What's the secret behind a feast-style avial?

The avial served at feasts often has a distinct taste compared to the versions prepared at home. Photo: Manorama

Avial, a medley of vibrant vegetables, coconut, and a melange of spices, stands out as a true masterpiece among a plethora of traditional dishes that grace the tables of Kerala households. The special dish is a symphony of flavours that epitomizes the essence of a feast. Its preparation and the vegetables used vary from region to region. While some use curd, others add tamarind pulp or mango, or exempt sourness altogether to make the unique dish and tickle the taste buds.

The dish can indeed be a healthy and balanced addition to the diet, particularly for individuals looking to shed weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Since it mainly consists of vegetables, you can have as much as you like. Avial holds a place of pride in the grand Onasadyas and joyous marriage feasts. However, the dish served at the feast often has a distinct taste compared to the version prepared at home. What's the secret behind their taste?

The defining moments
One of the defining moments of Avial preparation is the uniformity in which the vegetables are cut and the rhythmic sounds of chopping. This is a visual feast in itself, especially if you visit a marriage house on the eve of the wedding. The heart of the avial lies in its assortment of vegetables. Carrot, long beans, cucumber, drumstick, potato, plantain, elephant yam, curry leaves, shallots, cumin seeds, garlic, coconut oil, grated coconut, green chillies, raw mango, curd, turmeric powder, and salt.

The first step is to chop all the vegetables lengthwise into similar-sized pieces. Wash them properly and set them aside. Add in the required salt, turmeric powder, and coconut oil and blend them well with the vegetable pieces in a wide pan. Steam or boil the vegetables until they are just tender, ensuring they retain their vibrant colours and individual textures.

Put the shallots, garlic, curry leaves, and green chillies into a mixer and grind them. Now add grated coconut and grind them. Add the same to the Avial, close it with a lid, and set aside. When the water content from the ground mix drains away, pour the curd and mix well. Close the vessel with a lid and cook on low heat for some time, allowing the flavours to meld. Garnish the Avial with a drizzle of coconut oil before serving. Here, the feast-style avial is ready. If you don’t like sourness much, then you can avoid the mango. This is somewhat blended and different from that of the Malabar region, where they won’t usually add vegetable pieces that will easily become tender. However, the preparation method is almost the same. Pair this culinary masterpiece with steamed rice for an authentic feast experience.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.