Avial- Eat as salad or soup

In today’s world of special diets and loads of options on the internet, we almost forget to cook basic traditional foods which are  commonly eaten in some regions. Any vegetarian feast is incomplete with out avial especially in southern Indian state of Kerala where it is commonly cooked.  Avial means cooked in water. Commonly used vegetables to cook avial are yam, plaintain, carrots, beans, eggplant, drumsticks, snake gourd, and cucumber. It is the easiest way to eat any vegetable if you like the basic dressing made out of coconut and yogurt. Kerala and coconut trees are synonyms and probably that is why it is a traditional dish.  If you are from the western part of the world and still thinking that soup is better than salad, then it can be converted into soup.

A glance at banana leaves, coconut, and plaintain, at the Mexican market last weekend brought the nostalgic memories of eating dishes with coconut in India.

I chose to cook with  vegetables I already had at home and avoided plaintain and yam  to avoid extra carbs as I was planning to eat with rice. So I used  Beans, Bell peppers, Zucchini, and Pumpkin. Chop  and use 2 cups of each vegetable and place it in a big pan.Boil vegetables with 3/4cup water. Cook lightly and open the lid for water to evaporate. Meanwhile grind 1/2 cup of big pieces of raw coconut ( 80gm) , 3 green chilies, thin, and  1/2 cup of plain yogurt to use as dressing. Pour it on the cooked vegetables after water evaporates.

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Cook for 2 to 5 minutes and then pour 1 Tbsp of heated coconut oil with 1/4 tsp tempered mustard seeds. Top it with curry leaves to garnish. Avial is ready. Eat plain, or with white or brown rice. If you want to eat like soup, chop the vegetables more thin and add little more water after adding coconut dressing. Eat it like a soup bowl with rice and vegetables. For protein lentils are eaten on the side.

Nutrition: The combination of vegetables used here are rich in vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is fat soluble and coconut oil in the preparation will help absorb the nutrients well. This recipe is beneficial for good vision, and youthful skin. Glycemic load is low. While the market is flooded with coconut oils with claims of its benefits and some epidemiological studies have linked high levels of HDL cholesterol ( beneficial cholesterol) with coconut products consumption, there are no conclusive results as to how Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) and Lauric Acid in coconut oil behaves in the body. Coconut oil is 92% saturated fat and can effect heart health adversely.It should be consumed in limited amounts. However, it can enhance the value of Kerala cuisine, so enjoy this coconutty avial.

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Yield: 10 portions, serving size 3/4 cup

Nutrition in each cup:

  • Calories: 73Kcal
  • Protein: 2.6g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Potassium: 386mg
  • Phosphorus: 82mg
  • Dietary fiber: 1.9g
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