“AVIYAL” can arguably be stated as the king of Kerala Sadhya (large traditional feast). The unique proportions of various vegetables, the assortment of a plethora of colors, the clever use of coconut and that magical sprinkle of the coconut oil at the end by the head cook as they prepare aviyal for the traditional sadhyas are delightful and mouthwatering memories of our childhood. Legend states that, Bheemasena (the madhyama among the Pandavas) created this dish during his stint as “VALLAVA” during Anjathavasa. Aviyal is unique in that it uses most of the seasonally grown vegetables found in a typical Kerala backyard to make a very healthy and easy to prepare dish. Being far from home, we have used the local ingredients that could be mustered from the farmer’s market and Indian stores in Baton Rouge. Needless to say, we were delighted to find that the end product could bring back, at least , part of the tasty memories from back home…
Carrot (1 small), Zucchini, Yellow squash, Cuccuza squash, Drumsticks, Potato, Plantain (small) 1 each cut to batons
Grated coconut ¾ cup
Cumin seeds a pinch
Green chilly 1 no, medium sized
Red chilly powder ½ tsp
Tamarind pulp 1tsp
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Salt as needed
Curry leaves 2 sprigs
Coconut oil 1 tsp
Pulse together coconut, cumin seeds and shallots (Chathachu edukuka). Set aside.
Add 1/4 tsp coconut oil to a deep pan and put a sprig of curry leaves. Add the vegetables and green chilly with water just enough to cover the veggies. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt. Cook until 90% of the water is evaporated and the vegetables are cooked through. Add the tamarind and mix well. Add the coconut mixture and combine to mix. Cook for another 2 more minutes. Switch off the flame and add more curry leaves, drizzle with coconut oil. MIX. Keep covered until ready to serve.
Notes : Traditionally for Sadhyas, only 4 major vegetables are used to make aviyal which are drumsticks, yam, plaintain and long/yard beans.
The souring agent can be substituted to curd if you prefer. Add the curd along at the final stage of cooking and mix well with the veggies.
You can also add other vegetables like green beans, ashgourd (kumbalanga), snakegourd (padavalanga), tindora (kovakka), long beans (achinga), yam (chena) according to the availability…