Avial, a very popular Kerala dish of mixed locally grown vegetables in a coconut based gravy finished off with some curd. The gravy is laced with flavors of cumin and green chillies and this dish is commonly relished in Kerala households during festival of Onam. Curd gives a nice, mouthwatering tartness to the dish. And how can I forget the aromatic undertones of curry leaves, a predominant herb in a South Indian dish!
During my school days I would always fuss over Avial being present on the menu. I detested it back then. Found nothing overly special about it. And then one day having run out of the very many excuses to avoid eating it, I finally decided to face it. I poured it over warm steamed rice. The first aroma that caught my attention was of coconut. Coconut coated the very many vegetables present! On tasting the rest of the flavors became evident, of cumin and curry leaves and medley of flavors of all the vegetables.
By the end of the meal I finally grasped the essence of its popularity – goodness of all vegetables in a mildly flavored yet healthy curry, abundance of coconut that reminds me flavors of home and childhood. I no more found any reasons to hate it. For the dish had it all that it takes to categorize it under ‘comforting’ food – mild, simple, unpretentious. I learnt how such an ‘unassuming’ dish could be soul filling too. And that is the story behind how I befriended the humble avial and the relation has been going strong since then. 🙂