Sunday, February 19, 2012

Festival necessitates: Aviyal

Sometimes too much is still too less! Especially when it is Aviyal. A real long list of vegetables go into making this coconut confluence and it requires quite some skill to get it done without the vegetables losing their identity. But the patience and practice is worth. Almost every festival in South India is incomplete without Aviyal on the menu and the traditional marriage food on the banana leaf should include this too. 

Potatoes - 4 to 5 - washed (peeled if required) - cut into big pieces
Raw banana (vazhaikai) - 2 - peeled - cut into similar size as potatoes
Carrots - 2 to 3 - peeled - cut into thick and long strands
Colocasia (Sepankezhangu) - a few - cook separately - peel after cooking.
Beans - 200g - wash and break into 2-3 pieces per beans
Broad beans (Avaraikai) - 200g - wash and remove the tips. Retain as whole or just halve them.
Peas - half a cup
Aubergine - 2 or 3 - cut into big pieces
Pumpkin (Sweet) - 200g - remove thick skin, dice into big pieces

Yogurt - 1 cup
Green chillies, half a coconut, cumin, curry leaves and coconut oil.

Scrape half a fresh coconut and make a fine paste of it along with 4 or 5 big green chillies and 2 spoons of cumin seeds. Make sure the paste is really fine and homogenous!

These are some basic vegetables required to make Aviyal. It is very difficult to write the amount/weight of vegetables required. Cooking and flavor are tongue specific and the vegetable proportions can be varied according to personal interest. For example, I would always expect every vegetable in the Aviyal would magically transform into Colocasia! Other vegetables like cluster beans, banana stem, yam and drumstick can also be added. Strict NO-NO vegetables are ladysfinger (okra), bitter gourd, snake gourd and the likes.

First and foremost, the most important rule in cooking Aviyal is the right stacking of vegetables during the cooking process. Excepting colocasia, all the other vegetables have to be cooked together, but at the same time, they should not get over cooked! Aubergine and pumpkin cook really fast and the beans take more time. So one needs to follow the right order of adding the vegetables.

Fill 1/4th the level of the vessel with water and start to heat. Just before the water starts to boil, add the potatoes and carrots. After a minute, add the beans, broad beans, peas and the raw banana. Finally after a minute more, add the aubergine and pumpkin. Add the required salt around and shake the vessel carefully. DO NOT stir mix at this stage. Close the vessel for a few minutes until the aubergine and pumpkin is 70% cooked. Reduce the heat to medium. Now add the coconut-green chilli-cumin paste and stir it into the vessel. Also add a few curry leaves. Check for salt and add more if necessary. With the heat still in medium, close the vessel again and cook until the raw smell of coconut-cumin disappears. Add the pre cooked and peeled colacasia at this stage. Add 2 table spoons of coconut oil and stir well with the vegetables. Remove from heat. After 5 minutes of cooling down, add a cup of fresh yogurt and mix.

Just eat if fresh out of the cup or serve along with any type of rice (Sambar or coconut or lemon or tamarind)!


  1. After a very long time. you have also given the requirements... it is not just your style, you add the things you need for the preparation as you narrate... nice picture...

  2. No ingredients ; Just experience :)