I first stumbled across this wonderful dish whilst in varkala in Kerala, after a rather brutal Ayurvedic massage (which felt more like sweet revenge than a massage) I sought solace in a the goodness of fresh vegetables in a tangy sauce, spiked with chilli.
I know a lot of people would love to cook indian food but are simply too scared because they think that ever spice under the sun and the kitchen sink goes into a curry, I have to be honest and say so did I, I too was guilty of over complicating what I thought was authentic curry. If you are an indian food beginner , southern indian cuisine is super simple, fast and fresh and pretty much fool proof. The vegetables that I have used are traditional in an avial however you can adapt the types of vegetables to your own palate. I have to say that I was thrilled to find out that a South Indian restaurant had opened in our city, great restaurants in East Yorkshire are few and far between, so when I found a South Indian restaurant that was not only authentic but was so good it made me weep I was elated. This brought the decent restaurant count within a ten mile radius up to a whopping three.
I digress I urge you to try this curry because it is the kind that can soothe any hunger pangs all year round, warming in winter and fresh in summer and utterly scrum my and good for you!
1 cup of carrots cut int batons
1 cup of potatoes cut into batons
1 cup of chayote squash cut into batons
1 cup of indian drumsticks cut into batons
1 cup of plantain peeled and cut into batons
1 cup of French beans cut into two inch batons
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of Maldon sea salt
2 cups of water
1 cup of indian curd whisked up
1 cup freshly grated coconut, this can also be bought frozen
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 green chillies
1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp asafoetida
2 dried red chillies broken in half
20 curry leaves
2 tsp Maldon sea salt
1 tsp sugar
Simply cut all of your chosen vegetables into batons roughly 5cm long and 1cm in circumference. Place all of the vegetables, the tsp of maldon salt and turmeric into a pressure cooker with the water, if you do not have a pressure cooker a casserole pan with a lid will work just as well but you may have to top up the water should it evaporate. cook the vegetables until tender, roughly two whistles of the pressure cooker and 15-20 minutes in a conventional casserole pan.
Meanwhile add all of the spice paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz until it is a fine paste, add this to the tender vegetables and mix well. In a frying pan add the coconut oil, when the oil is hot add the rest of the tempering ingredients and cook until the curry leaves start to crackle and the air is filled with the heady scent of spice, tip the tempered oil into the vegetable mixture and then finish with the salt and sugar, stir well and serve with fluffy rice!