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.
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.