Easy to Make Avial Recipe (Kerala Style)
If you’re looking for an easy-to-make and tasty south Indian recipe, then you should definitely give avial a try! This dish truly embodies the soul of southern India. You can feel the warm Indian sun on your face and the light Indian Ocean breezes flow through your hair, with every bite. This avial recipe, Kerala style, is a tropical and flavorful dish at its core. Fresh coconut, tangy yogurt, curry leaves and fresh vegetables create a refreshing and delicious medley of exotic and authentic South Indian flavors.
Avial is usually served as a side dish, but it can also be eaten as a main course. It is especially good alongside pongal, sambar, chutneys, and poriyals. Avial has a reputation as a festive meal and is an integral part of Kerala Sadya, enjoyed during the celebration of Onum.
In this recipe, we’ll show you step-by-step photos of how to make a traditional version that is simple but still packs a lot of flavors. The best part is that it only takes about 30 minutes to make, making it the perfect weeknight meal.
About this Avial Recipe, Kerala style
You may be wondering what avial is. Well, it is a delicious dish made of variety of vegetables that are cooked in a coconut-based sauce. It’s a popular dish in the Kerala region of India and Tamil Nadu. Avial, aka Aviyal, is considered to be comfort food. It is typically served with steamed plain rice, but it can also be eaten as a stand-alone dish.
History of Avial
The history of avial is interesting. It’s said to have been invented by the Hindu god Vishnu, and the dish was originally made with flowers and fruits. Over time, the recipe has evolved to include vegetables. Wikipedia states that the legendary Bhima, one of the pandava brothers, invented this dish when he was cooking for the royal kitchen of King Virata.
Seasonality and Avial
The vegetables that are typically used in avial can vary significantly, and their use largely depends upon their availability. You can pick potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, ash gourds, raw plantains, pumpkins, madras cucumbers, drumsticks, ivy gourds, suran or elephant yam, French beans, yams, green peas, or snake gourds. Whether your in the US, the UK, South Africa, or India, avial can be made from whatever seasonal vegetables are available.
You can use virtually any vegetable that you like, but always go for a combination of veggies. The key is to cook the vegetables until they’re soft, so they’ll absorb the flavors of the sauce and blend well into the dish. Avoid overcooking, as the veggies should not be mushy or fall apart.
The other thing that makes this dish so special is the coconut. It gives it a really rich and creamy flavor that takes it to the next level. So don’t skimp on that!
Variations of Avial
There are all sorts of variations to the aviyal recipe, and every household has its own version. But the basic ingredients are always the same – vegetables, coconut, and spices. You can add tamarind, raw mango, or curd (yogurt) to the veggies for some tanginess. My Paatti adds curd in her avial because the curd thickens the sauce that coats the veggies and gives the dish a sour zing.
Ingredients for Avial Recipe, Kerala Style
When it comes to cooking, adding the right ingredients can make all the difference. All of these ingredients work together to create a dish that’s both healthy and delicious.
1 cup of Fresh Grated coconut – Coconut gives a sweet earthy flavor to your dish. It is also used to thicken your gravy.
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds – Cumin seeds are used to enhance the savory flavor of root vegetables. They impart an earthy flavor with a touch of citrus.
8 Shallots – Shallots have a mild sweet taste with a hint of sharpness. They have a beautiful aroma that just livens the whole eating experience.
3 Green Chilies – Green chilies are so flavorful that can’t be missed in this recipe. They give a spicy and bright taste to this dish. You can use more green chilies if you love to eat very spicy food.
1 and ½ cup Water – Half a cup of water is used for grinding coconut paste and one cup of water is used to cook the vegetables. You can add little water if required but to a limit.
1 cup Beaten fresh curd (yogurt) – Fresh Curd is just used to make a thick yummy gravy to cover up all the veggies and distribute the taste evenly. Curd or yogurt can be replaced with tamarind paste or raw mangoes.
2 tablespoons of Coconut oil – Coconut oil is a great choice for this dish because it has a high smoke point and doesn’t contain unhealthy saturated fats.
15 Curry Leaves or 1 sprig of curry leaves – Curry leaves are aromatic and flavorful
Vegetables – All vegetables contain healthful content that boosts your immunity and increases your body strength. Use vegetables in season to maximize the benefits.
Spices like salt and turmeric powder – Spices are used to enhance the flavor of avial dish.
Instructions for Avial
First of all, wash all the vegetables properly before peeling them. Then chop these all veggies and raw bananas in 3- to 4-inch-long thick sticks.
Take a grinder and grind the cumin seeds, grated coconut, shallots, and green chilies together. Add half a cup of water before grinding and keep this paste aside.
Now, take a large pan and add 1 cup water, half tsp turmeric powder, and salt as per taste. Add those vegetables that take longer to cook like carrots, green beans, and drumsticks (if not tender). Stir well before covering the pan. Simmer these veggies on a medium-low flame till half cooked.
Now, add the faster cooking veggies and continue to cook on medium flame. Simmer these vegetables until become soft. You can add more water if you feel the need in between the simmering process.
When the vegetables are cooked properly, add the ground coconut paste mixture to the veggies and mix well. Let the whole simmer again for 7 minutes till they hold shape. Avoid overcooking.
Reduce the flame to low and add the curd to it.
Mix and simmer for one minute before putting off the flame.
Put the coconut oil and curry leaves and mix well.
Let the whole mix be covered for five minutes, so the flavor can infuse properly. Serve with pride!
What are some serving suggestions? Well, you can either eat it as is, or you can serve it with some steamed rice, coconut chutney, pickle, sambar, pachadi, and some papadums as well. You can also serve it as a side dish with pappu charu and a refreshing summer drink like mango lassi for a wholesome South Indian meal.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also serve it with some appam or puttu. And if you’re in the mood for something a little bit heavier, you can always pair it with some meat or fish curry. No matter how you choose to serve it, avial is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Some pro-tips for making a perfect avial recipe, Kerala style
Now that you know all about the ingredients and the procedure of the dish, here are a few pro tips to help you make the perfect avial.
The best avial is made with fresh vegetables, so try to use veggies that are in season. Don’t overcook them so that they become pasty or mushy. Cook till soft but still tender.
Be careful with the proportions – The recipe is simple, but it’s important to get the proportions just right or the dish will be too watery or too dry.
Use fresh coconut otherwise you can use frozen coconut. But avoid using desiccated coconut as the flavor will be inferior.
Keep the chopped bananas immersed in water so they do not darken. Once the yogurt is added, the acid will prevent to bananas from oxidizing as quickly.
Vegetables release a lot of their juices so don’t add more than the stated amount of water until necessary.
Use fresh curd made from whole milk to enhance the health benefits. A whole milk yogurt from the grocery store will work fine.
Spice lovers can increase the number of green chilies used.
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Hi! I’m Ravi Kumar.
I am a husband, father of 4, board certified neurosurgeon, and a lover of South Indian Food!
I created PaattisKitchen.com to memorialize the most delicious foods on earth. South Indian food is easy to make and hard to mess up. So pull up your sleeves, and come with me as we explore the vibrant spices, colors, aromas, and flavors of South Indian culinary tradition.