Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Aviyal, a dish originally from Kerala, is also well-known among Tamil Brahmins. Vatha kuzhambu and aviyal are an inseparable pair :-). People who love coconut are sure to love aviyal :-). It is also good for health as a mixture of vegetables go into this dish. I've used murungaikkai (drumstick), potatoes, plantains, green beans, carrots, yams, pumpkins, flat beans, peas and lima beans in aviyal. A combination of veggies would be great for this.

Ingredients (4 servings):

Veggies - total of 4 cups (using a measuring cup)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Sour cream - about 3/4 cup (using a measuring cup)
(If you don't have sour cream, you can use plain yogurt instead. The measure is the same. Personally, I prefer sour cream to plain yogurt since the former gives a creamy, rich texture to the dish.)
Salt to taste

To grind into a fine paste:

Channa dhal - 1 tablespoon soaked in warm water for 15 - 20 minutes
Coconut - 3 to 4 tablespoons
Green chillies - 2 to 3 (you can use less green chillies if you want the dish to be sweet)
Cumin seeds (optional) - 1/4 teaspoon (I use this sometime, when I want a slightly different flavor change)

For seasoning:

Cooking oil - 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves - a few


1. Grind coconut, green chillies, channa dhal and cumin seeds (if using) to a paste and set aside.
2. Pressure cook the veggies with just enough water for them to cook and turmeric powder. Beware of the time that you cook them because some veggies cook faster than others and sometimes if you cook everything for a long time, they get mashed. I cut the veggies that cook fast into big pieces to somewhat solve this problem so that everything gets cooked evenly. And, I don't add salt while cooking them as some of them don't cook at all if salt is added WHILE they cook.
3. Add the ground paste and salt to the pressure cooker, mix the contents well and bring it to a boil. Turn off the stove after a minute or two.
4. Let the mixture from step 3 to cool down and add the sour cream/yogurt and mix well.
5. Add oil to a pan and after it gets heated, add mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter. Immediately after that, take the pan out of the flame/heat, add asafoetida and transfer the contents to the vegetables.
6. Garnish with curry leaves. Aviyal is ready to pair up with vatha kuzhambu ;-).

If I'm in the mood for some extra richness, I add about a couple of tablespoons of sour cream to the dish :-).

There are quite a number of dishes that aviyal goes well with, like, rasam, thogayal, adai etc but, the best, unbeatable combo till date is vatha kuzhambu with aviyal :-).

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