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Sunday, 12 August 2018

Kerala Style Avial / Onam Sadhya Recipe


Avial is a traditional vegetable preparation of Indian state of Kerala and a part of Udupi Cuisine. It is a quintessential dish of Onam Sadhya - a Keralite vegetarian feast. It is basically a creamy delicious thick mixture of vegetables cooked in a base of spiced coconut and yogurt sauce which is further seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. Avial has distinct coconut flavors and a mild sour taste which it gets from the added yogurt. This is an onion garlic free recipe and usually served as a side dish with rice.

The word avial is used to denote boiled or cooked in water , hence the name of the dish .Vegetables commonly used in avial are elephant yam, plantain, carrot, beans, pumpkin, cucumber, drumstick, snake gourd, eggplant etc. Some people prefer to skip curd or substitute it with raw mango or tamarind pulp. The dish can be made into a gravy or be made into a semi- solid side dish. Source: Wikipedia.


Onam is an annual Hindu festival which originates in the Indian state of Kerala. It is ten day festival which celebrates rice harvest. It commemorates the vamana avatar of lord Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary Emperor Mahabali. Sadhya means banquet in Malayalam. Sadhya is a feast consisting of a variety of traditional vegetarian dishes usually served on a banana leaf in Kerala. Avial is an essential dish of Onam Sadhya. This year Onam will begin on 15th August and ends on 27th August.


Avial dish was on my to do list from a long time but fetching the vegetables required for it here in Mohali was not an easy task. If i would get yam in the local markets in one week, i would hardly find plantain. If i got both of them , fetching drumstick was a tough job. This kept delaying my wish to prepare the dish. Finally when this week i bought drumstick from super market , plantain from a local vegetable vendor and yam and other veggies from the weekly farmers market i could plan Avial. I have used drumstick , plantain, carrot, potato, yam, green pea, cucumber and french beans in this recipe. The veggies are cut lengthwise into batons.

All the veggies of Avial have to be cooked well but they should hold their shape and not be mushy. To attain this, i have added the veggies to boiling water according to their cooking time (yam, drumstick and beans were the first to be added to the boiling water, then i added cucumber, potato , plantain and carrot and green peas were tipped at the last with coconut paste as i have used frozen peas here. The preparation may sound elaborate but believe me the recipe is very easy. I have referred the recipe from various sites on Internet and from the cook books i have on Indian cooking. I have skipped using the veggies like snake gourd, ash gourd, pumpkin  and egg plant as i did not have them handy in my kitchen pantry. Feel free to use the veggies that are readily available with you , Only do not use pulpy and soft veggies in avial. Also few recipes called for use of 1 tablespoon raw rice while making the coconut paste. I have not used it. It makes the curry more thick . You may use it if you desire. So lets gets started.

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:
  • 150 grams yam
  • 2 drumstick 
  • 5-6 french beans
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots
  • 1 plantain/ raw banana
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 3/4 cup fresh coconut, scrapped
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 3-4 green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
Method:
  1. Wash , peel and cut the veggies lengthwise into 2" long pieces ( baton / stick shape). Take 1 1/2 cup water in an open pan . Add turmeric and salt to taste and boil it. Tip in drumstick, yam and french beans into the boiling water. Cover cook until they are half cooked. 


 2. Next add the carrot, cucumber, potato and plantain . Cook the veggies until they are tender but not fully cooked.


3. While the veggies are getting cooked, we will make the coconut paste. For that take scrapped fresh coconut, green chilies and cumin seeds in a grinder jar. Pulse to make a coarse paste. I have not added water while doing so. You may add little water if you wish to. We are looking for a coarse paste which gives texture to the avial. Do not make a fine paste.



4. Add this spiced coconut paste and the green peas to the veggies and cover cook for another 5 minutes.

5. Whisk the curd well with a wire whisker and add this to the spiced coconut and veggie mix. Mix well.


6. In the end heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add curry leaves to it . Add this tempering to the avial. Put off the flame.



7. Serve the flavorful avial with steamed rice and enjoy with your loved ones.



#OnamRecipes is the #157th theme on #FoodieMondayBlogHop and this quintessential Onam Sadhya Avial recipe is my contribution towards the theme.

Recipe Notes:
  • You may use any other cooking oil for making Avial if you do not have coconut oil handy , but i would highly recommend not to skip Coconut oil for the authentic flavors.
  • Vegetables commonly used in avial are elephant yam, plantain, carrot, beans, pumpkin, cucumber, drumstick, snake gourd, eggplant etc. Feel free to use the veggies that are easily available with you, only do not use soft and pulpy vegetables in the avial.
  • The veggies for avial are cut lengthwise into batons and have to be cooked well but they should hold their shape and not be mushy. To attain this, i have added the veggies to boiling water according to their cooking time .
  • Few recipes call for use of 1 tablespoon raw rice while making the coconut paste. I have not used it. It makes the curry more thick . You may use it if you desire. 
  • Do not reheat avial.

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