Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Avial or Aviyal -- the BongMom version

Avial recipe, Kerala Avial

Kerala Avial Recipe

Avial is a traditional Kerala dish where a variety of different vegetables is cooked into a thick coconut based stew. There are some mythological references as per which, Bheema is said to have prepared Avial, when there were unexpected guests for King Virata and he needed to serve meals for them. There were no sufficient vegetables to cook any single recipe for a side dish, so Bheema used whatever available vegetables to make a new dish, which came to be known as Avial. However these might not be true

Every time I make a Shukto, someone tells me that it reminds them of Aviyal. I am not a Shukto fan so I never get riled up with the comparison. I mean at least Aviyal doesn't have bitter gourd (or maybe some version of it does but the most generic version of Avial doesn't have bitter gourd). Anyway I am not an Avial fan either. But the husband-man loves all kinds of vegetables, be it Shukto, Charchari or Aviyal and so we end up cooking and eating them once in a few weeks! (I won't admit how many weeks :-p)

Before I go into this post, let me tell you the Avial I made is not exactly the traditional Kerala or Tamil recipe. The traditional recipe has a list of 13 or 15 vegetables and cooked in coconut oil. I have also heard that depending on the region, the recipe of Avial varies a little. While I have followed the same base recipe and used coconut paste, I have taken some liberty with the vegetables used and the tempering of the dish. The end result was fantastic though your Tambram MIL or  Kerala ammachi might beg to differ.

So, last weekend, we had a couple of friends over for a backyard-social-distancing get together!That sounds so cool right?
Now that we are in the 2nd phase of reopening and outdoor meetups are allowed, we meet in small groups of friends in the backyard (For all in India and places where Covid cases are rising, stay safe and don't meetup yet, you will get there 🙏).
I am loving these backyard meetups more than the indoor one honestly!!! 🌳🏡
No compulsive cleaning needed...yaayy😛 and under the sky adda can be actually very relaxing in our summer evenings.
The husband-man made his killer pork-vindaloo for the party. To keep in theme with it I also made the Kerala Egg Roast from my blog. Then a Avial and a Goan Shrimp Curry. Only my Goan Shrimp Currry was a fusion and tasted more Chingri Malaikari than Goan!!!

So the Avial I made was based off 3 different recipes -- the base recipe was from here, the tadka/tempering was as suggested by a friend and the vegetables were as per my convenience. To understand the actual vegetables that go into an Aviyal please refer to this recipe. I had toned down the coconut a notch as I did not want a strong coconut flavor but I wanted the sweet creaminess that coconut brings, so I used only 1/2 cup of grated Coconut as opposed to 1 Cup. I did not have Coconut oil to cook the dish so I have used Vegetable oil and ghee. I will never claim this as the authentic Avial recipe but we loved this version.

Avial or Aviyal -- the BongMom version


Carrots - 1 big carrot peeled and chopped into thick sticks
Potato - 1 big chopped in thick sticks
Green Beans - 1 Cup of chopped green beans
Pumpkin - 1/2 Cup of pumpkin chopped into thick sticks
Jhinge aka Ridge gourd - 1/2 Cup peeled and chopped
Drumsticks - 7-8 frozen drumsticks OR 2 drumsticks chopped to 2" length

Make a Coconut Paste

Grated coconut - 1/2 Cup (fresh or frozen)
Green chilies - 3
Cumin seeds - 1tsp

Other Ingredients

Yogurt - 1/2 Cup
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Vegetable Oil - 2 Tbsp
Salt - to taste

For Tadka/Tempering

Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry Red Chili - 1 broken
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves - 6-8
Ghee - 1 tsp


Peel and chop the vegetables in long 2" sticks

Make the coconut paste.

How I Made it

Heat 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil in a Kadhai

Add potato and carrots. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of Turmeric powder and saute the vegetables for a couple of minutes.
Next add the green beans and pumpkin. Saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the ridgegourd and saute for a minute. Next add the drumsticks.
Add about 1 Cup of water, 1/2 tsp of salt and let the vegetables come to a simmer.
Cover and cook until vegetables are almost done.

Now add the coconut paste and simmer for about 6-8 minutes at medium heat until veggies are fully cooked. Add little more water if necessary.

Reduce heat to low. Add the whisked curd slowly and mix. Simmer at low heat.

In a separate pan, heat 1 tsp ghee. Temper the ghee with mustard seeds, dry red chilli, asafoetida/hing and curry leaves. When the spices pop, add this tempering to the vegetables simmering.  Switch off heat. Cover and let it sit for a few minutes.

Serve with rice.

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  1. I love Shukto..and I love Avial as well. I always had a Malayali neighbor strangely wherever I stayed at whatever stage of my life. I often feel maybe I have a malayali soul and that is why I attract them. I never made avial myself because it felt too elaborate a preparation however I like your version and will certainly try.

  2. This was absolutely brilliant. Followed it exactly except for the green chilli bit as I don't eat spicy food, and it was really tasty. My first time making Avial and thank you from Muscat, Oman.

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