Imagine you have no prior cooking experience, but you have to assume duties as a cook for a large group of people. You see a variety of vegetables, coconut etc in your kitchen. What would you make? Well, Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, chopped up the vegetables, boiled them together and topped the dish with grated coconut. And thus was born aviyal or avial which has a unique place in typical Kerala cuisine. No Sadhya is complete without this absolutely delicious and nutritious dish.
Another story is that the first avial was made when the heavens ran out of food during a feast. Lord Krishna came to the rescue, and as he wandered through the kitchens, he saw large amounts of leftover vegetables and curd. He asked the cooks to steam everything together and the ultimate product became the most sought after dish. How are we poor earthlings supposed to resist heaven’s favourite recipe?
1. ½ kg vegetables (A mixture of yam, raw banana, carrots, beans, drumstick, cucumber, potato or any other vegetables of your choice) diced
2. ½ tsp turmeric powder
3. 8 green chillies slit in half
4. 1 large onion diced
5. 1½ cup grated coconut
6. ¼ cup curd or 4-5 raw tomatoes or a raw mango or tamarind pulp
7. Salt to taste
8. ½ cup coconut oil
9. A few curry leaves
Pressure cook all the vegetables including the raw tomatoes or tamarind pulp, if that is what you are using as the souring agent.
You could grind the coconut coarsely, but I am going to add it as is to the cooked vegetables, and it tastes just as good. Add turmeric powder, salt and green chillies and mix well. Heat the avial for a couple of minutes more. If you are using curd, add it now. Finally add coconut oil and curry leaves and give it a good mix. If you do not like the flavor of coconut oil, you could add any other vegetable oil.