Monday, October 10, 2011

The Avial’s of my life

You must be wondering, why this post? Refer 1.
Why Avial? Refer 2

Is she planning to write recipes on this blog? I’ll give the answer right now, a big emphatic NO. The truth is that I’m a little high on my skills in kitchen because I pickled three lemons yesterday (Don’t do that, that thing you are doing sounds like a sneer mixed with a giggle). Honestly I refer to internet for recipes. No, I don’t call Amma to humiliate myself.

Now people before I start my rambling there is a warning. A big one. This post contains immoderate use of coconuts and keralites.[It's a long post amply spiced]

We all know how much keralites like me love coconut in their food. No recipe comes without a “kutty-thenga”.Now the king of all dishes is “Avial”, the recipe of which I’ll be sharing with you shortly. Avial is very special because apart from tomato and potato every vegetable finds its place in this dish. You can put any vegetable you want.Ain’t that cool. And it is incredibly easy to make and extremely delicious.

The history of Avial dates back to Mahabharata according to Wiki.
“It is supposed to have been invented by Bhima during their exile. According to the legend, when Ballav (Bhima's name during this time) assumed his duties as the cook in the kitchen of Virata, did not know how to cook. One of the first things he did was to chop up many different vegetables, boil them together and top the dish with grated coconut”

Another version is as follows according to Aithiyamala (A garland of historical tales) by Kottarathil Sankunni:
The maharaja of Travancore used to perform Murajapam every year, a vedic seminar, in which a large number of vedic scholars participated. One year it so happened that there was no vegetables left for the last day of Murajapam.Only few pieces of various vegetables left over from the previous days were available. The cook cut all the left over’s into long thin pieces and prepared "Avial." The king liked the dish so much and presented him with a gold bracelet and ordered that this dish be served every year from then on.

I prefer to believe Amma’s version. According to her, Avial was invented by chefs or cooks who did not like wasting ingredients.” Unlike people of today,” with an exaggerated stress she adds,” people then thought wasting of food as a sin and crime. If you ask me it still is *.So when kings hosted luncheons loads of ingredients would be wasted. One intelligent cook added all this with coconut and made Avial.”

Come on, which dish has got so much fan following in Literature: D.

Presenting the amazing Avial

Don’t ask me silly questions on preparation time. All I know is its very fast and very popular in my household (You know,the one I run).

Vegetables (pick any or all) – 1cup cut into long pieces
  • Long Beans
  • Carrots
  • Yam
  • Plantain
  • Drumstick

For gravy: Mix all ingredients and grind into a coarse mix.
  • Grated Coconut -1/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Green chilly - 4-5 no’s
  • Shallots –(2-3] optional

  • Curd (Real sour one if possible] – 2 table spoon.
  • Turmeric powder  -1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut Oil – ½-1 table spoon

·         Put all vegetables in water. Add enough water to immerse the vegetables. Add turmeric and salt and cook till the vegetables are half cooked. (We have to add coconut and cook it again in a while. If we make the veggies soft now after we add coconut it will be a vegetable pulp)
·         Grind the coconut, cumin seeds, green chilly and shallots into a coarse mix. (There is no benchmark for coarseness; you can make it into a smooth paste as well. Avial is incredibly flexible)
·         Now mix the vegetables and ground coconut and cook for few minutes.
·         When it boils, add the curd and switch off the gas. Mix well.
·         Garnish with curry leaves and coconut oil.
·         Close the dish with a lid for the aroma to seep into Avial.
·         After 15 minutes open the lid, take a deep breath and let the aroma waft around the kitchen for a while. :D.

You can replace curd by raw mango slices or tamarind water.

Avial-Two: The band Avial.Do we have bands named Muringakay Sambhar or Paneer butter masala? No. But we have Avial.Yummy as the dish; the band features very talented musicians.

I am not an authority on music or someone who can be a judge of rock music. I like music, I listen to songs and that gives me a right to say that I like Avial’s songs. I enjoy their instrumental music though I am allergic to rock music in general. Their lyrics are not of the genre,” I hate you, like I love you.” (NOM to the song. I love it too) but picked up from the folk songs that tell the story of a common man.

In a recent Malayalam movie, Salt-n-pepper (a light hearted comedy, recommended for all), Avial performed a song titled “aanakallan”.Google it up, I like the song and have heard it umpteen numbers of time.

 Avial-Three : Oh I forgot to mention as Avial is a mish mash of many vegetables, the usage also means a disarray.Sigh.
When I say,” My kitchen is in Avial form”, please bring a broom and cloth to clean up the mess for me. 
If I say,” My brain is in Avial form”, make sure you are at least 15 feet away from me. Mentally derailed people are not held responsible for their behaviors. No, it is not same as “pickled”.”Avialed” as I call it is cooler.

1. Because I was feeling highly philanthropic towards my fellow bloggers and felt it was time to share good things over the blog. Sharing over the blogs are normally experiences, I decided to share my favorite recipe and music band. (I am game for anything that doesn’t include sharing my box of chocolates and TV remote.)

2. Because I love Avial to pieces and I don’t know the recipe for KootuKalan.Happy?

3. She is Anna Hazare in her campaign against wastage of anything. Some call it a middle class attitude. I think she is being prudent. I may never be like her but I do appreciate her.


  1. Avial reloaded and she comes up with her many versions, all of them interesting :)

  2. I absolutely love the AVIAL my Amma makes!I am nostalgic now :(
    I love the band avial too :D

  3. that was one avial too many but all of them sounded good; the first one would taste good too. For many years when the brats were growing up, avial and vadam (fried papads) were Sunday staple. I made humongous quantities and we ate it for lunch and dinner. It was done fast and I still had time to catch up with cleaning and other things before another week started. :)

  4. @Purba: Thank you dear.I'm all gaga over food.
    @RH : Ahhh...Both are yummy I guess..Can't wait to get back home..
    @Zephyr : That's what I like about avial,preparation time.Value for my time.

  5. Avial..Hmmmmmmmmm.. Missing it so much especially cos of the beautiful narration that you provided.. Now please do a piece on Olan..:)

    1. Ahh Olan..Another of my favourite..Yes,I'll probably do a piece on Olan..

  6. And Blue Lotus, Valare Valare Nandi..Aithihyamaala pandu Muthasshi vayichu tharumayirunnoo...Pinneyum aa kuttikalathinte madhurasmaranakal thirichukonduvannu thannathinu..
    I downloaded the entire Epub versions Online..:)

    1. Welcome Hari..Epub versions,awesome.I have the original book from DC books..It's a book you'd love to read and re-read..Ella malayaliyudem balayakala smaranagalude bhagam aanu Aithihyamaala...