Learn how to make Aviyal or Avial ~ Keralan mixed vegetable medley with coconut and yogurt
Heaven must be a bit like Kerala, an ancient strip of lush, tropical land that slithers sensuously down the coast of south-western India.Blessed with tropical, balmy weather and plentiful rain, Kerala is truly God’s own country. The land of sparkling backwater zigzagging the lush green landscape dotted with paddy fields, tea plantations and the majestic coconut trees swaying to the cool breeze of Arabian sea, Kerala is home to world’s most precious treasure – spices that have lured traders from antiquity, and then the invaders many centuries ago. At the end of 15th century the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama hitched up his sail and after circling the Cape of Good Hope landed in Kerala at the port of Calicut and soon the other Europeans – Dutch, French and English – followed his sea route. What started as a lucrative spice trade soon created a whirlwind of brutal violence and colonisation in the name of God, king and country leaving a trail of blood stained the map of India!
~ Madhur Jaffrey
Ingredients for Aviyal
Black pepper, the king of spices and the most coveted spice was believed to be worth its weight in gold is still one of the most loved spices in the present day is grown abundantly in Kerala along with many other spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms etc. Keralan cuisine is loved for not just it’s balanced used of spices, but also inclusivity of local produce in everyday cooking. Sadya – a celebratory feast consisting of a variety of traditional vegetarian dishes usually served on banana leaves – showcases the beauty of Keralan vegetarian dishes cooked with a wide range of locally grown vegetables like gourds, green plantains, root vegetables, yams etc cooked with freshly grated coconut, coconut milk, yogurt, and lentils etc. Almost every savoury dish has two main ingredients – coconut oil and fresh curry leaves – and it is impossible to imagine Keralan cuisine without these two!