Thursday, March 24, 2011

Avial (Vegetables in coarsely ground Coconut)

Avial (Malayalamഅവിയല്Tamilஅவியல், pronounced [aʋijal]) is a dish that has a unique place in typical Kerala as well as Tamil cuisineand Udupi cuisine. It is a thick mixture of vegetables, curd and coconut, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. Avial is considered an essential part of the Sadhya.
It is supposed to have been invented by Bhima (one of the Pandava brothers) during their exile. According to the legend, when Ballav (Bhima's name during this time) assumed his duties as the cook in the kitchen of Virata, did not know how to cook. One of the first things he did was to chop up many different vegetables, boil them together and top the dish with grated coconut.
I made this recipe without adding yogurt, you can make this as you wish with any vegetables you like. There is no hard and fast rule to use any particular vegetable. Me and Shoj love this vegetable recipe as it has lot of vegetables to it and easy to make.

1/4 lb Green Beans cut to 1 1/2 inch long pieces
1/4 lb Carrots quartered lengthwise and then cut to 1 1/2 inch long pieces
1 medium size Potato, skin peeled and cut to 1 1/2 inch long and 1 inch thick pieces
1 large Raw Plantain/Banana, skin peeled and cut to 1 1/2 inch long and 1 inch thick pieces
1 Yellow Squash cut to 1 1/2 inch long and 1 inch thick pieces
1 medium Tomato quartered and cut into 1 inch thick and 1 1/2 inch long pieces
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For Seasoning:
1 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 pinch Asafoetida
1-2 dry Red Chilies
2 Shallots sliced
1 sprig Curry leaves

Coarsely Ground:
1/2 Cup fresh or frozen or dried grated coconut
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2-3 Green Chilies
1 inch Ginger chopped

1. In a mixer add all the ingredients from the coarse ground mixture and coarsely grind this. If you are using dried grated coconut may be you need to add few drops of water if necessary.
2. In a heavy bottom pan with 1 cup water add all the vegetables and turmeric powder, cover and cook for about 10 mins or until all the vegetables are 3/4th cooked. It is ok if little bit of water is there.
3. Now add the ground coconut mixture to it and turmeric powder and mix it gently, making sure that you don't break the vegetables and make it mushy. Off the stove.
4. Now in a pan add oil, when it's hot add mustard seeds, and when they start to sputter add asafoetida, dry red chilies and curry leaves, then add the shallots and fry it until it turns brown and it to the vegetables and mix gently again. Serve this as a side dish with steamed rice and sambar.