Avial Recipe (Aviyal)

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Avial also called as aviyal is a popular and traditional mix vegetable dish from the Kerala cuisine, though you can also find this dish prepared in parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It is an essential dish of Sadya (a festive vegetarian feast served on plantain leaf). I share a traditional method of making a flavorful avial with mixed vegetables, fresh coconut, curry leaves, coconut oil and curd (yogurt). Serve with steamed rice, sambar, pickle and some papadoms for a hearty and satisfying meal.

avial served in a white bowl placed on a plate with text layover.

What is Avial

According to Wikipedia, Avial was invented by the mighty Bhima – one of the five Pandava brothers from the Mahabharata epic. As per the legend, during their 14-year exile, Bhima was given the charge of the royal kitchen of King Virata as a cook. During that time it is said that he invented this dish out of necessity.

Avial is basically a healthy mix of various vegetables in a coconut and yogurt sauce with a finishing of coconut oil and curry leaves.

In the recipe, the vegetables that are added are not the usual mixed veggie combination like cauliflower, carrot, peas, beans. The veggies are unique and largely seasonal depending on what is available.

The vegetables that make up the avial dish are:

  • Drumsticks (sahjan ki phalli, moringa pods)
  • Carrots
  • Madras cucumber – also known as Mangalore cucumber or field marrow
  • Raw plaintain – Unripe bananas
  • Pumpkin (kaddu)
  • Ash gourd (petha)
  • Green beans – any variety can be used
  • Tendli (tindora, ivy gourd)
  • Suran (elephant foot yam)
  • Snake gourd
  • Carrots

You can always go for your own combinations of veggies depending on the availability and your choice. Coconut oil is another ingredient that should not be given a miss if you want the authentic taste of aviyal.

About This Recipe

There are some variations of making this dish. Three variations, I know of are that of making avial with raw mango, tamarind and curd. My recipe features curd as this is how avial was always made in my home.

It is not a curried version but a slightly thicker version where the coconut and yogurt sauce coats the veggies.

While making aviyal, its always important to cook the vegetables well. The veggies have to be cooked tender, but should not be mushy or fall apart. While cooking veggies, do not add more water as the vegetables also release a lot of their juices while cooking.

Remember first to cook vegetables that take a long time and then later add vegetables which take less time to cook. If you mix everything at once, you will have a mish-mash of veggies where some veggies will be overcooked, pasty and mushy.

In the step by step photos below I have shared the details of cooking various veggies. So you don’t need to worry which veggie to cook first.

Lets begin with the cooking process!

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Avial

A) preparation:

1. Firstly rinse all the veggies very well with water and then drain all the water. I have used ash gourd, pumpkin, drumsticks, elephant foot yam, Mangalore cucumber, plantain and green beans.

vegetables for making avial recipe

2. Then peel and chop them in medium to long sticks or batons. The vegetables need to be chopped like a slight thick potato french fry. Keep the chopped veggies aside.

peeled and chopped vegetables on a plate

3. For the chopped unripe banana, keep them immersed in water in a bowl so that they do not darken.

unripe bananas soaked in water

4. Beat 1 cup fresh curd (yogurt) with a wired whisk and keep aside.

fresh curd being whisked in a bowl

B) Making coconut paste

5. In a grinder jar or blender take 1 cup fresh grated coconut, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 2 to 3 green chilies (chopped).

making coconut paste in a grinder

6. Add ⅓ to ½ cup water and grind to a coarse paste. Keep this coconut paste aside.

coconut paste in grinder

Cooking vegetables

7. Take the vegetables which take a longer time to cook in a pan or pot. I have here added elephant foot yam, drumsticks and green beans (french beans) first.

If the drumsticks are very tender then add them later with veggies that take less time to cook. I added them here as I had drumsticks which take a longer time to cook.

vegetables that take long time to cook in a pot

8. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and salt as per taste.

added turmeric and salt to veggies

9. Add 1 cup of water.

water added to veggies

10. Stir well.

mix well

11. Cover the pan with a lid and keep it on a stovetop on medium-low to medium heat.

cover the pan with lid

12. Simmer till the vegetables are half cooked. You can cook for 12 to 15 minutes.

simmer veggies for 12 to 15 minutes

13. Then add the remaining vegetables which take less time to cook. At this step I have added plantains (unripe bananas), Mangalore cucumber (field marrow), ash gourd and pumpkin.

adding remaining veggies to pan

14. Mix it with the remaining half cooked vegetables.

mix the vegetables

15. Cover the pan with a lod and continue to cook on medium-low to medium heat.

cover the pan with a lid and cook

16. In between do check and if the water dries, you can always add more hot water and mix gently.

open lid and check the veggies in between

17. Simmer till the vegetables are almost cooked.

simmer veggies till almost cooked

Making aviyal

18. Then add the ground coconut paste prepared earlier.

Add the ground coconut paste

19. Mix gently but well.

mix the coconut paste with the veggies

20. Let the mixture simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or till the veggies are completely cooked. They should be tender and yet hold shape. So do not cook them too much. If the mixture becomes dry, then add some hot water.

simmer the avial mixture for 5 to 7 minutes

21. When all the veggies are cooked, then reduce the heat to a low. Add the whisked curd.

adding curd to avial mixture

22. Mix gently. And simmer the avial for a minute and switch off the heat.

simmer avial for a minute

23. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil. I suggest not to swap coconut oil with any other oil for an authentic flavor and taste.

adding coconut oil

24. Also add 12 to 15 curry leaves. Mix well. Then cover the pan with a lid and let the flavors infuse for 5 minutes.

adding curry leaves

25. Serve avial hot or warm with steamed rice, varutharacha sambar, pickle and some papadoms. It makes for a healthy, satisfying, flavorful and filling meal.

avial served in a white bowl


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avial recipe, aviyal recipe

Avial Recipe

Avial is a healthy, flavorful dish of mix vegetables in a coconut and yogurt sauce with a finishing of coconut oil and curry leaves. It is a popular traditional recipe from the Kerala cuisine.
4.89 from 26 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Cuisine Kerala, South Indian
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

Veggies

  • 1 cup chopped ash gourd (white pumpkin, winter melon, petha)
  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin
  • 1 cup chopped drumsticks or 1 to 2 drumsticks (moringa pods, sahjan ki phalli)
  • 1 cup chopped elephant foot yam (suran)
  • 1 cup chopped mangalore cucumber (field marrow, madras cucumber)
  • 1 cup chopped plantain (raw unripe banana)
  • ½ cup chopped french beans (green beans)

For coconut paste

  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 2 to 3 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ⅓ to ½ cup water, for grinding

Other ingredients

  • 1 cup water, for cooking veggies
  • 1 cup Curd (yogurt), beaten
  • 12 to 15 curry leaves
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Firstly rinse all the veggies with fresh water. Then drain all the water. 
  • Then peel and chop them in medium to long thick sticks or batons. Keep aside.
  • For chopped unripe banana, keep them immersed in water so that they do not darken.
  • Beat 1 cup fresh curd with wired whisk and keep aside.

Making coconut paste

  • In a grinder take 1 cup grated coconut, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 2 to 3 green chilies (chopped).
  • Add ⅓ to ½ cup water and grind to a coarse paste. Keep this coconut paste aside.

Cooking vegetables

  • Take the vegetables which take a longer time to cook in a pan or pot. I have added carrots, drumsticks and green beans (french beans) first.
  • If the drumsticks are very tender then add them later with veggies that take less time to cook. I added at this step as I had drumsticks which take a longer time to cook.
  • Sprinkle ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and salt as per taste.
  • Add 1 cup water and stir well.
  • Cover the pan and keep it on a stove top on medium-low to medium flame.
  • Simmer till the vegetables are half cooked.
  • Then add the remaining vegetables which take less time to cook. At this step I have added plantain, mangalore cucumber (field marrow), ash gourd and pumpkin.
  • Mix it with the remaining half cooked vegetables.
  • Cover and continue to cook on medium-low to medium flame.
  • In between do check and if the water dries, you can always add more water.
  • Simmer till the vegetables are almost cooked.

Making avial

  • Add the ground coconut paste.
  • Mix gently but well.
  • Let the mixture simmer for some 5 to 7 minutes or till the veggies are completely cooked. They should hold shape. So do not cook them too much. If the mixture becomes dry, then add some water.
  • When all the veggies are cooked and softened, then reduce the flame to a low. Add the whisked curd.
  • Mix gently. And simmer for a minute and switch off the flame.
  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil.
  • Also add 12 to 15 curry leaves. Mix well. Then cover and let the flavors infuse for 5 minutes.
  • Serve avial with steamed rice, kerala sambar, pickle and some papadums. It makes for a healthy, filling and satisfying lunch or dinner.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Avial Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 259 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 119mg5%
Potassium 839mg24%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 3230IU65%
Vitamin C 83mg101%
Calcium 134mg13%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Avial recipe post from the archives (November 2011) has been republished and updated on 12 June 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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25 Comments

    1. The taste with fresh coconut is different than with desiccated coconut. Fresh coconut is always better in recipes like Avial. But if you cannot source it then you can opt to add desiccated coconut.

  1. It is such a joy to pick up your recipe and cook, knowing that it is going to always be fabulous. I love all your awesome recipes and how you provide details on every single thing. Thank you for your great work.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Jayanthi for the trust. So glad to read your comment. Thanks again and most welcome.

  2. Being an Keralite, this dish happens to be one of my favourite and I like to have it with chappatis.5 stars

  3. Hey,

    I have tried your recipe. It is soo good I make it quite frequently. Me being a bengalee it is quite awesome to have the recipe from Kerala.

    Thanks,
    Shahina Rahman

  4. Hi Dassana,
    Y’day I was browsing for simple Aloo Baingan recipe and I stumbled on your recipe from this blog.
    OMG !!!!! this blog is a Bounty of Treasure for me !!
    Avial is one of my favourite dishes and I have never been getting the taste right.
    Tonight am going to try your recipe and am very sure it will be lip-smacking !!!!

    The aloo baingan turned out sooooo yuuuummmmmyyyy !!!

    Thank you so much for all your hardwork in putting so many Vegetarian Recipes together.
    and as everyone else observed you have such a simple and easy way of expressing yourself :):):) and you make the dishes sound so easy to make !!!!!

    Living in New York though we do find a lot of readymade masalas there is a big difference in the taste and aromas between ready made stuff and home made stuff.
    I had to wait for some one to travel from India and request them to bring home made masalas.
    Now – with the help of this blog – am going to enjoy home made masalas !!!! mmmmmmmmmmmm……. the aroma is already hitting my nose :):):)

    Thank you so much once again…..

    1. thanks thanks lakshmi. sure do try the avial recipe – it is my mom’s way of making the recipe. also let me know your feedback.

      i do agree with you that the masalas one gets abroad or for that matter in india too is always different than the homemade ones. you can easily make the masalas that we use for indian cooking at home.

      1. I tried the Avial last night…..and guess what ?I thought I had prepared enough to last for 2 meals…but it lasted only for one meal !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very Yummy !!!!!
        I didn’t have coconut oil at home for tempering but that did not bother me as the dish itself was very tasty. Next time I will ensure to use coconut oil.

        Please continue to keep up this good work ..especially for people like me who are away from home and longing for authentic Indian Vegetarian food !!!

        1. thanks lakshmi. when i saw in my inbox that i have received a comment on the avial post, i was sure it was yours. so glad to know that you and your family liked the avial… more so coz it is my mom’s recipe. i have grown up having this avial and it is a hit at my in law’s place as well.

          on the blog there are many good vegetarian recipes that won’t make you miss home 🙂 do try them out.

          i just reworked on my categories/tags yesterday & realized that there are many indian dals, curries and sabzis that i still have not posted. so will be posting some more vegetarian recipes.

  5. grt receipe, very tasty , have tried many times during my visit to kerala, especially when you have kerala veg meals, since then became a big fan of this curry.. at last i am going to try this by myself..hope it will come out as exptd..
    Thanks for the details given..

  6. Thanks for this excellent recipe. Tried it and vow it came out awesome!! Your step by step instructions, makes it really easy for anyone to follow this recipe. Can’t wait to pass this delicious recipe, to all my friends. Best wishes, and keep posting to me such great recipes.

  7. Oh wow, this sounds amazing and I love all your step by step pictures they are beautiful and useful!! Kerala is the top of my wish list of places to visit, for the food and the beauty of the place.

  8. Avial has been a childhood favorite of mine! There is something about the combination of vegetables here which makes this special! Haven’t cooked this in a while so will make is sometime soon 🙂

  9. Thanks for posting this recipe for a while now….I will surely make this one!!