Aviyal

The grandest of all South Indian vegetable dishes! Who doesn’t love aviyal? Perfect for festival occasions, and for just simply! However, this is not an easy recipe, and takes time and effort. Well worth it, though.

Preparation (chopping, etc.): 40 Minutes
Boiling (vegetables, do them simultaneously if possible): 30 Minutes
Simmering once mixed: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup yam, julienned (this is not sweet potato, but the large, brown, yam – the ugliest one in the store – jimikand)
1 cup plantain, peeled and julienned (vazhakai, or kaccha kela). Be careful to wash your hands after, as the sticky stuff stains.
1 cup white pumpkin, or marrow, or yellow squash, julienned
1 cup green beans, julienned
½ cup peas
½ cup carrots, julienned
1 large baking potato, julienned (don’t use a soft potato like the ones used for mashed potatoes)
2 cups fresh coconut, shredded/grated (or dehydrated + 1 can coconut milk)
2 cups yogurt
1 tbsp. rice flour
1 tsp. tamarind paste
4 green chillies, or to taste
5 leaves curry leaves
1 tbsp. oil , preferably coconut oil
to taste salt

Preparation:

1. The vegetables should be cut in thick strips of 1/2″, not thinner. Keep the vegetables separate.
2. If you do not have fresh coconut, use dried, rehydrate, and add one can of coconut milk.
3. Dissolve the tamarind paste in 4 cups warm water.
4. Boil the plantain in this water until it is cooked, but firm. It will feel like a cooked potato. (Think al dente).
5. Remove the banana and set aside. Boil the yam in the same water, to a similar firmness.
6. Drain and throw away the water.
7. Boil or steam all the other vegetables. These may be cooked together. The vegetables should still be firm; do not overcook them. Do not drain completely, retain about two cups of water.
8. Grind the coconut and green chillies together to a fine paste. Add water as necessary, but do not make liquidy.
9. Place all the vegetables in a large wok or kadhai.
10. Add ground coconut paste and salt. Stir gently, but mix well.
11. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.
12. Dissolve the rice flour in 1/2 cup water and add to the vegetables. Mix gently and simmer for 3 minutes more.
13. Whip the yogurt until smooth.
14. Turn off the heat, add the yogurt to the vegetables, and stir well, taking care not to break the vegetables.
15. In a small pan, heat the oil. Add the curry leaves. Make sure they are not wet. Allow to sputter and add to the vegetables. Mix well.
Serve over rice. Makes 6 servings.

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