Aviyal is a mix of vegetables with coconut paste and made into almost dry dish.The explanation does not end there because it is the most famous dish from the state of Kerala. One of the most important dish served on the plantain leaf for a traditional feast.
Aviyal has so many true and mythical stories behind its origin.
I am not going to take you there:)
If I say I am fond of aviyal then that is an understatement because anytime I fell ill as a kid mom made me aviyal to cheer me up, I mean have u ever heard of that !! Seriously I am known for my aviyal ‘ishtam’ in my circle that I am always served a heap as second helping by default . As if that is not enough my in laws too have taken up that task seriously.
I must admit MIL (Amma) makes the best aviyal .I can never say no when she lovingly serves it .N number of people would be served aviyal anytime she makes but amma ensures she has saved some for me.I may not be the best or ideal daughter- in- law yet she takes great pride in those honest complements.I can tell those young girls out there reading this,sincere approval of cooking skills is the number one entry ticket to MIL’s heart !
I am more fond of the leftovers the next day to be heated up and simmered on slow flame in the urali adding more coconut oil. Ahhaa..it tastes divine.. all those who have tried would nod their heads in approval and others I deeply regret to say u have been missing the door to foodie bliss ,an indulgence only sadhya lovers will understand..
For sadhya we do not use garlic or shallots as it gives a non vegetarian flavor.Towards the Southern side this aviyal is made but as you go to the Northern side of Kerala avial is made with curd/yogurt instead of tamarind and or mango.Here is one such AVIAL (Palakkadan style).
One last word before u go to the recipe avial is a very simple dish to make. The perfection lies in cutting and cooking the veggies to right consistency with out mashing it. Just remember not to use any slimy vegetable like okra,taro root etc.If it is hard to find these veggies given below go for the ones u know will hold the shape till the end thats all.
Kumbalanga / Ashgourd- 1 cup or less
Padavalanga / Snake gourd- 1/3 of 1 whole
Chena /Elephant yam-3/4 cup ( u can use frozen suran)
Muringakkai / drumstick-2 (u can use frozen)
Neelan payar / String beans-5 or 6
Kaya / Raw banana-1/2 of 1 whole( do not discard the green peel)
Kovaka / Tindora- 5 or 6 (u can use frozen tindora)
Vazhuthanga / Brinjal- 2 if small
Raw mango – 1/3 of 1 whole (depending on tartness)(peeled)
Coconut grated -1 1/2 cup
Jeerakam/ cumin- 1/4 tsp
Green chili -2 ( more if u can stand the heat)
Chili powder – 1/2 – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Tamarind paste- 1/4 – 1/3 tsp (reduce if mango is tart)
Salt to taste
Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – few
1. Cut all the veggies into 1/4 inch thickness and 1 1/2 inch long pieces.
Very coarsely grind the coconut and the rest of the ingredients (given in to grind).
2. Heat a wide mouth heavy bottom pan pouring a glass of water add Suran/Chena first and after few minutes add all the rest of the vegetables cover and cook .Check in between to ensure the water has not dried up completely if so then add little water.When 1/2 cooked add the mango , brinjal mix well then spread the coarsely ground coconut and a green chili on top put the lid back and cook for 3-4 minutes.
(Aim is to cook all veggies evenly so always add veggies which need longer cooking time first)
.3. Mix the aviyal gently without crumbling the pieces cook for a few minutes until all the water has dried up and the coconut coats all the veggies well .Level the top of aviyal with spatula and spread some curry leaves lightly crushed with fingertips finally drizzle coconut oil .Level the oil on top don’t mix immediately.Let it rest keep it covered (This is known as patrapaakam) and before serving mix again gently .
Serve along with other feast dishes and rice.
- I use store bought grated coconut that is almost finely grated so I take it in a bowl with crushed jeera add the rest of the ingredients and give a couple of squeezes with my hand to mix everything well and it works fine instead of grinding coarsely as I hate really fine paste.
- Vegetables that can hold shape well are only used .We generally do not use any root veg except yam and carrot.
- Use only small quantities of each vegetable as everything together adds up and makes a lot.
- When using green vegetables like snake gourd and string beans it tend to give a greenish color to aviyal so u may reduce the quantity of it if u like.
- Note that turmeric powder,salt chili etc are added when the veggies are almost cooked.