Kerala is a lush and tropical South Indian state located along the west coast of the subcontinent. The cuisine of Kerala is influenced by its wealth of aromatic spices and year round availability of fresh coconuts. Avial (or aviyal) is a wonderful example of traditional Kerala cuisine at its finest; fresh vegetables gently simmered in a spicy coconut curry and served with fragrant rice is a simple yet wonderfully delicious meal.
Traditionally, avial is made using a variety of different vegetables but personally I like this dish made with eggs instead. I have also made this dish using paneer or tofu if you prefer a vegetarian version.
I like using the baby or new potatoes for this dish, either the gold or red variety will do and they don’t need to be peeled. But if you don’t have any baby or new potatoes on hand, simply use a regular medium size potato of any variety.
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
4 baby or new potatoes (or 1 medium potato)
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
4-6 fresh curry leaves
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp ground cumin powder
¼ tsp red chili powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
1 small can of coconut milk (8 ounces or so)
2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
freshly grated coconut for garnish
Boil the potatoes until just fork tender. If you are using baby or new potatoes, cut them in half or quarter wedges depending upon their size. If you are using a regular potato, allow the potato to cool slightly before peeling. Cut into bite size pieces. Set aside until needed.
In a large wok or deep skillet on medium heat, add the oil. When hot, add the curry leaves along with the shallots, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Sauté for a few minutes and allow the shallots to brown slightly. Next, add all of the spices (salt, pepper, turmeric, ground cumin powder and red chili powder). Add the coconut milk and stir to combine, let simmer for 4-5 minutes until all of the flavors have come together. Add the cooked potatoes and eggs to the dish and let cook for a few minutes or so until they have fully warmed through. Garnish with cilantro leaves and freshly grated coconut, serve hot with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
Feel free to add some your favorite vegetables to this dish such as green peas, carrots, baby corn, green beans, butternut squash… just blanch the veggies until tender and add along with the potatoes and eggs.