Saturday, June 14, 2008

Avial (Mixed Vegetables in Spiced Yogurt)

There is a wedding/engagement party going on in our neighborhood. It felt happy just watching all the well dressed people walk in and out and the house all lit up. It might be considered rude to stand and watch but that didn't stop us, stood and watched every chance we got. The bride and groom were Indian, no horses but there was a limousine. Thinking back, the numerous weddings and ceremonies were more a chore to attend than anything else, but now even catching a glimpse of them makes one happy. Companionship and camaraderie is also a big part of these occasions, to catch up, find out what is going in every body's life, gossip a bit, check out what is cool and trendy and generally be alive. I never in my wildest dream thought I would go all nostalgic about a wedding ceremony hmmmm. Such is the travails of life as an immigrant.

Food is another matter altogether, I can recreate those nostalgic inducing food items right here in my kitchen. Thanks to the ready availability of much needed ingredients. I love Avial but for some reason it is not a regular in my kitchen. So the last time I picked up some green banana it was with 100% certainty that it was going to be made into Avial. Just the dish for the hot summer months.

Vegetables are added to yogurt to make a cooling side for spiced rice dishes. Sour
curds are spiced and vegetables added to them to make curries. They make excellent sides or a main dish by themselves.

    Green Earth
    Orange, Grape Fruit and Lemon peels make for great bug repellents. Scattered around plant beds or in the pots they keep most bugs away. Next time you get ready to throw away a few, don't, the plants need them more :)


1. 2 Cups of Vegetables (raw bananas chopped to cubes, beans, carrots, broad beans, cluster beans all cut lengthwise) cooked in a bit of tamarind soaked water till soft (add the banana first followed by the rest). If cooking in a pressure cooker cook only till the steam starts, don't wait for the whistle.
2. seasonings: 2 red chilies, curry leaves, mustard seeds

For the paste
1. 3 tbsp grated fresh coconut
2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
3. 5 green chilies
4. 1/4 - 1/2 cup curds (yogurt)

Blend the above to a paste with a bit of water.

1. Cook the vegetables, add the ground paste and salt and cook for a few minutes till the raw smell leaves.
2. In a separate pan, heat bit of oil, add the seasoning ingredients and pour over the vegetables.
3. Switch of the heat.
4. Now whisk the curds and add to the cooked vegetables and mix

Serve as a side for paruppu dosai or with rice.

Other Spiced Yogurt recipes:
1. Neer Poosanikai Thayir Kuzhambu (White Pumpkin in Spiced Yogurt)
2. Kathrikkai Mor Kozhambu (Brinjal in Spiced Buttermilk sauce)


  1. Hi ISG, how nice you could take in some of the nearby festivities :)

    This is a dish I haven't tried my hand at yet -- you make it sound easy. Looks great too! And thanks for the tip about citrus rind. Mystery eggplants and gourds are growing nicely -- have to get some pics up soon. How's your garden now? :)

  2. Could not agree with you more about companionship. Many a times, I just feel like talking to a neighbor for some brief chit chat and I can never find one. Where as back in India, I used to dread going out as I would keep on bumping into people. sigh!

    I absolutely love Avial. We call it Majjige Huli in Karnataka and I avoid it too :-) mainly because of the coconut.

  3. lovely avial... gonne put those peels to use for sure dear!

  4. Hi There,
    Avial looks great and chilling!
    A nicely explained recipe-
    Keep it up!

  5. LOL I think it is better to watch wedding festivities from a distance rather than be actually involved in that chaos :D
    Your avial recipe sounds simple and delicious. And the citrus tip is really very useful!

  6. Hey so you are standing and watching thefewtivities.
    You are like me then, when there is somehing going around in our street I too am standing there to watch. Ofcourse here is never a indian wedding here.
    I love avial it reminds me of Onam back at home

  7. I don't like weddings and all the festivals, just feel out of place, can't stand the chaos.I would have loved to get married in a registered office or elope with Arvind! Hahaha!!
    Avial is my favorite, simple, elegant and yummy dish, good one Indo, enjoy!:)
    Happy Father's day to DD's dad.

  8. Avial looks delicious, Indo!! One of my all time favorite dishes. Thanks for the tip about rinds being insect repellants. Will try that out! :)


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