A signature dish from Kerala and popular in Tamil Nadu as well, Aviyal is a must for any Kerala "Sadhya". We mallu's actually do not need a reason to prepare this dish. This is a must have dish for every occasion and is also made on normal days to be had along with Rice and Sambar.
It is supposed to have been invented by Bhima (one of the Pandava brothers) during his agnaathavaasa. According to the legend, Ballav (Bheem's name during this time) when he assumed his duties as the cook in the kitchen of Virata, did not know how to cook. One of the first things he did was to chop up many different vegetables, boil them together and top the dish with grated coconut
Well, needless to say, the end result is yummilicious!
All vegetables have to be cut into thin long pieces - probably 3 inch long and 1/2 inch thickness (resembling french fries, but still thinner)
These veggies are the standard ones for aviyal. We add bitter gourd in ours since we like the taste. I've also tasted aviyal with potato, but we do not use potato at my place when we make it. You could use any or all of these veggies. Use very little of each as there are so many veggies that the serving size is sure to be for atleast 4-5 adults.
- Raw Plantain
- Ivy Gourd (Kovakkai in Tamil and Malayalam/Tindora in Hindi)
- French Beans
- White Pumpkin/Ash Gourd (I think this is Ellevan in Malayalam)
- Kaaramani (Lobia in Hindi/Kotta Payar in Malayalam)
- Malabar Vellarika
- Chow Chow (It is also called Bangalore Kathrika)
- Bitter Gourd - Optional
- Potato - Optional
- Any other veggie you want to use
- Coconut - 1/2 shell grated
- Green Chilly - 10 (or as per taste)
- Jeera - 2 tsp
- Sour Yogurt (Sour Curd) - 4 tblsp
- Coconut Oil - 4 tsp
- Curry Leaves - a handful
- Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Cut veggies into evenly shaped long pieces. Do not make them too thick. Aviyal tastes best when the veggies are finely sliced.
- Boil veggies, half the quantity of green chilies in water with salt & turmeric powder. Some vegetables cook very quickly and some take longer, so you may want to pre cook the veggies that take longer to cook. The veggies for Aviyal should not be overtly cooked. They should be firm enough to be bitten and chewed.
- Grind coconut grating, remaining green chilies and jeera into a coarse paste.
- Mix with beaten curd and add to the cooked veggies.
- Let the aviyal become dry. Test the salt and adjust accordingly. If it is not sour enough, add more curd or if it is too sour, add more salt.
- Finally, turn off the gas, pour coconut oil, sprinkle curry leaves and cover with a lid. Do not substitute this as this is the one that gives flavor to Aviyal. No other oil will taste good.
- Before Serving, mix well.