Purely vegetarian, Non-spicy, and a Healthy dish from the heart of Kerala, A recipe of mixed vegetables & coconut…
Avial is one of the most popular authentic and traditional dishes of Kerala (state in South India), favored for its use of the locally available vegetables, coconut, and its simplicity and ease of preparation.
The origin of this dish has various mythological stories tied to it, though they all point to the ease of making it by boiling everything in water, which inherently is the meaning of the word Avial. It is a core part of Sadya, the traditional vegetarian feast of Kerala, and is also served as a South Indian delicacy in many international restaurants.
Avial can be prepared in different ways, with the variations ranging from the type of vegetables used, the sour agent, and the pot in which it is prepared. During my childhood days, my mother used tamarind as the sour agent but nowadays we prefer a yogurt and tomato mix. Also cooking in an earthen pot is the traditional way which is also considered to enhance the flavor.
While preparing, ensure that you do not overcook the vegetables. Some vegetables like yellow cucumber contain a lot of water and cook pretty fast and thus loose it crunchiness, so I would recommend cooking on a low flame to get it right. And don’t forget to finally garnish the dish with coconut oil, that’s the real hero which brings it all together…! Enjoy…
Prep time: 30 – 40 minutes
Serves: 4 – 5 servings
- 1/2 cup elephant-foot yam / chena (sliced lengthwise)
- 1 cup snake gourd / padavalanga (sliced lengthwise)
- 1 small raw banana / Kaya (sliced lengthwise)
- 1 small yellow cucumber / vellarikka (sliced lengthwise)
- ½ carrot (sliced lengthwise)
- 4 -5 drumsticks (slit)
- 1 small tomato (finely chopped)
- ½ cup grated coconut
- 2 shallots
- 2 green chilies
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon of chili powder
- 3 sprigs of curry leaves
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- ¼ cup water
- coconut oil as required
- salt as required
- Peel the skin off of the yam, cucumber, and carrot.
- Scrape the skin of the raw banana and drumsticks.
- Pit the cucumber and snake gourd.
- Clean and rinse all the above vegetables properly in water, and then slice them lengthwise. Keep aside.
- Make a paste of coconut, cumin seeds, shallots, and green chilies. Keep aside.
- In a pot add water, all the sliced vegetables, chopped tomatoes, curry leaves, turmeric powder, chili powder and salt. Cover the lid and cook on medium flame.
- When the vegetables start cooking, add the paste and mix well. Boil for another 2 minutes. Make sure you do not overcook vegetables.
- Reduce to a low flame, add yogurt, and additional salt as needed, mix well.
- Garnish with coconut oil and curry leaves. Turn of the flame, cover the lid and allow it to rest for another 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with steamed rice.