Aviyal from Palakkad


Just like the North uses besan(bengal gram flour) and onion-tomato paste for its gravies, Kerala in the South thrives on curd. Many of the gravied dishes use curd as the base and coconut to add density.  Sometimes it is coconut with dry red chillies or coconut with green chillies or coconut with jeera/cumin seeds – coconut however is a constant. I make all the varieties but always absolutely confused about the names of the dishes I end up with. Is it kaalan, erisseri, pulicheri or pachadi – the nomenclature seem similar but the taste sets them apart.  I invite all of you to jump into the foray and offer your comments. Probably Jayasree whom I came to know through Arusuvai could clear my confusion? She is my link to Palakkad – the place from where we hail and yet have never been there. I would love to see the Malampuzha dam and verdant Kerala sometime in the near future (I did that in December 2012)!’Aviyal’ – a universal favourite with North Indians too (From my experience in office and friends) – is one such curd based gravied dish. It pairs well with freshly cooked rice with a pat of home made ghee, and pappadams or appalams. My husband loves it with hot and spicy stuffed red chilli pickles Vandana gave me some time back! I stick to the traditional pappadaam.

Its easy to make and healthy too – here’s my way to make it – Add more coconut to make it tastier, more green chillies if you like it hot! Mine is moderately spiced.

Mixed veggies – 3 cups (all cut into thick cuboids as for french fries)
[Vegetables commonly used – Carrots, potatoes,koorkai (Supply the English name for it please), raw bananas, elephant’s foot, string beans, a little of raw mango, white pumpkin and jackfruit seeds (Chakka kottai)]

Yogurt (Thick, a little sour will also do) – 3 cups
Coconut (Grated fresh) – 11/2 to 2 cups.
Green chillies – 2
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp. (Do not substitute – its the flavour of coconut that sets it apart)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp.
Salt – to taste

1. Boil the veggies in enough water with turmeric and salt till very soft.

2. Grind coconut and green chillies to smooth blend and set aside.

3. Whisk the curd – do not add water.
4. Add the coconut paste to the boiled vegetables. Add the curd and mix.
5. Cook the mixture well it just starts frothing, stirring in between ( we do not want it to curdle).

6. Remove from fire and add the coconut oil and mix.

With rice and pappadaam or appalaams.

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Have your say

  1. Those are great photos… my husband is from palakkad and reminds me of the food he used to eat growing up…daily!! i must try this for him! thanks!

  2. Thanks Arundathi, I am learning photography from the photography magazine, and now its a passion! I am all the more motivated by such comments much to my husband’s exasperation 😉

  3. classic dish sunshinemom… its fav among everyone. i cooked it for one of our french friend and he ended up licking his plate clean 😉

  4. hey, thanks for visiting my blog! both me and my hubby just love aviyal..we are gujaratis, so whenever my tamil friend makes this, we r sure to be invited:)

    looks nice girl!

  5. The photographs are very professional! They are making me hungry and I can get the aroma of the food till here…
    I love Avial but have never been able to make it as authentically as my friends do. I have to try out this one.

  6. Sia, nice to know that Indian dishes other than red curries are getting recognized..thanks to you girls!!

    Mansi, thank you! Same goes with my Rajasthani neighbour. She gives me her dhoklas and moong sheera and I share my typical Tamilian dishes apart from the rest!

    Roma, thank you so much…am just brushing up on the photography aspect from the really professional magazine ‘photography’! It seems to be paying off!! Do try this one, and hope you will like it as much as we do!

  7. thanks for dropping by, dear harini. you have a lovely space here.

  8. Thanks Bee, yours is so inspiring!! It is nice to see you here!

  9. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

    That looks great! So flavorful!

    Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll! 🙂

  10. Palakkad district is a all seasons tourist destination


    Discussion includes details of
    – The name Palakkad and how it was derived
    – The climate of the Palakkad district
    – Geographical facts like Palakkad being the second district in Kerala, not having a seacoast.
    – Palakkad district has Kerala’s longest river flowing through.
    – Hyder Ali fort in palakkad built in the late 1770s
    – A list of the important tourist attractions of Palakkad

  11. Hi Harini,

    Its been some time…I am also from Palakkad but have been fortunate to visit the place now and then. We make Aviyal the same way, only my grandmom cooks the veggies in dilute tamarind water. Guess that adds to the sourness!!!
    Drop by when you have the time…



  12. Koorkai are called 'Chinese potatoes'.
    And an absolutely mouthwatering photo. Do you think I could substitute the curd with silken tofu (being a vegan)?
    Well, I guess I will give it a try 🙂

  13. Hi Torwen,

    Thanks! I have tried a vegan version which tastes as good but haven't got round to photographing it or posting. Instead of curd you can grate a tart raw mango and grind it to a smooth consistency with the coconut. Add thick coconut milk towards the end and do not boil. You will get exactly the same taste.

  14. Must try this. My soon-to-be husband loves it when I surprise him with food from his place. Also bookmarking your blog for more recipes. Great job!

  15. Good luck and thanks for trying out recipes from our site, Piya! Be generous with the coconut and use thick, set curd, and you will have the tastiest avial!

  16. Koorkai is supposed to be “chinese potatoes”

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