For those people who love South Indian fare..for those who love coconut oil and coconuts..this recipe is MUST make!Its a subtle dish of assorted vegetables simmered in a creamy coconut sauce drizzled with coconut oil with the amazing taste and aroma of curry leaves.
Now Aviyal is a dish for which I find a different recipe with different people.One of my friends who hails from Trivandrum adds Bitter Gourd(Karela) to the vegetable list.Some people add sour buttermilk and some add thick yogurt.As for the vegetables..the sky is the limit.Of course I would not recommend Bitter Gourd for people who do not like them.A friend of mine adds Brinjals which get too mashed up,but the family enjoys them ultimately.So its up to you what you prefer.
What many people crib about is the time you take to chop up all vegetables!Talk about people who did it a century back!Now with gadgets like food choppers we are at all advantage points.And again if you take 30 minutes to chop up vegetables you have a whole world of aroma and taste at your feet(oops your mouth..;)) plus your family’s happiness!
A hot pot of Aviyal is a joy to behold in itself.Its delicately flavored with Coconut oil with all the aromas wafting up to your nose making you salivate.Its best enjoyed with steamed/boiled rice with papads,fryums,sago/potato wafers…whatever crispy delights you have on hand.
Onam is around the corner and there is a lavish Sadhya which consists of anywhere from 26 to 52 items.Aviyal is one of the starters which is served in the dry version as an accompaniment and not as a curry with rice as there are other curry items like Sambar and Rasam!However if you want you can increase the yogurt content to enjoy it with plain steamed rice!I am presenting the dry Aviyal which is had for Onam!
Preparation Time : 2 hours
Makes : 4 servings
2 cups mixed vegetables(potato/yam,carrot,beans,sugar snap peas,ordinary peas,bottle gourd/white pumpkin and drumstick(saijan)
1 cup coconut-grated/if you use dessicated coconut then immerse it in warm water for 30 minutes.
3 green chilies
A small ball of tamarind soaked in warm water/1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp coconut oil
10-15 fresh curry leaves
Salt to taste
2 tbsp gram/garbanzo bean flour(besan)
2 cups yogurt
1/4 cup water
Extract the tamarind water from the soaked tamarind to yield 3 cups water/Mix the tamarind paste with 3 cups of water.Pour into a pressure cooker and add the vegetables.Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles till vegetables are tender.Alternatively if you want to cook the traditional way boil vegetables in tamarind water till they are tender.It is a very long process and a pressure cooker surely makes work easier!Add the salt carefully as a lot of salt spoils the dish.Its advisable to add less salt initially and then taste and add a little more if needed!
In a mixer jar mix coconut and green chilies and pulse till a fine paste is obtained.You can add some water to make the paste smooth.For those using dessicated coconut do not add any water as it already has been soaked and will be a little watery.
In a food processor/mixer jar/hand “math” blend the gram flour with the yogurt till there are no lumps left.This is done so to thicken the sauce.
Now add 4-5 curry leaves to the vegetables and boil for 4-5 minutes till the curry leaves release their unique aroma into the dish.Now add the coconut paste and the yogurt to the vegetables and continue cooking till the sauce partly dries up and the vegetables get deliciously cooked in the Yogurt.
Now in a small bowl combine the rest of the curry leaves with 1/2 tbsp coconut oil.Add them to the curry and drizzle the rest of the oil evenly over the curry.Finally stir to mix everything evenly.Serve hot!