Friday, April 3, 2009


Vishu is round the corner. Vishu is new year's day in the Malayalam calender and falls on the 14th of April in the Gregorian calendar . It is celebrated with much pomp and splendor in Kerala.

There are 3 awesome things about Vishu which I love.

One, I love the custom followed at dawn, on the day of Vishu.

The lady of the house sets up a large platter in the Pooja room( room of worship) on the night before Vishu. The platter is arranged with fruits, money, jewels, flowers, a new piece of cloth, paddy and a very special mirror called the "valkannadi". The unique feature of this mirror is that it is not made of glass, like most mirrors, but bronze metal. The significance of the mirror on this arranged tray is to reflect prosperity, wealth and welbeing. This arranged platter is called Vishu Kani.The ritual followed at dawn is that every individual is brought blindfolded straight from bed to the Pooja room, so that the first sight seen on the new year's day is this tray signifying prosperity. This is called Kani kaanal. It is believed that seeing the Kani will carry forward prosperity throughout the year.
Secondly, I love the tradition of all the elders in the family offering money to the younger members( Great way to get a fat pocket)

Finally, I love the sadhya( famous vegetarian meal of kerala) with lots and lots of sides.

Usually, sadhya is served on banana leafs and it's difficult to number the various side dishes. The sides for rice are avial, sambar, moru kootan, kaalan, thoran, erisseri, papadam, pickle, kaaya varthathu( plaintain chips), chena varthathu( yam chips), sarkkara upperi, ghee, inji puli, parippu(dal), olan, moru, stew.........and believe me when I say that I have named just a few :) Then, there's dessert too. Mostly palpradhman( kheer made of milk) and sarkkara pradhaman( and one made of jaggery). Mmmm! (I guess just by reading that, everyone's stomach is filled:)

I wonder why I write all only makes me yearn to go home...
Anyway, I'm shelling out some recipes for some kerala specialities. I'll start with avial. Avial is a mixture if various vegetables in a yogurt-coconut gravy. I personally think that an avial requires a minimum of 5 veggies to be included in it. In this recipe, I have added 6 varieties of veggies. This dish is a powerhouse packed with nutrition. And it's pretty simple too.
Note: The vegetables are required to be cut into long peices. This cutting style is called julienne . For avial, the veggies need to be cut into 1-1/2 inch long and thin pieces.

Preparation time - 20 mins
Ingredients:( serves 5-6)
  • Julienned yam- 3/4 cup
  • Julienned carrots - 1 cup
  • Beans (cut into 1 inch pieces) - 1 cup
  • Drumsticks ( cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces) - about 12-15 pieces
  • Julienned white pumpkin - 1 cup
  • Julienned raw plantains - 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn
  • Salt - to taste
  • Grated coconut - 1 cup
  • Green chillies - 4
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tspns
  • Sour yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Oil - 1 tspn
  • Curry leaves - 7-8
  • Make a coarse paste of the coconut, green chillis and cumin seeds with about 3-4 tbspns of water.
  • Transfer the paste to a small bowl and add yoghurt. Mix well. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, pour 2 cups water and add turmeric and salt. Boil beans and drumsticks in it for 3 mins. ( If you need avial with lots of gravy, add more water)
  • When they are half-cooked add the rest of the vegetables in the same pot and cook
    When the vegetables are nearly done, add the coconut- yoghurt mix to the vegetables. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  • Add the curry leaves and the oil and turn off the heat.
  • Serve hot with rice.
Luv 'n' luc'


  1. Hi Smitha,
    Love's one of the health packed dishes where u can get nutrition of many veggies packed in's aroma makes me more hungrier when it is still getting
    I could eat a hearty meal just with this heavenly stuff :) nice clicks.
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Great to read it. At least we can write about it, when we can't be sitting there in India infront of Sadya platter, right? :)

    People like me who love Avial can drool over this dish, looks so good. I have never used Drumsticks, will next time.

    Enjoy your weekend, see you on Monday.

  3. Hey smitha, I luv avials...tats the only dish I can eat with all veggies added. Now hunger strikes looking at urs :) April 14th is Tamil New Yr too!!

  4. oh..just love it..God knows since when I have been procastinating making this n posting for Kerala sadya tag..Now Il guess Ill make it on Vishu n post..I felt nostalgic after the whole read dear..:) veeettiiilll ponammmmmmmm..:((
    Lovely pics..esply 2nd one..:)

  5. Love Avial..I am drooling all over it..The pictures are even more tempting..

  6. mmm..this is my all time favourite, Smitha!!

  7. Lovely aviyal.. i tasted aviyal long back..

  8. Yummy avial,advance wishes for Vishu:)

  9. I love Avial so much and your pics are tempting me a lot!!!!

  10. I love Avial!!!! Slurrrp!!! Lovely pic! :)


  11. I love is quick and easy and too yummy. Yours looks delicious :)

  12. very tempting and delicious avial Smitha!!!

  13. hey..first time here! the avial looks yum, and love the pictures on your blog!

  14. wow , what a perfect post dear. Passionately i read all the lines about vishu kani kaanal again and again. Reminds me of Tamil New year. Ur description of the menu made me nostalgic. Aviyal looks so delicious. Nice post dear.

  15. i love avial v much....and i miss my mom's avial..ur pics r too tempting....thx for sharing..and u have wonderful site here

  16. looks awesome Smitha :)i love avial

  17. My mom prepares this on special occasions. Actually in Tamilnadu I think there is a slight variation in the preparation. Will tell you about it after asking my mom. Cheers!

  18. if only i get grated coconut in my country i can cook like this.

    is there anyway to cook this without coconut?


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