The malayalam word "avial" means an assortment or a mixture. Avial is a popular side dish in traditional Kerala, Tamil or Udupi cuisine and is basically a mixture of vegetables, Yogurt and Coconut, seasoned with Cumin. It is an essential part of the Onam Sadya and frequently prepared in most South-Indian households.
Vegetables commonly used in the Avial are the Elephant Yam, Plantain, Pumpkin, Carrots, Beans, Brinjal, Cucumber, Drum sticks, Snake gourd, and in some cases the Bitter gourd (in North Kerala versions). This dish is generally eaten with rice.
The secret behind a good Avial preparation is to get the texture of the vegetables just right- they should be al-dente (neither too mushy nor undercooked). If you over cook them, you will result with a sloppy and sticky dish, therefore pay special attention to the vegetables while you cook.
6 Cup – Vegetables, cut into 1.5 inch long pieces (Refer notes)
½ - Onion, sliced OR 3-4 – Shallots/Kunjulli
1 – Tomato
Salt to taste
½ Cup - Yogurt
¾ Cup – Coconut
½ Tsp – Turmeric
¾ Tsp – Jeera/Cumin/Jeerakam
1 sprig – Curry leaf
4 - Green Chilly
1 cm – Fresh ginger
1 clove – Garlic (optional) *Refer Notes and Tips
- Cook the vegetables and onions by adding little water, and salt. Add vegetables one by one according to their cooking time. Vegetables like Chembu/Taro, Carrot etc. take longer time to cook, so they go in first. Add the tomatoes at the end.
- While the vegetables are cooking, grind the coconut, jeera, turmeric, curry leaves, green chilly, ginger and garlic in just enough water to make a thick paste
- Add the ground coconut paste to the cooked vegetables
- Stir in yogurt.
- Drizzle with Coconut oil and serve hot
Notes and Tips
- You can use vegetables of your choice like Drumstick, Taro/chembu, pumpkin/mathan, Carrot, Yam/chena, Kaya/ Raw Banana
- Add vegetables one by one, according to their cooking times. The vegetables that take longer to cook, go in first
- Traditional Avial recipes does not use garlic but I always put in a clove of Garlic to enhance the flavor of the dish. (Optional)
- If you are in the US or any other foreign country and do not have access to an Indian store close-by here are some of the American vegetables that you can substitute for Indian vegetables
- Asparagus -> Drumstick
- Zucchini -> Velarikka (Yellow Cucumber)
- Butternut squash or acorn squash -> Mathangya
- Cucumber -> Kumbalanga
- Raw Plantain -> Raw Banana/Kaya
- Frozen cut Okra (Vendakka/Ladysfinger) is available in most supermarkets