I love avial (a South Indian dish), but have never attempted at making it because, for one i don't get all the veggies required and two, i just assumed its a difficult task, the second one taking more preference. However, this dish was not supposed to be avial like, but it somehow ended up so. I had just finished making it, and was setting the table for dinner when Ro walked in and said, 'oh are we having avial?' and I'm like, 'huh..avial..that looks like avial?' He then had to think twice before he answered because that sure was a trick question. It was like me asking, 'Du think I'm fat?' A lot of thought goes into answering such questions. Three years of marriage has taught him stuff like that, I'm glad!
Anyways, avial it was! or so i decided to call it. Since it was dominated by the Okra and since it had no other important veggies, i simply named it Okra avial. It had a nice tangy taste and i have no clue what gave out that flavour. Also, a special thanks to Sig for the outline of this recipe. Here goes:
Okra- 10 to 15 no's, slit lengthwise
Chilli pwd- as per taste
Coriander pwd- 1/4 tsp
Shallots- 1 big, cut into thin slices
Tomato- 1, cut into cubes (not too small)
Green chilli- 1 slit
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 2 tbs
Salt- to taste
Grated Coconut- 1/2 cup
Shallots- 1 big
Chilli pwd- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Garlic paste- 1/2 tsp
Grind all the items in the 'to grind' section to a smooth paste with a wee bit of water (if required) and keep aside.
In a non-stick frying pan, heat some oil, put in 1/4 tsp coriander pwd and a few pinches of chilli pwd and sautee till the raw smell goes. Fry the okra slices in it till they turn slightly brown. This is just to take off the sliminess. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
In the same frying pan, add the remaining oil and once hot, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, shallots and green chillies till they turn golden brown. Add the ground coconut mix, tomatoes and half a cup of water and bring to a simmer. Finally add the fried Okra pieces, leave on fire for about two to three minutes, give a final stir and take it off the fire. Serve warm with rice or chapatis.
Notes: I used frozen coconut and i also used coconut oil for that mallu flavour.
I used chilli and coriander pwd to fry the okra in, so it gives an added flavour. You dont have to do so. It can be fried just in oil, if you prefer that way.
The dish was not gravy-like, and I'm not sure its supposed to be..but mine was neither dry nor too runny and the coconut had absorbed all the water. I guess if you make this gravy-like, you can have it as a curry instead of avial.