into thirds(used in dosa aavakaya)
4 oz. dried or shredded coconut(used in kobbari aavakaya)
4 oz. dried green mango(green mangoes are the default recipe)
1 tsp. sesame oil(used in nuvvulu aavakaya)
1 tbsp. jaggery(used in bellam aavakaya)(see HELPFUL LINK)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt(eaten with aavakaya)
1/4 gooseberry jam(gooseberries are used instead of green mangoes in aavakaya)(see HELPFUL LINK)
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of garlic(ginger and garlic are used as a paste in allam aavakaya)
Pinch of chili powder(what makes aavakaya spicy)(I used chipotle chili powder as that's what I had on hand)
Pinch of curry powder(contains mustard powder and fenugreek- the latter of which is used in menthikaaya)
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cooked pigeon peas(served with aavakaya)(see HELPFUL LINK)
1/2 cup cooked white rice(also servced with aavakaya)(I used microwave rice)
1 lb. chopped, drained, firm tofu
1. Pour ghee into a frying pan. Turn the frying pan on and spread the ghee around the pan with a spoon as it melts.
2. Once you hear the ghee sizzling, pour in the chopped onion and sautee them by moving them around the pan until they're translucent(note: the onions won't absorb the ghee so the sauteed onions may end up looking liquidy)
3. Put the sauteed onions into a large bowl along with all the other meatloaf ingredients.
4. Mix all the ingredients up until you get a somewhat firm mixture.
5. Spray a lasagna pan with nonstick cooking spray. Form 2 loaves from the meatloaf mixture.
6. Bake the meatloaves in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 40-45 minutes.
7. Bon appetit!