Avial, a mixed vegetable curry, is a simple recipe made even simpler thanks to the instant pot.
If you’ve never heard of avial before, it’s a delicious veggie packed recipe cooked in coconut oil and flavored with aromatic curry leaves. All of the vegetables are coated in a sauce made with grated coconut and yogurt.
You can easily make this recipe dairy-free, paleo, whole30 or vegan by using coconut yogurt instead of regular yogurt – it’s a perfect substitute! I’ve tried this dish many times using regular yogurt as well as coconut yogurt and trust me, it’s a winner either way.
The great thing about making avial in an instant pot is that you can cook all the vegetables together in the same amount of time and they turn out perfectly. I love making this easy mixed vegetable dish whenever we have guests over – it always seems to impress friends who aren’t used to eating a variety of Indian vegetables. And that brings me to my next point…
What Vegetables Should I use in Avial?
Avial is typically made with assorted vegetables such as unripe plaintan, unripe green mango, carrots, green beans, cucumber, pumpkin, taro root, potatoes.
It is also often made with moringa, which is better known as “drumstick.” If you use drumsticks in this recipe, you are to eat the soft pulpy inside and then discard the fibrous exterior – it’s similar to eating artichoke leaves.
You can find drumsticks as well as a variety of other Indian vegetables in the frozen aisle of any Indian grocery store. You can also find frozen unsweetened grated coconut at your local Indian store.
Also, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to veggies, so feel free to use what you have/like.
Avial is a Must During Keralite Festivals!
While you can make and enjoy avial any time, this dish is a must during special occasions or festivals. It’s always served during Onam, a big harvest festival, as part of the sadya, a vegetarian feast typically served on a banana leaf. Here’s a picture of my little family during last year’s Onam festival at the temple in Pittsburgh – it was Tony’s first time celebrating!
My husband (who is Keralite) considers avial to be his favorite vegetarian dish (he likes it even more than green bean thoran which is saying a lot). He has loved it since he was a kid and whenever I make it, it makes his day. Thankfully the instant pot allows me to make his day pretty often. I hope you all love it as much as he does!
I love this mixed vegetable dish because it’s so easy to make and it always seems to impress guests who aren’t used to eating a variety of Indian vegetables (such as green plantain, taro root or drumsticks). You can easily find a variety of Indian vegetables as well as grated coconut in the frozen aisle of any Indian grocery store.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds*
- 30 curry leaves
- 4 cups assorted vegetables**, cut lengthwise (2-inch long pieces)
- ½ cup grated coconut***
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 Serrano pepper or green chili, slit in half but still intact
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ cup yogurt (regular or dairy-free coconut yogurt works!)
- Press the sauté button then add the coconut oil. Once it melts, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the remaining ingredients to the pot except for the yogurt.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 4 minutes at high pressure.
- Open the valve to quick release the pressure.
- Stir in the yogurt and serve immediately or at room temperature.
- *You can leave the black mustard seeds out if you’d like. Some use black mustard seeds when making avial and some do not – I personally like the flavor so I use them but it’s not necessary.
- **This dish is typically made with assorted vegetables such as unripe plaintan, unripe green mango, carrots, green beans, cucumber, pumpkin, taro root, potatoes. It is also often made with moringa, which is better known as drumstick. If you use drumsticks in this recipe, you are to eat the inside and then discard the fibrous exterior. You can find drumsticks as well as a variety of other Indian vegetables in the frozen aisle of any Indian grocery store.
- ***Find frozen unsweetened grated coconut at your local Indian grocery store.