Avial (South Indian Style Mix Veg Curry)
Avial has appeared on the blog earlier last month, as part of an accompaniment to the Milagu Jeera Adai (Pepper and Cumin spiced Mixed Lentils Pancakes). However, I thought the dish didn’t receive a standing ovation that it deserves. That is precisely the reason, I thought I should blog this vegetable or curry separately. Of course, for any Keralite including me, Avial is pure love, comfort!
Avial or the South Indian Mix Veg Coconut Curry though has been described in detail in my earlier post, has been made slightly in a different way here. The Avial you find here has more coconut and curd gravy than the other version.
According to Hindu Mythology, this Avial recipe is supposed to have been invented by Bhima (Pandavas) during their exile period. During the exile, Bhima was working as a cook in a palace and when told to cook and serve a dish, chopped up many mixed vegetables, boiled them and added grated coconut and presented a lovely dish to the King, which later became popular as Avial.
Avial is also one of the key curries or vegetable served during Vishu and Onam, the two key South Indian Festivals celebrated in Kerala.
Avial can be made with a variety of vegetables ranging from pumpkins (white and yellow), beans, cluster beans, papdi or sem, Plantain, Jimikand or Suran, carrots, drumsticks, cucumbers etc.
Personally, we love this kinda Avial, the one with loads of coconut, the slight hint of sourness from yoghurt and the spice kick from fresh green chillies. This is a perfect meal not only to be accompanied with rice but is a good side dish for rotis or parathas as well. All you need is a good batch of mixed veggies, ash gourd or white pumpkin being the most important one. The Recipe is Gluten Free but not Vegan (curd). You can however, opt for a vegan curd and try this dish at home.
South Indian Households all over make Avial in different ways. Some add tempering of mustard seeds while some don’t (as in my case too), some use tamarind paste instead of yoghurt for the slight tang to the gravy etc. Some even add onions. Personally I love the simple traditional method that has no tempering, just a generous drizzle of coconut oil on top and served with some piping hot rice and sambar or rasam. These are dishes that I have grown up and would not add any twists or innovations. Somethings are meant to bring nostalgia, warmth and comfort, Avial does just that!
With summers approaching in many parts of the world, this is an ideal dish that has yoghurt for gravy along with mixed vegetables that provide the perfect health and taste balance. Not to mention, this dish doesn’t require you to toil for long in the kitchen. Check out the recipe below and prepare this lipsmacking dish from my part of the world, Kerala!
Recipe for Avial (South Indian Mix Veg Coconut Curry) – Step by Step pics below
Prep Time – 15 mins
Cook Time – 20 mins
Makes 4 servings
- Ash Gourd – 150 gms skin peeled and cut into thick slices
- Pumpkin – 150 gms skin peeled and cut into thick slices
- Plantain – 1 nos. skin peeled and cut into thick slices
- Snake gourd – Deseed and cut into thick slices
- Suran or Jimikand – 150 gms skin peeled and cut into thick slices
- Coconut Grated or cut into pieces – ½ a shell
- Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
- Green chillies – 2 nos.
- Thick Yoghurt / curd – 3 tblsps
- Salt as per taste
- Few sprigs of curry leaves
- Coconut oil – 1 tsp
- In a vessel (suitable for pressure cooking), add all these washed and chopped vegetables along with turmeric powder and salt. Drain excess water and close the vessel with the lid.
- Pressure cook for atleast 2-3 whistles. The vegetables should be soft but shouldn’t turn all mushy.
- In the meanwhile, grate the coconut or in my case, I resort to cutting pieces and then grind them along with some green chillies. Don’t add water. It should be a dry masala mix.
- Once the cooking is done and the pressure is released, place the cooked vegetables in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Add few sprigs of curry leaves and then the coconut and the green chilli mixture. Stir well, check and adjust for the salt and then switch off the flame.
- Add the yoghurt (whip it well before adding to avoid lumps) and mix well.
- Drizzle the coconut oil and close it with a lid until serving them piping hot.
Recipe notes –
- This is a no-onion and no-garlic dish as done by Palakkad Iyers.
- You need not pressure cook and rather choose to cook the veggies over direct flame in a kadhai or heavy bottom pan. Ensure you don’t add too much water or let the vegetables overcook.
- You can make a thicker version of Aviyal too called “Getti Avial” – Getti translated as tight in Tamil. Its just that you don’t add water during cooking and make it like a dry vegetable.
- However, I prefer a little gravy / sauce like version of Avial that can easily be accompanied with adai or even dosas or phulkas.
- Addition of half a coconut is very important as it lends the thickness and the taste to the dish.
- Yoghurt should be added only after the flame has been switched off and the avial is off the heat, else it would split and make your avial too runny. Some add sour yoghurt to the avial but I prefer adding thick fresh curds that are not sour at all.
- There is no tadka or tempering for this dish. Just a drizzle of coconut oil for the aroma and flavor.
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