Recipe – Avial ( South Indian Vegetable Stew)

Avial is a specialty of Kerala, Tamil and Udipi cuisine. Rich with nutrients of fresh seasonal vegetables, this stew has added flavors of coconut, curry leaves and spices. The dish is usually eaten with steamed rice. One can make it either dry or with slight gravy.  Avial is made in a variety of ways with a range of ingredients  and is considered essential part of Onam Sadya.

I used local seasonal veggies available in North India. It turned out to be delicious.

Ingredients : 

Vegetables :

Ash Gourd – 100 gms
Pumpkin – 100 gms
French Beans – 10
plantain- 2
Snake Gourd – 1/2
Potato – 1, small
Brinjal – 1, small
Drumstick – 1
Yam – 1/2 cup

Don’t use veggies that contain excess water or get mushy when cooked.

For the paste :

Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup

cumin seeds –  1 teaspoon

Garlic clove- 4

Green chilies – 4

Onion- I small

Other ingredients :

Turmeric powder- 1 teaspoon

Salt – according to taste

Sour Curd- 3-4 tablespoon

Fresh Curry leaves –  a few (1 spring)

Method :

Prepare the paste :

Add all the ingredients listed above for making the paste in a mixer and coarsely grind them to a thick paste. Add just a little water if you find it difficult to grind.  Keep aside.

Prepare the veggies :

In a heavy bottom pan put all the listed veggies which are peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch long pieces. Add green chilies slit in half. Also add enough water to cover the vegetables. Add salt and turmeric powder and simmer on slow heat till  half cooked. Make sure the vegetables do not get overcooked. I use a fork to check if they are done. The fork should easily go in but veggies should remain intact and crisp.

Make a well in the middle of vegetables and add the already prepared coconut paste.

Stir well and cook on low heat for another five minutes. Keep it covered.

Take a teaspoon of coconut oil or any other cooking oil. Heat it a little and add curry leaves to it till they crackle. Pour those curry leaves in the mixture and cover.

Take beaten curd and add this too to the vegetable stew and remove from heat.  Do not cook after adding curd as it may curdle and ruin the dish.

Watch the colorful carnival come alive with exotic aromas as an added bonus. I kept a little with gravy and rest without it so that it caters to everyone’s wants.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

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