It was a really happening weekend for me. The Sharjah Book Fair opened to the public over the weekend, and I went there on Friday and Saturday. The Friday agenda was to attend my dear blogger friend Faji’s book launch. Yes, she is finally an author of her own cookbook, Faji’s HotPot. I was anyway going, but in the afternoon, I was greeted by a message from her and her husband, insisting that I be the first purchase at the launch. I was totally overwhelmed but anyway, accepted it, thinking it would be fine. Least did I expect that I would be called to share stage and talk a few words! It did make me a nervous wreck altogether – I have a fear of public speaking, though I have been into it at school and college – feels like eons now! 😀 We had an amazing function, Fajee was all beaming. Priya, Zerin, Jaleelakka and Prema made their presence felt. I have only gratitude for Fajee and her family for treating me as one among them and giving me this honor. Wishing her all the very best for her future ventures… By the way, you can get her book online through Souq and also at the Bookland stand in Hall 7 at the running book fair…
I was in so much dilemma while doing this post. If you are somebody who knows Kerala cooking avidly, then “avial” doesn’t look like this! The avial that is served on a sadya is usually a thick side of vegetables, coated with a ground coconut paste, and which doesn’t have gravy in it. I love that avial as well. However, the avial that I am sharing with you is what I have grown up with. This is the way umma makes it, and fortunately, I have seen many make this towards our side. It is more like a curry than a side dish, so you don’t have to think of making a sambar or rasam to go with it. 😉 Umma would make a big pot of it every second week, and I would eat up all the starchy vegetables by keeping it on the side of my plate.
The avial used for sadya wouldn’t use fennel, shallots or garlic in it, since they are considered to be more like “non-veg” ingredients, but instead would have cumin. I have always been enthralled by how the same dish gets prepared in various forms across the same state! I still have my idea of making a whole sadya pending. Every anniversary of ours, I think of doing it, but then something comes up and the plan gets pushed the back burners. I think I must do it as soon as I can… hopefully InShaAllah! Till then, moving on to umma’s avial… 🙂
- 250 gm avial vegetables cut thick (yam, potato, carrot, raw banana)
- 1 drumstick chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Salt to taste
- FOR GRINDING:
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup coconut
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 3 pearl onions peeled
- 1 garlic
- 2 green chillies
- FOR TEMPERING:
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- Chop the vegetables into sticks. The pieces used in avial are usually long and thick.
- Wash the vegetables and drumstick and drain.
- Boil water along with turmeric and salt in a mud pot - chatti.
- Add in the vegetables and allow it cook till done - the vegetables should hold shape and not be mushy.
- Meanwhile, grind the ingredients under "for grinding" into a smooth paste. First grind the coconut with all ingredients except the yogurt till smooth. Finally add the yogurt and give it a final grind.
- Add the paste to the cooked vegetables and just allow it to heat - do not boil. Switch off.
- Drizzle in the coconut oil and add the curry leaves. Close the chatti and leave it for 10 minutes for the flavors to settle.
- Serve warm with rice and sides.
You can add potatoes and beans as well.
Apart from the drumstick, all other vegetables take similar time to cook, so you can add altogether.