Onappattin thalam thullum thumba poove
Ninne thazhukanai kulirkattin kunyikaikal..
Onavillil oonjaladum vannathikkiliye
Ninne pulkanay kothiyoorum marikkarum...
Onam is just round the corner, another year of festivity, pomp and delight for the people of God's own country, the dear subjects of Mahabali...
Yet another year of Ona Pattu, Puthu kkodi, Ona Pookalam, and Ona Sadya..
Aviyal, as you all might know, is a thick coconut based curry of the down South of our country and can be regarded as a speciality in Kerala cuisine.
The mildly spiced vegetable stew goes well with rice and a must serve for the Sadhya related to Onam.The very own nadan vegetables(vegetables that grow locally) of the state goes into it which is said to impart the exact authentic taste to the same.
The Mythology of this "Mixed Vegetable Curry", according to wiki, goes…
"It is supposed to have been invented by Bheema (one of the Pandava brothers) during his agnaatha vaasa. According to the legend, Ballav (Bheema's name during this time) when he 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".
Now, let's get ready with the ingredients, that goes to the stove in order :
The vegetables ;
Jackfruit seeds/chakka kuru
Yam/chena-a small piece-which yields a cup when cut
Long string beans/Achinga payar-4(optional)
Raw green mango-sour variety-1/2 (use a whole small mango if less sour)
Cumin seeds/jeerakam -1/2 tsp-jeera powder can also be substituted
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste
Freshly grated coconut- 1 ½ cups
Coconut oil/pacha velichenna- 2 tbsp
Curry leaves-2 sprigs
- Cut the vegetables lengthwise, a little chunky, to one inch pieces.
- Transfer them to a broad and wide pan,except the raw mango(as the acidity in it interferes with the cooking of the other vegetables) with just enough water.Close with a lid and ensure even cooking by turning them now and then for a few minutes or till 1/4th done.
- Crush/pulse green chillies, jeera and shallots coarsely.Add this to the vegetables along with turmeric powder and salt.
- Grind coconut, not too smooth, adding a little water.Keep aside.
- Now, rinse the pulser/mixer with ½ cup of water.Add this to the vegetables on the stove and stir carefully not to break the pieces as would have almost cooked or half done, at this stage.Ensure the ‘hard to cook’ vegetables like yam has turned soft.
- Add the ground coconut and raw mango pieces.Let it simmer for 5 mins.Check salt and *sourness.Make sure the Aviyal has reached the right semi solid consistency.
- Turn off fire.Coconut oil and curry leaves are to be added last.
- Press the Aviyal gently and close with the lid of the pan, so that the aroma of the coconut oil and curry leaves seeps in, to give the very own flavour to the authentic dish. :)
*-.If you fail to grab the raw mango, feel free to use curd/tamarind extract for sourness.
- The traditional aviyal doesn’t call for veggies like carrots and beans. Yet I compromise on carrots as they always improve the taste of the final curry.
- Since Vellarikka or that fat yellow cucumber we get in Kerala is not common in Tamil Nadu, ash-gourd/poosanikkai can be used instead.
- According to Archana, "Zucchini act as substitute snake gourd in an avial". :)
Vazka maveli mangalamoorthy.."
'Long live Maveli, provider of peace and prosperity, inciting jealousy in the heavenly beings!'.
Wishing you all a Very Happy, Peaceful and a Prosperous Onam!!..
Other Recipes for the Onam Feast..