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Celebrate Onam with this avial recipe

Chef Vetrimurugan, Brand Chef, Zambar brings you a recipe for avial, without which no Onam sadhya is complete

By The Telegraph
  • Published 10.09.19, 7:26 PM
  • Updated 10.09.19, 7:34 PM
  • a min read
Avial, a dish that Bheema invented and Sage Durvasa liked Zambar

Avial, a kind of mixed vegetable dish made with a combination of 8-10 seasonal vegetables is a must at Onam Sadhya – the grand vegetarian feast that the Malayalis have to celebrate the homecoming of the mythical king Mahabali, during the harvest festival. A popular dish in most Kerala households, avial can be cooked in a creamy curry form with coconut milk and curd and had with rice or as a non-gravy dish to be had as a side with appam.

So popular is avial in Kerala that legend has it that it was invented by Bheema, when the Pandavas were in exile. During their exile in the kingdom of Virata, Bheema was disguised as a cook, Ballav. According to one story he didn’t know any cooking and put all the vegetables together, making avial. According to another story, Sage Durvasa who was known for his short temper visited King Virata’s court. Bheema had to quickly prepare some food for him. He put together whatever vegetables were available and cooked avial, a dish that Sage Durvasa liked.

Here is a recipe for avial from Chef Vetrimurugan, Brand Chef, Zambar. Whether or not, this is how Bheema prepared avial, we will never know. But this Onam, do try cooking it.



    Step 1

    Peel the plantain, yam and potato. Cut all vegetables into 3-inch long strips

    Step 2

    Cook the vegetables in water with turmeric powder, till soft. Check the drumstick to see if it is soft, if so all other vegetables should be cooked. Drumstick takes the longest to cook. Add salt to this once the vegetables are cooked.

    Step 3

    Grind together the coconut, cumin, green chillies and yogurt to a fine paste

    Step 4

    Add this paste to the cooked vegetables. Garnish/season with the coconut oil and curry leaves


Yogurt is used as the souring agent here. In certain parts of Kerala, tamarind is used as the souring agent instead. If using tamarind, use a lime sized ball, soak in water and take out the pulp. Add this to the vegetables when they are cooking. Skip the yogurt. Grind the coconut with a little water instead.

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