Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 5/90

Today, I decided to cook with my grandmother. I have been wanting to for many days, but our timings just dont seem to match. So this time, when she said, Friday, 11 am, I decided to be there or be square. 

My pater is malyali, and my grandmother(Ammama in Malyalam) makes awesome malyali food only on two days a year, both enticing festival days, called Onam and Vishu. As a child, I always stuck my nose up at the food, and could not develop a taste for the excessive coconut it calls for, but over the years, the taste has grown on me. 

My grandmother, like all grandmothers I believe, is a storehouse of stories, of all kinds, shapes and sizes. I love spending time with her to listen to all of that. 

She loves to do the daily crossword, and asks me for answers everyday. 

So, over some crossword answers, some Kerala talk, and a bunch of fresh vegetables, two lovely ladies hit the kitchen. 

This is what we made today. Im calling it, Ammama's Amazing Avial. I know this sounds really shady, but it IS amazing, and healthy. :) 

Avial is an excellent malayali concoction. Read more here:


Here is what you need: 

A grandmother 
Pen and paper to write down what she says 
Powerful ears to listen carefully 

Vegetable wise here is what we put in: 

One cup of chopped bottle gourd 
One small brinjal 
One cup chopped broad beans 
One cup chopped pumpkin 
One cup chopped potato 

For the sauce: 

One third of a coconut, grated 
A teaspoon of cumin seeds 
One green chilli 
Three tablespoons of curd 

Other things: 
A tablespoon of turmeric 
Salt to taste 

For the garnish: 
Two sprigs of curry leaves 
A teaspoon of coconut oil 

The process: 

1. Chop up all the vegetables length wise, not into pieces, but into thin strips. My grandmother laid out a newspaper, put the chopping board on it, and then cut them up. This would make cleaning easier. :) 

As usual, she said, "In Kerala, we have so many vegetables we can put, here, we get nothing." Well, cant be helped. 

2. Put them all in a bowl to wash. My grandmother insisted that a lot of dirt would come out and it did. Here is what the vegetables look like: 

3. Put all the vegetables in a wok, with enough water to cover them, and the turmeric, and the salt. This is what it looks like. 

4. Let it bubble up, until the water dries. Lower the flame if you want. I used a better camera today, so I have proof of the smoke. 

5. Cover it up and let it cook, till the vegetables are not mush, not crunch, but have taken that perfect middle path. Add some curry leaves too. 

6. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the coconut, green chilli, and the cumin seeds, to make a paste of sorts. Take the stuff out into a small bowl. This is what it looked like. 

7. Once the contents off the wok are cooked, let it cool down. Then, take it off the gas and keep it aside. 

Now, you make your grandmother pose for the camera, with wonderful results. 

8. Then, you add the curd, and the coconut, green chilli, cumin seed paste to the wok. 

9. Add one teaspoon of coconut oil to the dish, and decorate with some fresh curry leaves. I dont see the purpose of these fresh leaves, except that the dish looks lovely, but only the brave can eat them. 

10. Transfer the contents to a serving dish, and enjoy your meal. 

Serve with freshly boiled rice, and I assure you, you will be a much happier person. :) 


  1. Aww, SWEEET!! I loved it. You are moving into family legacy/food sharing territory, and thats awesome SAUCE!

  2. Loved this one...Super stuff...U can also post a eng-hindi list of all common condiments that one may use... i love the fotos...add so much colour to post...

  3. Your best so far...and its only Day 5 :)

  4. Slurppp, I love Malayali food.And this looks awesome. Maybe you could try Chettinad someday so that I can get some guidance from your blog.

    Oh and also, it's such a happy blog. :)