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Avial (Tamil Nadu style) – mixed vegetable stew in coconutty yoghurty base

April 17, 2014





‘Avial’ is rich mixed vegetable stew made with coconut and yoghurt base.  I love both the Tamil Nadu and Kerala versions; both are best for summer and yummy in their own way.  Avial is not really a very liquidy stew.  It has to be thickened to get a tight consistency keeping with gravy of any kind, but somehow because of the base we use in this case, mostly Avial is listed as stew in restaurant menu. One more summer dish/subzi to go with any platter – be it rice or paratta.


Coconut – 1/2 cup shelled, grated

Yoghurt – 1-2 cups depending on the consistency you want

Spice ingredients:  Jeera (cumin seeds) – 1 tsp, green chili – 4-6 (the cumin seeds need to be rinsed and soaked for 30 min)


Salt to taste

Curry leaves for garnishing

For Seasoning: 1/2 a tsp each of mustard seeds, cumin (jeera) seeds and

1 TBSP OF COOKING GRADE COCONUT OIL because ‘Avial’ is not ‘Avial’ without the coconut oil flavour!  This is what distinguishes ‘Avial’ from rest of our cuisine and accords it a premium spot in our wedding feasts.  No wedding feast withou Avial in Tamil Nadu/Kerala.


Drumstick -2

Carrots (medium size) -2

Green peas – shelled – 1/2 cup or 1 cup

Brinjal – 100 gm

Elephant yam – 150 gm (skinned and rinsed thoroughly with hot water to do away with itching)

Raw Banana – 1

Ash guard – 250 gm

Cucumber (of any kind) – 100 gm






1.  Rinse and soak the jeera/cumin seeds 1/2 tsp. Grind in a blender to coarse paste with grated coconut and green chili along with water and keep aside.  Do not add too much water.

2. Beat to smooth the yoghurt and keep aside.

3. Combine 1 and 2 – that is the yoghurt base and the coconut gravy/spice base in a big saucepan and salt it and keep aside.  This is the avial base/stew.  Let this not be too watery, but just enough to immerse/soak cooked vegetables later.

4. Rinse, peel and cut/grate/chop all vegetables to 1 inch strips and keep ready.

5. Boil water in wok and add the chopped drumsticks first.  The idea is to first cook the vegetables that take longer than others to cook.  If we introduce all vegetables at the same time, chances are some get overcooked while others under-cooked.

6. Best next to add the green peas.  Keep the lid closed and cook upt 5 min.  We have merely give the drumsticks and green peas a headstart !

6. Add the rest of the vegetables now and finally add salt.  Reduce the water portion to half level or even less keeping in mind the avial base we already have in hand.  Salt keeping in mind also the salt added to the avial base/stew already.    The avial is listed as stew in all restaurant menu cards, but it is thick gravy essentially.

7. When vegetables are done, take off the flame and pour the contents into the avial base/stew sauce pan and mix well.

8.  Heat a small wok and add a tbsp of coconut oil to it.  When it is hot enough add mustand and cumin/jeera seeds to it and let them splutter.  Add the curry leaves and switch off flame.  Add this seasoning to the avial stew and stir well.

9.  Bring the entire avial stew with vegetables added and seasoning to boil on flame but let it not boil over.  If let to boil over, the yoghurt and coconut gravy will curdle and the avial effect will be lost.

10.  Stir well and serve with anything:  rice or parathas.

11.  In Tamil Nadu, we usually have Avial as sidedish/subzi with Tamarind rice/Puliyodharai or Adai (a pancake made with lentils).  Avial is also an integral part of our wedding menu/feasts.  Avial with its richness in spice, ingredients, vegetables everything signifies fertility and sumptuousness in itself.  So the dish is somewhat mandatory at home on auspicious days.

12.  Avial is power-packed with boiled vegetables full of nutrition including vitamins and minerals.  The coconut gravy and coconut oil are a rich source of good cholesterol that helps in bringing down the bad cholesterol. Yoghurt content in the avial helps in digestion with its probiotic properties.  

13.  As a variation, chilled avial may be served as salad also keeping with modern times.

14. Shelf-life of avial is only a few hours and with refrigeration can be lengthened to a full day, not more than that, given the coconut and yoghurt base.



From → Vegetarian

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