Thursday, July 8, 2010

Adai aviyal

An adai when served with aviyal makes a wholesome, nutritious meal. Aviyal is a medley of boiled vegetables (think carrots, potatoes, chow-chow, white pumpkin, yellow cucumber - mostly the water based veggies etc) simmered in yogurt, coconut gravy. Its so easy to make the batter for adai, no need to toil over
fermenting the batter. The amount of lentils added does not have any hard and fast rules. But, I follow the measurements from my mom! My MOMS the BEST! (that's how it is for all of us isn't it?)
Serves 7-8 adai and it can be served for 3 people.

You need:
1/2 Cup Channa Dal
1/2 Cup Tuvar Dal
1/2 Cup Moong Dal
handful Urad Dal
1/4 Cup Rice
1/2 Cup Grated Coconut (optional)
6-8 Red Chilies
1" Ginger
Salt to Taste
2 bunch Curry Leaves

Soak the lentils and rice for about 2 hours or until tender to grind.  Grind the lentils and rice, by adding chillies and ginger. Grind it to a coarse consistency.
Once done, add the chopped curry leaves and salt to taste. Add coconut (if using) and mix well. Heat the cast iron pan, pour one laddle of the batter and spread like dosa.
(we usually make a small hole in the middle of the adai - and add few drops of oil in the hole so that the lentils get cooked well!)
Turn the adai and cook both the sides.
Serve the adai hot with aviyal (recipe follows) and a small jaggery.

Aviyal again is a dish prepared with as many vegetables as one can get. There is a legend about this dish.
It is supposed to have been invented by Bhima (one of the Pandava brothers) during his Agnaathavaasa. According to the legend, when Ballav (Bhima's name during this time) assumed his duties as the cook in the kitchen of Virata, did not know how to cook. One of the first things he did was to chop up many different vegetables, boil them together and top the dish with grated coconut and prepared "Aviyal."
Almost all vegetables go in it, except perhaps, some mushy vegetables, like, tomato, brinjal, ladies fingers, cabbage, cauliflower, beetroot (it stains the dish), radish, turnip, onion, sweet potato, etc. Otherwise, all the following vegetables can be used, depending on the availability. (Source: Wikipedia)

4 cups of all mixed vegetables depending on the availability. I have marked the vegetables I used and use commonly for aviyal everytime.
Raw Green plantain
Elephant yam (chenai kizhangu in Tamil),
Chembu (cheppam kizhangu in Tamil)
Snake gourd
Ash gourd
Chow Chow
Raw jackfruit
A small quantity of bitter gourd can be used to give a tinge of bitterness. But I avoid, as my kutti sundari likes without it. Since a variety of vegetables are used, we will need only very small quantity of each of them and also it is very difficult to prepare 2 servings or 4 servings. However, even if the prepared quantity is more than can be consumed, it keeps well for a couple of days under refrigeration.

You need
Vegetables: 500 gms of mixed vegetables.
Turmeric powder: 1tsp. (optional)
Grated fresh coconut :1½ cups
Green chillies: 2-5 (I usually use only 2)
Curds 3-4 tbsp lightly sour (if using raw mango, do not use curds)
Salt to taste
Curry leaves 2 bunches.
1/2 tspn cumin 

Coconut oil (this gives aviyal a good aroma, so do not substitute)
Wash and cut all the vegetables lengthwise into 2" pieces(stick shape). Cook the vegetables by adding little water ( I prefer to add water now and then and I make sure I do not add more water and end up draining the water with lots of nutrition from the veggies). Also one should be careful not to overcook the vegetables: they should remain crisp.(There are some vegetables which cook very fast and some which take a long time. Keep adding the vegetables according to the cooking time, the longer cooking vegetables first and the quicker ones last).
Once the vegetables are cooked, grind coconut, cumin, green chillies and add to the cooked veggies. Add the beaten curd and let stay in heat for a minute and remove. Finally, tamper the curry leaves with coconut oil
I make it little watery so as to eat with adai.
Enjoy the aviyal with you adai. Avial can also be used in the main course along with rice and sambar.

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