Onam is a festival celebrated in Kerala by people of all religions. This 10 day festival time commemorates the annual return of a much loved mythical King, Mahabali from the underworld. It is also a harvest festival.The season is marked by shopping for new Onakodi (traditional Kerala clothing made of fine cotton and gold zari borders), making a pookalam (a round motif placed on the floor made with flower petals), annual snake boat race or Vallamkali and the great Onam Sadya or feast.
This feast is served on a banana leaf with course after course of vegetarian dishes, and sweet payassums (dessert). There are at time almost 18 different dishes served for this feast.
Avial ( pronounced avee-yil) is a very traditional Keralean dish and a must for the special days of Onam. This mixed vegetable dish has ground coconut (like most dishes from Kerala) and a little yogurt. In India there are more variety of veggies that are included in this dish but here in the US, options are more limited. we can’t get Chena, chembu etc so I use vegetables we get here like bell peppers, zucchini and squash. It is quick and easy to prepare.
This recipe was requested by my med school classmate, from Ooty, NG—-enjoy!
1 red and 1 green bell pepper
Handful of green beans, trimmed
1/2 onion, sliced
If available- 1/2 a green mango, 1/2 a green plantain
6-8 curry leaves
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Salt to taste
Coconut oil to drizzle
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chilies
1/4 tsp turmeric
The key is to cut all the vegetables in the same size and thickness- generally in long sliced pieces.
Add all the veggies in a saucepan, with salt and curry leaves, add a little water. Cover and cook until soft.Can do this in the microwave as well.
In the meantime, take all the ingredients in the “To grind” list and grind to almost a semi-fine paste.
Add this to the cooked veggies and combine. Cook uncovered until most of the water has evaporated.Will be slightly mushy. Add more salt if needed. Remove from stove and add yogurt and drizzle a little coconut oil.