Onam has just come to an end. King Mahabali has blessed us and returned to his abode with a solemn promise to come back next year. The celebrations and more so the divine tastes of all the Kerala delicacies still linger on.
Although onam was just a week after moving into the new house, I decided to put in a little extra effort and prepare a small “sadya”. Made the traditional dishes of Sambhar, Avial, Thoran, Vendakaya Khichdi (Bhindi or Okra fried and put in a yogurt and coconut gravy) and yes, the sweet ending - payasam.
Avial is one of my favorite dishes just next to the tasty tangy Kalan. And so here I have the traditional Kerala delicacy which is a wonderful mixture of a variety of vegetables simmered in tamarind water and a coconut paste. My avial sure didn’t turn out as good as what my mom makes(but then moms are always the best cooks and there is just no out foing them), yet it turned out well enough to make me proud of my culinary skills. This is my version of the avail as I do not use some of the vegetables like yam due to reasons of strong likes and dislikes and also food allergy(my husband is allergic to it). This is I guarantee however, a mouthwatering combination. In fact, the avial in my refrigerator is over and just writing the recipe is making my mouth water.
Avial (Kerala vegetables cooked in tamarind water and a coconut mixture)
Note: some of the names are typically keralite and I do not know the English equivalents.
1 Paduvalankya (gourd – the really long variety)
¼ kg barbatti or achinga payar(similar to beans)
Vellarika – ½ kg (similar to cucumber, you can also use cucumber minus the seeds)
Carrots – 2 to 3
Coconut -1/2 (grated)
Cummin or jeera seeds- 1 tbsp
Green chillies – 2 to 3
Coconut oil -1 tbsp
Tamarind – 1 big ball (soaked in water) (some people also use yogurt instead)
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder -1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – a handful
Wash and clean all vegetables and cut into thin long strips. Take an open vessel and add a glass of water. Add the vegetables, salt, curry leaves and turmeric powder. Let cook. When the vegetables are 3/4th done add in the tamarind water(as per taste). Boil and let cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the coconut mixture (grind the coconut, cumin seeds and green chillies coarsely). Let cook for another 3-5 minutes. Let it thicken. You can either make it fully dry or a little watery depending on your specific palette. Switch of gas. Add in the coconut oil and curry leaves. Stir well. Ready to serve.
This aviyal goes to Priyanka's "Festive Food Event- Onam".