Avial(Mixed veggies in coconut based sauce)

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Another one of my Onam sadya favorites. Avial is a dish made of all possible vegetables. There is no restriction to which vegetable you could use or which one not to use. You can make avial with all your left-over vegetables and turn it into an amazing side dish that you can enjoy with rice. Having said that, I have listed few of the vegetables that are most commonly used for making this dish.

The secret to get the perfect look and taste of avial is its consistency and the sourness. These are 2 main factors that will determine the taste of avial. Please note that your avial shouldn’t be too watery. Also, it should have a nice sour touch to it. Again, like any other Kerala special dish, this dish also seasoned with a ground coconut mixture. Surprised??? πŸ˜›

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INGREDIENTS:

Vegetables – 2 cups
(Any vegetable available can be used. I used apprx. equal amount of Raw banana, Yam, Drumstick, Long beans, Beans, Brinjal, Snake gourd, Carrot, Tindora/Kovakka
Tomato – 1 no. small sized
Raw Mango(should be sour) – half a mango
or
Yogurt – 1.5 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – 7-8 nos
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp or more)

To grind:-
Coconut – 1/2 cup
Shallots – 4-5 nos
Garlic – 1-2 pods
Curry leaves – 4-5 leaves
Green chilli – 2 nos
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

METHOD:

1.Cut the vegetables lengthwise of similar length and size. In 1/2 cup water, put turmeric powder, chilli powder and half the salt. Boil all the vegetables.
Note: When you boil the vegetables, you have to be a little careful. All the vegetables need to be cooked evenly. So first put the vegetables that need more time to boil. For e.g. Drumstick and yam would take the most time. So put that first and after 5 mins put raw banana, carrot, long beans and beans. Again wait for 5 mins and then add all the other vegetables. Covering the lid will help the vegetables to cook faster.
2. Stir occasionally so that the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add more water only if required. Avial shouldn’t be too watery. Note that the vegetables will also leave out some water while cooking.
3. Once the vegetables are half boiled, add sliced tomato and cut mango slices and curry leaves.
4. While the vegetables cook , grind the ingredients mentioned under β€˜To grind’ section. Use water to grind it to a smooth paste(apprx. ΒΌ cup water or little over that).
5. Add this ground paste once the vegetables are cooked well. Mix well.
6. In medium-low flame, cook for 3-4 mins and stir occasionally.
7. In this recipe you need to add either raw mango or yogurt. I prefer the sourness that comes from raw mango. However, if you don’t have raw mango, add yogurt at this point and mix well.
8. Cook for another 2 mins and add remaining salt and garnish with coconut oil and give it a good mix.

Note: Avial should be a little sour. The sourness can be achieved by adding tomato, yogurt or raw mango. So either you can use yogurt and mango as per your liking. Usually, if it is summer and you get good sour mangoes, using mango will be a better choice.

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Puli Inji

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Puli in my native language means Tamarind or sour. In this context, it means tamarind. Inji means Ginger. So now you know what Puli Inji could possibly mean. It gets a perfect blend of sweetness from jaggery, sourness from tamarind and its fair amount of hot and spicy touch from Ginger. This is another placeholder in the ‘Sadya Ila’ (Feasts in Kerala are served in banana leaf and Ila means leaf) along side other pickles during Onam. Though it is served in a very minimal quantity(less than a tsp), an onam sadya is incomplete without puli inji.

You will find various versions of this item going from south to north Kerala. Towards the south, it is called Inji Puli or Inji curry. There might be slight variation in taste too. The difference could be in the proportion of ginger and tamarind used or in the consistency of the item. Well I know that I have got my perfect proportion for Puli Inji and that is given below πŸ˜› My friend suggested me to mention that it has a good shelf life. You can store it in the refrigerator and it will stay fresh for 3-4 weeks.

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INGREDIENTS:

Ginger(grated) – 1/4 cup
Jaggery – 1 cube (30 gms)
Concentrated tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
Green chilli – 3 nos
Mustard seeds – ΒΌ tsp
Red chilli powder – ΒΌ tsp
Asafetida – ΒΌ tsp
Curry leaves – 8-9 leaves
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. Β½ tsp)

METHOD:

1. Heat coconut oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds to it. Once it splutters, add grated ginger and chopped green chillies. Also add the curry leaves.
2. Fry ginger till it looses its moisture and becomes light brown.
3. Now add the tamarind paste and jaggery. Pour Β½ cup water and melt the jaggery. Saute occasionally. Add more water if required.
4. Once jaggery melts, add red chilli powder, asafetida and salt.
5. Continue to cook in medium heat till it reaches the right consistency. It should be a thick paste and not watery.

Note: If you are not using tamarind concentrate, you would have to soak 2 gooseberry sized tamarind balls in 1 cup warm water. Squeeze the tamarind well and use this tamarind water. In this case, you will not have to add extra water to melt jaggery. Also, you will have to cook it longer to get it to the right consistency.