A one pot dish which is high in flavour, has plenty of textures and colours is much sought after these days by home cooks who want recipes which marry convenience and nutrition. This one is creamy with a touch of savoury tang which is very light on the palate.Winters with a warm bowl of aviyal offer as much comfort as a favourite woolly cardigan, worn soft with age .
The aviyal, made with a medley of seasonal vegetables, is easy to cook and is a popular savoury side dish to enjoy at any meal ; breakfast , lunch or dinner. The one ingredient which adds the flavour of Kerala to an aviyal is the cold pressed coconut oil. The aroma and taste of a coconut oil, made the traditional way, is incomparable to any produced commercially in bulk ! The aviyal is not without its own unique story which talks about its origins. It is even mentioned in Sangam literature.
The story goes that when the mighty pandava Bheema was living disguised as a cook in the palace of the King of Virata, he made this dish by throwing together different vegetables since he had no idea how to cook. Needless to say the dish went on to become so popular that the descendents of this kingdom carried the recipe with them and made it popular along the Southern Western Ghats.
The aviyal is a part of the regular diet in both Kerala as well as TamilNadu. The dish gets altered based on the seasons. For the colder months, vegetables like yams, gourds and tubers are used while in summer,there’s more drumstick, cucumber ,green mango and white pumpkin which is part of the aviyal.
Enjoy this light flavourful dish with plain rice, ven pongal or coconut rice. An appalam on the side ,for crunch, rounds it off to perfection.
The aviyal is also an important dish in the Onam sadya.
Recipe for Aviyal
Elephant foot yam-150 gms cut in thick fingers
Yellow pumpkin- 100 gms- cut long and thick
Green banana-100 gms- cut in thick long pieces and soaked in water to prevent discolouration
Beans-150 gms- cut in lengths
Carrot- 100 gms- cut in thick lengths
Breadfruit (karipala)- cut in thick strips
Broad beans- 100 gms torn in thick strips
A2 curd- 3 Tbsps whisked well
Cold pressed coconut oil- 2 Tbsps
Fresh coconut- 1/2 C grated
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Green chillies- 4-5
Ginger- 1 small piece
Turmeric powder- 3/4th tsp
Red chilli powder-1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Grind the grated coconut, cumin seeds,green chillies and ginger to a smooth paste in the grinder,with enough water.
Take a large deep pan and add 4C water
Add salt and turmeric powder and place the vessel on low heat.
Add the vegetables which take longer to cook.
Add the beans and carrots and let it boil
When it is half cooked, add the remaining vegetables.
Let it cook until soft but should still hold its shape.
If the water cooks down, you can add more.
Once the vegetables are cooked,add the ground coconut paste and red chilli powder and mix well.
Let it cook for a few minutes
Once the raw smell goes, add the whisked curd and mix
If you need to add more water you can.It should not be dry
Add the coconut oil and curry leaves and allow it to come to a boil.
Check the salt and spice levels and take off the stove.
Serve with steamed rice or ven pongal.
*The salt and spice flavourings can be altered to suit individual taste preferences.