Aviyal – Vegetables & Coconut

At this time of year (August) we have a large surplus of vegetables and try to enforce a regime of one completely vegetarian main mean a week. This not only helps to use up the surplus but also improves our diet!

This recipe is intended to be served on the side accompanying a more substantial dish and rice as a main course.

Aviyal is a traditional Southern Indian dish that is often associated with religious occasions. The quantities here are sufficient for 4 to 6 people as a side dish. Adjust the amount of chilli to taste, 2 of Jalapeno type gives a fairly mild dish, 3 or more begins to be quite hot and sharp.

Preparation and cooking time about 45 minutes or less. Difficulty – easy!


  • About 180ml water (6 fl oz)
  • 500g (1lb) of vegetables, chose from potatoes, peppers, green or runner beans, cauliflower, carrots, courgettes, aubergines or similar. Tomatoes are not really suitable but we have occasionally used them. Leafe vegetables such as spinach or cabbage do not work well.
  • 4 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
  • 2 large or 3 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger (optional, increases heat)
  • 2 – 4 fresh or frozen green chillis remove the seeds for a milder dish
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, some may prefer slightly more
  • Juice of half a fresh lime or 30ml preserved lime juice
  • 4 curry leaves, these quite often arrive as broken pieces so you will need to judge the amount
  • 150g (5 fl oz) fresh greek yogurt


Wash, prepare and cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces.

De-seed the chillis if required and put them into a blender (or mortar and pestle if you need the exercise) together with the garlic, ginger (if used), coconut, cumin seeds and salt together with 1 teaspoon of water, blend until you have a smooth paste.

Beat the yogurt until it is of a fairly even thick consistency.

Bring the water to a rolling boil in a fairly substantial saucepan that has plenty of room to spare. Put the vegetables into the pan one at a time, starting with those that take the longest to cook (usually potatoes) and progressing through to those that take the least time, e.g. fine green beans. Keep the mixture simmering continuous throughout the period. Stir occasionally. When all are added, cover and allow to cook until they are just under cooked by about 5 minutes.

Add the paste mixture,  lime juice and the curry leaves, stir gently to mix and remove from the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes then slowly add the yogurt  whilst stirring gently, the objective being to stop the yogurt curdling.

Put the pan back on a low heat and continue to cook gently, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are completely cooked.

Serving Suggestion:

This dish is designed to be served hot with a more substantial component to the meal such as a bean based dish such as black eyed beans and mushrooms together with rice or bread.

If you want to serve it as the manin part of a meal, try garnishing with sliced boiled egg and chopped coriander.

Aviyal, like many dishes of this type, does not freeze well and should be kept in a fridge if not served immediately.

One Response to “Aviyal – Vegetables & Coconut”

  1. Vegetables & coconut? A new combination for me – must give it a try!