Avial – (Vegetables simmered in Coconut Yoghurt Gravy.)
Avial, a kerala dish, was always a favorite of mine. There are many different ways of making this simple dish, but I love the way my grandmother used to make it. She had no methods and proportions, but all her dishes would be extremely tasty and very well done. I dont ever remember even a single incident where she felt that her salt was more or less or the dish was not well done. Her cooking was perfected over years and years of practice. As I lived with her during my student years, I had learnt this dish from her first hand!! Traditionally, Avial is made either as a side in a slightly thick form, or as a “kuzhambu” form where its slightly more thinner.
Normally, Avial, is a choice when I see I have a lot of leftover vegetables at the end of the week. It could be made with a variety of gourds and roots so its pretty versatile. Typically, its made with ash gourd, yam, potatoes, drumstick, carrots and raw plantains and some times even mango! . I am posting this simple recipe for the benefit of all my friends who have been wanting to try this for a long long time. In Tamil Nadu, people pair “Avial” with “Adai” for a filling evening tiffin or dinner.
(ALL THE VEGETABLES HAVE TO BE CUT IN TO 1 INCH LONG PIECES)
Ash Gourd – 1/2 pound.
Yam – 1/4 pound
Raw Plantain – 1 Medium sized
Potatoes – 1 Big sized or 2 Medium Sized
Carrots – 1 Long
Long Eggplant – 1
Tamarind Water- 1/4 cup
Thick Yoghurt – 1/2 cup.
Coconut – 1/3 cup
Green Chillis – 6-7
Turmeric – A pinch.
- Arrange the heavier root vegetables like the carrots, potatoes, yam and plantains at the bottom of the vessel, and the more lighter ones like the gourds and eggplant on the top.
- Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder and pour the tamarind water over the veggies and allow to cook in the cooker for JUST ONE WHISTLE.
- Do not overcook the vegetables as this would make them mushy.
- Pulse the chillies and the coconut to a smooth paste.
- Take a heavy bottomed vessel and move the cooked veggies to it.
- Swich on the stove and add the ground coconut paste.
- Stir in the paste carefully to avoid breaking the cooked vegetables.
- After simmering for 5-6 mins, add the thick curds and salt.
- Stir again to mix in the yoghurt, add curry leaves, 3-4 drops of coconut oil and switch off the stove.
- Serve HOT!! with Vethal Kuzhambu.