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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kerala's Favorite Delicacy~ Aviyal

The cuisine of Kerala is linked in all its richness to the history, geography, demogaphy and culture of the land. Like other South-indian cuisines, Kerala cuisine is predominantly spicy. Coconuts grow in abundance in Kerala, and consequently, grated coconut and coconut milk are widely used in dishes and curries. Kerala's long coastline and strong fishing industry has contributed to many fish-based delicacies.

Being brought up in Mumbai I had many Malayalee friends at school and in the neighbourhood, so I was lucky to get introduced to their culture and food. Onam is a big festival very grandly celebrated in Kerala and amongst all the Keralites spread across the globe and I always look forward for this as I get to eat Sadhya

Jyothsana of
Curry Bazaar is hosting this month's Regional Cuisine of India~Kerala and it means celebrating the regions cuisine. For this event the most comforting dish to cook for me is Aviyal.

Aviyal is a dish that has a unique place in a typical Kerala Cuisine. It is a thick mixture of a lot vegetables, curd and coconut. It is seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. Aviyal is considered an essential part of the Sadhya. Common vegetables that are used to make aviyal are yam, plantain, drumsticks, carrots etc. Some people prefer to substitute curd with raw mango or tamarind pulp. This dish can be made into a gravy and eaten with rice or be made into a semi-solid side dish. The word "aviyal" is also used to denote an assortment or a mixture - this sense being derived from the way the dish is made. I have learned this recipe from my neighbor Aunty in Mumbai, thanks aunty for your wonderful recipe!


Kerala Cuisine ~ Aviyal

Source: My Aunty
Cuisine: South Indian, Kerala
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 people

4 C of mixed vegetables all cut into finger size which includes:
2-3 carrots, 1 raw banana, small size suran(Kanda in telugu), handful of cluster beans, small raw mango, half of the white pumpkin(ash gourd), snake gourd and one small potato.
pinch of turmeric powder/haldi
1C water
3/4 C thick curd
to grind coarsely:
1/2 C grated coconut, fresh/frozen
5-6 green chillies,
1 t cumin/jeera
for seasoning:
2 t coconut oil,
10-12 curry leaves
1 t mustard seeds

  1. Wash, and clean all the veggies, peel the skin of carrots, yam(suran/kanda), white pumpkin, raw bananas, snake gourd and potato. Cut the veggies finger size, just like to do for french fries(julienning).
  2. Pressure cook them with a pinch of turmeric powder for 2-3 whistles, we dont want them mushy.
  3. Meanwhile grind coarsely, grated coconut, cumin/jeera and green chillies with little water.
  4. Once the veggies are cooked, place them in a large serving bowl, dont throw away the water in it.
  5. Add the gound paste, salt and curd, mix well so that all the veggies are coated evenly, check for the salt.
  6. For seasoning take a small pan and heat coconut oil, when its hot enough add the mustard seeds and let them splutter for a second and add the curry leaves. No add the seasoning to the aviyal.
  7. Serve with hot steaming rice and sambhar.

You might also want to check these accompaniments:
Udipi Sambhar
Pedamma's Pappu Charu


TBC said...

The consistency of your avial is just perfect, Padma! Traditionally it is not seasoned with mustard seeds(or anything else) though and veggies like carrots, potatoes, beans etc are not used. But yours is a good adaptation:-)
I never used to care much for this preparation but that has changed since I moved away from home.

Srivalli said...

Padma..the picture has come out well!

Finla said...

Avial looks so delicious.
My mom also make like this.
I can just taste the coconut in it

FH said...

My fave too, always made it and that's the only one I made form Kerala until RCI Kerala!:D
Looks delicious!:)

Richa said...

d-lish! like this preparation a lot & it's pretty quick to make as well.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for this recipe all over. Thanks for sharing padma.

vimmi said...

Love avail. Just made my own rasam powder some days back. i am learning a lot of dishes from the south. Thanks.

Cynthia said...

Thanks for this well-presented explanation of the dish.

DEEPA said...

Perfect pic of the day .....The right way of avial ...Yummy Yummy

Red Chillies said...

Looks yummy Padma. I like anything with yougurt in it. We have an equivalent of this but the gravy is bit watery called "Majjige Huli"

Kribha said...

This is our family favorite. I can imagine the taste with adai. ah.... I'm mouth-watering.

Sia said...

bowl of rice and avial with tender mango pickle is all i want right now and there is still one more hours to go before i can take my lunch break:(

Nupur said...

Thanks for a delicious dish! Aviyal is so tasty and comforting.

Archana Doshi said...

so very comforting. I make it sligtly differently. I guess every household has its own touch to make their favorite dish :)

Anonymous said...

I have just returned from 9 days in Kerala - while I was there not only did I eat many wonderful Keralan dishes, I also did a cooking course with a chef. WOW it was good. I will be cooking your avail too.

Ramki said...

Hi Padma,
Have just blogged your Aviyal as a model recipe in the 1001 Aviyal cookbook at

/Thanks for the recipe

Anonymous said...

Aviyal is never seasoned with mustard seeds and raw coconut oil is poured on top

Padma said...

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for leaving a comment on Aviyal. Thanks for sharing your version too!

This is the way I learnt from my neighbour who is a Malayalee and from Kerala and she taught me this way to temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and coconut oil.

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