From the time my blog has come into being I have been
wanting to post this recipe. But somehow I never got together to do it. A day
before Onam, a friend of mine was casually speaking to me about Onam feast
preparation and avial came into picture. She wanted to know how to make it and
she just told me that she’ll look up my blog for the recipe and that’s when I
had to tell her that I have not yet got a post on Avial. She was very surprised
‘cos, the name of my blog is Palakkad Chamayal, and avial is a very regular
feature in a Palakkad Iyer’s Kitchen. So that’s when I decided it’s high time
for me to post this specialty dish from Kerala.
Avial is a yummy blend of different veggies in a spicy
coconut and yoghurt gravy flavored with coconut oil. It makes use of vegetables
like, Ashgourd, pumpkin, raw banana, yam, drumstick, yard long beans, snake
gourd, carrots and French beans. Some people even add eggplants or brinjals.
But I don’t add it. Some people prefer to substitute yoghurt with raw mango or
tamarind pulp. Avial is made in two ways, one has more gravy and can be mixed
with rice, just like Mor Kuzhambu, we call it Avial Kootan and the other is
Gatti Avial, which is slightly thicker in consistency and acts more like a side
dish for Sambar or Molagootal.
Actually preparing avial has become a rarity at my place
since we moved to Hyderabad. The reason being, that we find it very difficult
to get ashgourd and pumpkin, which are one of the main ingredients in the local
shops around our locality. So for this Onam, I made sure I got all the required
vegetables from the raithu bazaar, and prepared it for our Onam Sadhya.
A few months back, when I had gone to Trivandrum to visit my
brother’s child, I happened to visit the Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple. My
brother’s BIL, who is born and brought up at TVM, and is very attached to the
temple took us to a guided tour of the temple. Then he narrated this incident
about how avial came into being. The king of Travancore, conducted poojas, called
Murajapam for a specified period of days, every year, in which a many vedic
scholars participated. One year, it so happened that there were no vegetables
left for the last day of the Murajapam. A small quantity of different
vegetables left over from the previous days was available. So the head cook,
used all these left over vegetables and prepared a dish and he named it avial,
which means a combination of this and that. This dish was liked very much by
the king and all. The cook was handsomely rewarded and avial became a regular
fare in any feast.
I have to mention here, that Adai is my Husband’s the most favorite dish. And he loves the
combo of Adai with Avial. So whenever we have Avial for lunch, the dinner menu
gets fixed immediately as Adai.
This has become an unexpectedly long post. So now let’s just
get to the recipe.
What you’ll need
Ashgourd – 100 gms
Pumpkin – 100gms
Raw banana – ½
Yam – 100gms
Carrot – 1 Medium
Drumstick – 1
Beans – 4 – 5
Potato – 1 small
Turmeric Powder – a pinch
Salt to taste
Yoghurt – ½ cup slightly sour
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Curry Leaves a few
Scraped Coconut – 1 ½ cups
Green chillies – 4 – 5 ( adjust according to
Wash peel and cut all vegetables lengthwise into about 2”
In a heavy bottom Kadai, add the Yam, plantains, ashgourd,
at the bottom (since these veggies take slightly longer time to cook) and then
add the other veggies. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and salt to taste. Add
about 1 cup of water and cook covered until the vegetables are just done. They
should not get mushy. If after the veggies get cooked there is lot of water
remaining, cook uncovered till the moisture has almost dried up.
In the meanwhile, grind fresh scraped coconuts with the
green chillies into a fine paste using very little water.
Add the ground paste and the slightly sour yoghurt. Mix
slowly without mashing the vegetables. Add curry leaves and drizzle the coconut
oil. Mix carefully until the veggies are coated with the coconut and yogurt.
Remove from heat.
Yummy gatti avial is ready. This can be used as a side dish
for Sambar and rice or with Molagootal. Or as I mentioned with Adai.
To make Avial Kootan, i.e aviyal of pouring consistency, use
more of yoghurts and do not let the water evaporate while cooking the
vegetables. This is best had with pappadms.
If using raw mangoes, need not use yoghurt or just use
a little bit of fresh yoghurt.