Bursting Bubbles and Myths

Once upon a time, when we were kids, we blew bubbles. Long slippery ones, that would slide out and float. Medium sized ones, that would bob along happily. Small ones, that would catch a few rainbows. And then there were the giant ones. Those slow surprises, so tempting to burst.

While it is always a  shame to burst those beautiful large bubbles, a bubble that is just asking to be burst, is the one that surrounds Indian Food and Cooking. Having grown up eating simple Indian fare at home, where vegetables are complemented by, not doused in spices, and flavor is not stifled by cream and oil, I am always eager to bust the Myth that Indian Cooking is hard (or that Indian food is heavy). So, when I read Anita’s post inviting Indian dishes that use less than 6 ingredients AND take less than 30 minutes to make, I had to join the party. Since Anita is so graciously allowing late entries, I decided to bring some Avial to the mix.

Avial (Veggies cooked in a coconut and yogurt paste)

You will need:

3 C fresh/frozen vegetables, sliced into 2 inch pieces or cubed (I used 1 C each of baby carrots, green beans and peeled potatoes). Though, my favorite veggie to use in an Avial is white pumpkin/winter melon.

2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4-1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 C beaten yogurt/curd

pinch of turmeric

3 green chillies

salt to taste

(Since salt and chillies need not be counted- that is less than 6 ingredients)


The How to:

Cook the veggies in the microwave with 2-3 tablespoons of water, for 4 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, grind the shredded coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds with a 1/8 cup of water.

Move the veggies to a stove top, add salt and the pinch of turmeric, and cook them with a cup or two of water, till the veggies are tender while still retaining their bite. (This took me 15-16 minutes).

Add the ground paste and mix, allowing it to cook further for a minute. Turn the heat off.

Add the beaten curd and top the dish with a drop of coconut oil.

Excluding the prepping of the vegetables, this process should take 21 minutes. If frozen vegetables are being used, there is no prepping time involved. It took me 5-8 minutes, to peel and cube the potatoes and slice the beans. I used pre-peeled and scrubbed baby carrots which didn’t require further prepping. Total time, including prepping time is : 27 minutes.


We ate this uber simple, yet tasty Avial with this even simpler Dal


The Avial goes straight to Express Indian, at A Mad Tea Party.


  1. Am going to add this to my (at-the-moment-tiny) repertoire of south indian recipes. I always imagined Avial took longer and /was a more complicated dish. Will attempt cooking it for dinner when i head back into the hills.

    I ‘ve thoroughly enjoyed drooling over Both the recipe posts (and it has absolutely Nothing to do with your sumptuous descriptions. No, not at all).

    Can’t wait to try them out myself…! 🙂

    • Lavanya

      Yes- Avial is really simple to make. Sort of pura time vasool (if that makes any sense..:))
      Do let me know if you try this (and like it..lol)

  2. Pingback: Classic Shrikhand « A Mad Tea Party

      • I cheated. I didn’t have enough time so I used coconut milk and freshly roasted ground cumin. And, I slipped the green chillies into the veggie broth while the veggies were cooking. But it was still awesome!

      • you know what?! That is one of the short cuts my mom suggested when I first got the recipe from her. And I’ve made it that way several times in the past- except I generally skip the coconut milk and add the shredded coconut directly (tho’ coconut milk is probably a yummier option- giving it a more ‘stew-like’ taste). Avial is quite accommodating that way..:P

  3. Erin

    This looks fantastic…I love the idea of grinding the coconut, pepper and cumin to make a paste. Thanks for posting a quick Indian dish that doesn’t require store-bought pastes!

  4. Abha


    I am new to this site. I love avial and was looking for a simple recipe. I am going to try this one out. One question, when do you add the pinch of turmeric?

    • Hi Abha!

      You can add the pinch of turmeric to the veggies when they are cooking on the stove top (Thanks for pointing that out- I’ll add it to the instructions)
      Let me know how the avial turns out..:)

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