Thursday, July 24, 2008

Avial - a vegetable superpower!

Dear foodies,

This is one dish I truly grew up too, Avial. From avoiding it every single time it made its way to the table... to craving it. I was just like the stereotypical kid I guess, hating avial only because it had sooo many vegetables in one dish :)) Only later recently did I started appreciating it for its flavor.

Avial is a subtly flavored dish that holds its beauty in the medley of vegetables which are steam cooked and later simmered in a coconut based gravy, bringing the whole dish together. The recipe for this dish is fairly uncomplicated but you hardly find good avials in the restaurants. Even the Udipi restaurant's, known to specialize in South Indian cuisine, fail to get it spot on. Infact the Udipi frozen packs are better than that! By the way, I love their frozen masala dosa, totally unhealthy I agree, but its good!


Avial - Vegetables simmered in a mild coconut curry
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cubed vegetables
         Common vegetables used in Avial are white pumpkin, (yellow pumpkin is not a substitute), yam, potato, raw banana, beans, cluster beans, drumsticks, peas, brinjal (eggplant), carrot and raw mango. No cauliflower or cabbage or capsicums here! You could substitute the white pumpkin with bottle gourd (sorakaya) and the raw mango with some sour curds or tamarind. 
    Grind to paste:
      • 1 Tbsp raw/uncooked rice (soaked in water for 15mins)
      • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
      • 1/2 cup freshly, grated coconut
      • 2 green chillies (no red ones here)
    • 1/2 cup sour curds
    • 11/2 tsp coconut oil
    • 4-5 curry leaves
    • Salt to taste
    Method:
    • Boil the vegetables till done adding just enough water. You could add them all to the cooker one after the other based on cooking times. The potatoes, yam, raw banana, drumstick and pumpkin go in first, carrots, beans and raw mango a few minutes later, lastly brinjal and peas.
    • Once they are close to done, add the ground coconut paste and salt. Simmer for 5-8 mins and turn off the heat. Then add the curds making sure the vegetables are luke warm to avoid curdling.
    • Top it off with chopped curry leaves and 1tsp of coconut oil. Serve with warm rice/venn-pongal/puri/chapathi or just have a bowlful :)
    It was wonderful having my mom do the cooking. Perfectly blended flavors, right what I was craving, there is definitely magic in those hands! No matter how closely I follow her recipes, I can never make it the way she does it, and her's happen to be my benchmark for perfection :( I have a lot more of her recipes coming up. The pumpkin or the bottle gourd is essential I think, they add the juicy bites to the dish and do not let the heavier' potatoes and yam take over. The coconut oil in the end might seem a little to strong if its your first time, but do give it a try, it adds a really nice touch to the dish. But be careful with the amt you add, a little goes a looong way here :) No tadka's required, but you could heat the oil a little bit to mellow out the taste if needed.

    21 thoughts:

    arundati said...

    i discovered this when i was studying in Coimbatore....ever since, i have had so many different versions of it....and always liked it.....great way to pack in a lot of veggies into a meal....yours looks good....

    Shreya said...

    Hi, Great aviyal! You beat me to posting an avial recipe! I was gonna post it tomorrow, I made it today with curd, and I did not add oil in the end. Nothing like having your mother make it:-)

    notyet100 said...

    looks yummy...nd nice post...

    Nithu said...

    Avial Looks perfect and inviting. Nice photo.

    ஆயில்யன் said...

    ஏதோச்சையாக பார்க்க நேர்ந்தது! அதுவும் அருமையானதொரு ஐட்டம் அவியல் செய்திருந்தப்போது!

    கல்யாண வீட்டில் மட்டுமே நான் அதிகம் சாப்பிட்டிருக்கும் (அதுக்குத்தானே நானெல்லாம் கல்யாண வீட்டுக்கே போறது!) இந்த அவியல் இப்போதும் நினைத்துப்பார்க்கையில் ருசிக்க வைத்தது!

    நன்றி!

    ஆயில்யன் said...

    //Nithu said...
    Avial Looks perfect and inviting. Nice photo.
    /

    Repeateyyyyyyyyy!

    bee said...

    no tofu? no avocado? no mushrooms? :D

    Medhaa said...

    Looks so delicious. I have always had avial at my friends place. Will try this out. Thank you.

    Cinnamon said...

    I never tried this dish before.... the pic is tempting me to try it...

    BTW can we use normal oil instead of coconut oil?

    Cham said...

    Avial looks tasty, the main flavoring item is coconut oil, i usually heat and fry the curry leaves to add at the end. But ur mom way seems simply delicious :)

    Sangeeth said...

    wow! avial...one of myfavs....luv the aroma and the taste....the coconut oil is the ingredient that makes this dish tastes awesome....thanks fir sharing this recipe

    bhags said...

    I had avial only once or twice.....havent developed the liking yet.....:)

    SMN said...

    Hey priya this is one of my all time fav curry.

    Srivalli said...

    priya..thats a beautiful picture..and you can send this for curry mela for rice!..

    Mansi Desai said...

    hi priya! I simply love Aviyal, but I've never made it at home myself:) maybe its time I gave it a try!:)

    Priya said...


    Arundhati, yes, its a neat way of having you veggies, given you like the taste though :)

    Shreya, firstly Welcome :). I did give you time to post yours you know! My mom made this on the 4th of July and it has been sitting in my draft folder for soo long..

    notyet100, thank you

    Nithu, thank you, nice to see you here :)

    Ahilyan, I must admit, it took me some time and help to read your comment :D Nanzhi!

    Bee, you tell me :D

    Medhaa, do give it a try. I never have all the veggies at hand and so keep postponing it. When my mom was here I had to have her cook it :) welcome!

    cinnamon,you can surely use normal oil. But like the others have commented too, its the coconut oil that gives it the authentic Kerala aviyal touch.

    Priya said...


    Cham and Sangeeth, coconut oil is surely the clincher in this recipe. My mom said when heated it mellows out the taste, so if you are fine with the flavor of coconut oil, raw is the way to go.

    Bhags, I know what you mean! :)Have it with puri and you will not mind it at all :))

    SMN, its such a uncomplicated dish, right?

    Srivalli, thank you! will send it out tonight :)

    Mansi, do give it a try, it pairs extremely very well with creamy pongal or even adai and ofcourse roti/puri

    Sophie said...

    We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email sophiekiblogger@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :)

    Anonymous said...

    Namaskaram Priya,

    Aviya, aviyal or avail (ah VEAL) is one of my favorite vegetable dishes from South India’s, Malabar coast, specifically, Kerala. It truly is a versatile curry dish in that you can use a variety of vegetables and substitute according to availability. The Kerala versions I’ve made, including Fish Aviyal, use the ubiquitous turmeric, tamarind and ground red pepper.

    For those not familiar with the items “raw banana” or “raw mango”, look for green (unripe) plantains and look for those mangos identified as green mango, which are species of mangos that are always tart and green and never ripen. Green apples make a good substitute. Lastly, “brinjal” is one of at least a half dozen Indian names for eggplant. Their shape varies from oval, pear, round to finger shape. For less bitter eggplant, I look for the smaller, younger, and firm ones heavy for their size.

    I look forward to your next post.

    CurryKid

    Priya said...


    CurryKid, I think I will edit my post to reflect eggplants being a name for brinjals. I have always eaten a 'white' aviyal and so did not know that turmeric was also an optional additive. Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts, appreciate it.

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