Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Avial ...Ammas Recipe

Avial is a well known dish..this I learnt when Sanjeev Kapoor declared on some show, that Avial was one of his favorite dishes!!!
Frankly, all my childhood,I just crinkled up my nose when my amma made Avial..I just couldn't understand the "funda" of these adults who oohed and aahed with every bite of those vegetables.
When I shifted to hostel ,far far away from home,I yearned for these very vegetables and curries that amma so lovingly made. The "sorry -excuse -for -a -curry" that was served in hostel made all of us regret shunning the yummy home food,at one time or the other .

This fact of life, I try to knock into my kids heads,but in vain[I guess they take after their mom]

Ok Back to Avial....well,it was certainly not one of my favorite dishes ever,but when I came home on a short vacation once,amma had lovingly mixed up some avail and hot steaming rice with pappadams.I remember ,I had binged like there was no tomorrow...and that's when I realized ,how many avail lunches I had wasted!!

My mother and her mother spin stories around pretty much anything. Makes vacation completely worthwhile. This is a story that my grandmom told us.

When the Pandavas were in exile and were living in disguise, as simple poor brahmans. They went to Panchal kingdom for the Swayamvara of the princess.
The brahmans headed to seat themselves in the courtroom, while  Bheema, who was the "perpetually hungry one " went into the kitchen to check on the spread.

As my amma says, poor kid just tasted and checked on salt in all the dishes . The utensils were swiped clean...and the cooks and helpers in the kitchen started blaming Bheema .
He was irritated and just wanted to slip free from there. So he asked the helpers to get all the "leftover" stuff.
The helpers got pieces of different vegetables, leftover scraped coconut [the milk squeezed dry from it, for payasam], some pots of curd ....Bheema quickly cooked the vegetables after slicing them lengthwise, added the coconut and chillys after pounding them and then poured the curd ...he mixed it and poured a ladlefull of coconut oil... huffed, and left the kitchen .

When people were served this assorted vegetable curry, they did not even ask for sambar or any other curry. They kept asking for more of "this" curry.. It became a super hit. Finally one person asked, what is the name of this curry?? The brahman from the crowd said... "Bheeman Curry" [this is time when amma smiles her best smile :D]And thus was born..Avial.

This story has worked with my son. He was made to believe that avial has the magical powers of Bheema.By the time he realized that he was being tricked,he grew to love the curry :)

There are many recipes of avial. My mom in law makes a terrific avial, in which she  incorporates ,raw mango too...it is yummilicious. Will post her recipe in a bit. I will today post the recipe of the avial I shunned and then loved !! My ammas recipe.The Bheeman curry :)

1.Vegetables that can be used are
  • Ash Gourd/Bhopla/Kumbalengya/Safed kaddu
  • Pumpkin
  • Raw banana
  • String Beans
  • Suran/Jimikand/Elephant foot yam
  • Snake Gourd
  • Tindora/Tindli/Ivy Gourd or Gherkins
  • Cucumber

2.The ground paste that forms the base of the curry
   Half a coconut grated
   5 to 6 green chilly

3.Thick yogurt-beaten nice.

5.Salt to taste
6.Coconut oil
7.Curry leaves


Cut all the vegetables in long strips.,and cook together with some turmeric and salt and very little water.
Grind together the grated coconut and green chilly[add more chilly if you like the heat]
Mix the ground coconut and the yogurt.
Add it to the cooked vegetables .Mix well.take off heat[don't allow it to boil]
Pour a generous amount of coconut oil and bruised curry leaves.
Serve with hot rice ,pappadams and enjoy the Bheeman Curry...

One Picture minus the flash :)

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