When I was a kid, my parents used to joke that I may have been switched at birth. This is because despite belonging to a non veg family, I could live solely off vegetarian dishes. Can you blame me?! I love all the flavor and variety offered in South Indian vegetarian thali meals and would be content if I had to live off them for eternity. One particular vegetarian dish that is the way to my heart is called Avial. It's a mixture of vegetables cooked with grated coconut and a blend of spices. I seriously can eat bowls and bowls of this and never get bored. The health coach side of me, loves the incredible variety of vegetables in this dish, making it not only something my body craves, but something nutritious. Truly a win, win!
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1 tablespoon Cumin seeds (microwave for 1 min for quick roast)
1 tbsp Tamarind paste
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder x 2
1/2 tsp Hing powder
1.5 tsp Red Chili powder
2 Green Chilis split in half (deseed if want less spicy)
2 stems Curry leaves
1/2 cup Okra
1/2 cup Green Beans
1/2 cup Morgina
1/2 cup Carrots
1/2 cup Green Plantains or Potatoes
1/2 cup Bitter Melon
1/2 cup yoghurt - this adds extra sourness, but omit, if you are vegan or intolerant. The tamarind will be enough.
(Note: veggie choice is up to you. You can use only non starchy vegetables if looking to keep lower carb)
Grind coconut, roasted cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, shallot, garlic, a few curry leaves in a food processor and set aside.
Soak 1 tbsp tamarind paste in hot water.
Cut up the veggies you want evenly and in the same size — i.e. okra, green beans, morninga, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, green plantain, bitter melon.
Add coconut oil to a pan along with an entire stem of curry leaves. Once oil is heated, add all the chopped vegetables. Now top with green chili and 1/2 tsp red chili, 3:4 tsp, remaining 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp hing. Mix it all up to get coconut oil all over veggie mix.
Now add 1/4 water and soaked tamarind paste. It will net out to about 1/2 cup water total.
Cook on medium heat closed for 15 minutes.
Top with some more coconut oil and add water, if desired.
Once vegetables are mostly cooked, add in coconut blend mixture and place it in the middle of veggie sauce and cover with vegetables.
After 3-5 minutes, mix it throughout.
Add yoghurt (1/2 cup yogurt) - this adds sourness omit if you are vegan
Taste and add more oil and salt, if needed
Add fresh curry leaves
I hope you enjoy this classic South Indian vegetarian dish, just as much as I do.
Gather all your ingredients:
Blend coconut and spices in food processor:
Heat up coconut oil and when heated, add vegetables and top with spices:
Add in shredded coconut mixture and cover with vegetables:
Final product should look like this: