Avial, traditional avial recipe, vegetables in coconut, yogurt based gravy:
Avial is a traditional south Indian recipe. I have loved this since my childhood. Believe it or not, I was quite a fussy eater… I so wish I hadn’t been such a trouble for my mother….
But this was one dish I could never have enough of!
Basically it is a dish prepared using lots of hearty vegetables cooked in a coconut based gravy. It tastes delicious with rice. However, I enjoyed eating just avial on its own in a bowl, with a spoon….my idea of heaven! the juicy vegetables in the slightly spicy coconut gravy …mmmm just irresistible.
vegetables such as the ones below are a must to obtain the authentic experience.
green plantain – 1, peel removed and choppped into slightly large pieces (say about 1.5 to 2 cm)
elephant yam – a quarter of a small yam, peeled, chopped in similar sizes (about 120g)
white pumpkin – about a 120g chopped into similar sized pieces as above
runner beans or beans – 10-12 chopped into similar length pieces
carrot – 1 medium sized, chopped into medium thin pieces 1.5 to 2 cm length
peas – fresh or frozen about 100 g
grated fresh coconut – 1 cup
cumin or jeera – 1 tbsp
hing or asafoetida – 1/4 tsp (optional)(I like to add this)
green chili – 1 very long one roughly chopped into 3; or 3 small
curds or natural yogurt (just sour curd works better) – 3/4 cup beaten to form a smooth consistency
water – 3/4 cup
coconut oil – 3 tsp. (generally coconut oil is used which gives a very nice aromatic tempering. but any regular cooking oil can be used)
mustard seeds – 1 tsp
hing or asafoetida – 1 good pinch
curry leaves – 12 – 15 , these are a must too
Cook the vegetables in water in an open pot until just tender
While the vegetables are getting cooked, grind the coconut, green chili, cumin and hing in the mixer grinder, using small amounts of water as needed, to prepare smooth paste
Drain away the excess water from the cooked vegetables carefully since the water is boiling hot. we need to do this since the yam leaves a sort of bitter flavour in the water it’s cooked in.
Now, add the ground paste to this add about 1/4 cup of water
Add the beaten sour curd, additional 3/4 cup of water and mix everything adding salt to taste
Now, bring this to a boil at low temperature
Do not allow the sauce to split. keep an eye on it and stir until it comes to a gentle first boil. turn off the heat.
To prepare tempering, heat oil in the small pan, add mustard seeds and allow it to pop. add hing, curry leaves and turn off the heat. wait until the curry leaves become crispy looking
Transfer to the avial, mix again
Serve with hot rice or even as a side dish
1 tbsp of besan (kadle hittu) or rice flour (akki hittu) can be added when grinding coconut, cumin, green chili, hing. this gives a bit of a substance to the avial