I have always felt that there is a definite similarity between Bengali and Kerala cuisines. In fact, why only the cuisines…..the people themselves look so similar. Especially the women……. large eyes, curly hair, sharp features and who can deny their love for fish and coconut. Today I am going to write about a mixed vegetable dish from Kerala, which can be relished with everything….steamed rice, parathas, pooris, dosas, etc. It is very similar to our Bengali dish Shukto, especially with respect to the type of vegetables used in it. It’s a mixture of some hard and soft vegetables, cooked like a light stew. Here’s the recipe which I follow when I make it. It may differ from the traditional one but tastes no less….
Drumsticks (Moringa) – 2 nos (cut in 1.5” pieces)
Kovakkai/ Kundri/Kundru/ coccinia (cut in long pieces) – 1 cup
Broadbeans/ avarakkai/seem ( side veins removed and cut in 2 pieces each) – 1 cup
White pumpkin (cut in 1.5” long pieces) – 1 cup
Raw banana/Plantains (peeled and cut in 1.5” long pieces) – 1 cup
Yam / Oal/jimikand (cut in 1.5” long pieces) – 1 cup
Masala (to be ground together):
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Green chilies – 3-5 or as per taste
Ginger – 1” piece
Grated coconut – ½ cup
Virgin coconut oil – 3 tbsp
Water – 2 cups or as required for gravy
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Coconut milk yogurt – 1 cup (whipped; it should be sour)
Salt – as per taste
Coconut oil – 1 tsp
Whole dry red chili – 1-2
1) Steam the hard veggies for 10 minutes, remove and keep aside.
2) Mix the ground masala, salt and water to the soft vegetables.
3) Add the steamed hard vegetables to this and cook together, covered, on medium low heat till the veggies are almost done.
4) Add curry leaves, coconut yogurt and coconut oil.
5) Mix and simmer till the flavors combine well and the veggies are well done (make sure the veggies do not get mashed up…….so, don’t stir too much).
6) Adjust salt if required, at this stage. Our Aviyal is ready!!!
My family loves this dish tempered and I do it this way……just heat a tsp of coconut oil in a tempering ladle, add the dry red chilies and fry till you get the aroma. Immediately transfer this to the prepared dish and cover. Leave for 5 minutes covered and serve hot!!