Friday, December 28, 2012


As every mother does, I worry about what a picky eater my daughter is. Her list of don't likes is way too longer than the list of likes. And it bugs me when she looks at a dish and decides she doesn't like it by just the sight of it. Well. I can go on cribbing and most mothers would join me too. But in some ways I am not too concerned. After all I was one of the worst "picky eater" if there ever was such a title. You can count my likes with fingers in one hand. But what gives me hope is that some of the foods on my hate list have made it into my like list. Couple of vegetables, eggs cooked in specific ways and of course coconut. I used to hate coconut in any form - sweets, curry, gravy, chutney. All avataars of coconut was banned from my plate. But over-time this hate has mellowed and today I actually enjoy Kerala cuisine which is predominantly coconut based. Coconut sweets are still a no-no but I love the delicately flavored stews, and the fiery "Thengai Thuvayal" and of course the ubiquitous Aviyal is one of my favorites (as long as it is not made with veggies from my hate list!! Some things dont change :-)).

So judging by my changing tastes, I hope that Little A would grow to like chapathi, pasta, cauliflower, chutney, vatha kozhambu, pulao, biriyani ...phew. I only hope..

Today's recipe is Aviyal - a medley of vegetables in a delicate coconut and sour curd (yoghurt) base. In most homes, there would be one or two random vegetables lying around. There wouldnt be enough of it to make a full fledged poriyal or kootu. The best way to utilize them would be mix them up into an aviyal or a mixed vegetable kootu. Aviyal is super easy with minimum ingredients. Please do check the list of veggies that can be used for aviyal.

Aviyal Vegetables: Carrot, Potato, Raw Banana, Banana stem (vazhai thandu) Beans, Chow-Chow,      Bottle Gourd, Snake gourd, Drumstick, Avarakkai, Spinach stems, Pumpkin/Squash, , Raw Mango etc

Vegetables that should not be used: Okra, Spinach leaves and any other sticky vegetable



Mixed Vegetables - 1 cup (refer list above. I used potatoes, green beans, raw banana, carrots and peas)
Sour curd - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste

Grind to paste: 

Green Chilles - 3 to 4
Coconut - 1/2 cut into pieces or shredded
Cumin - 1t
Raw Rice - 1t (soaked). or Rice flour - 1r

For seasoning:

Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
Coconut oil - 1 t


1. Pressure cook the vegetables with little water and salt for 1 whistle. Alternatively you can boil them in water as well. Remember to use less water as all the nutrients are in the water and you dont want to throw the excess water out. If the water is more, then the aviyal will be runny.

2. Grind together the items given above with little water into a thick paste. You can increase of decrease the chillies according to your heat quotient.

3. Add the ground paste to the cooked vegetables and boil well.

4. Add the curd and mix well. Adjust salt if necessary.

5. In a small pan, heat some coconut oil and season with curry leaves. Add this to the aviyal.

6. Serve hot with rice, sambar and rasam or with Adai. Goes well with rotis too.

  • If the cooking times for vegetables you are using differ, then you can cook them separately and mix together for the aviyal.
  • If using raw mango, adjust sour curd accordingly as the mango will increase the sourness of the aviyal.
  • Traditionally coconut oil is added without heating. If you like the intense flavor it gives, then you can use it without heating. Add the curry leaves while the aviyal is boiling.
  • As you get experienced with making aviyal, you will be able to judge if a particular vegetable would suit the combination to make aviyal.

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