Deconstructed Avial

Now, anyone vaguely familiar with tamil cuisine has to know of Avial, a medley of stewed vegetables, simmered gently in a coconut paste, tempered with coconut oil and fresh curry leaves to add the signature south indian touch. However, my reason for giving this old classic a new twist is because often times, the vegetables are overcooked ending up in a mush where it is a difficult to differentiate one vegetable from the rest and the lovely flavours are lost. My version seeks to give a new twist to this classic dish by retaining the textures and flavours of the vegetables, increase the layers of flavour by separating out the coconut sauce and tempering and adding a whole new element with the side of beautifully caramelised baby shallots and potatoes. Serve these with some crunchy poppodoms and you have a winner!

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Ingredients ( For 4 servings) For Avial

  • Mixed vegetables – 1 large potato, 1 small brocolli, 1 carrot, 1 raw plantain, 1/2 cup of shelled peas and a handful of green beans – stringed
  • Pure Coconut Oil – 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt to season

IMG_0027 For the Coconut sauce

  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut ( you can substitute with dessicated coconut but only as a last resort)
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt to season
  • A couple of tablespoons of water

For Caramelised Potatoes

  • Vegetable Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Baby Shallots – A handful, peeled
  • Baby Potatoes – 12 -15
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin Seed Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt to season

For Rice

  • Basmati or any long grained rice – 1 cup
  • Water – 2 cups

Avial Wash, dry and cut the vegetables sliced lengthways and fairly chunky – potatoes ( with skin on), carrots, green beans, peel the skin from the raw plantain, cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and soak in a bowl of cold water to prevent oxidisation. Heat up a few lugs of coconut oil in a wok and stir fry all the vegetables, except the broccoli, with salt and turmeric until almost tender but still retaining their crunch and colour. Add the broccoli at this stage and stiry fry for a couple of minutes and take off the flame.Blend together a cup of freshly grated coconut, green chillies, cumin seeds and salt with a touch of water until it resembles a smooth thick sauce. Do not be tempted to add too much water to begin with as it will affect the consistency and flavour.

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Caramelised Potatoes: To make the potatoes, boil well scrubbed baby potatoes till tender. Heat up a wok with a splash of oil, and once hot, add the mustard seeds, let them splutter, followed by the onions and fry till well caramelised.  Toss in the potatoes with salt, turmeric, cumin and chilli powder and cook on a medium heat till the potatoes are well browned.

Steamed Rice Soak a cup of rice , Basmati or any long grained rice you prefer, for about 10 minutes and steam it with double the quantity of water in a rice cooker or heavy bottomed pan on low heat till the grains are separate and fluffed up.

To plate, take a scoop of rice in a small bowl with smooth edges to create a small mound of rice on the centre of a large plate. Place a small portion of the stir fried vegetables on top of the rice taking care to ensure that each person gets a good mix of all veggies. Drizzle the coconut sauce generously over the vegetables and around the rice. Place the potatoes on the side and few shards of fried poppodom on top and serve immediately.

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