Aviel is Malayalam for vegetable medley. It is the celebration dish in Kerala. I kept the concept, but I didn’t feel the need to cook it to a mush-like consistency. This vegetable medley is al dente—a lot faster, a lot fresher, and every bit as festive.




Yogurt dressing:

2 cups grated coconut (thawed if frozen)

1 cup water

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 jalapeño, rough chopped

1 tablespoon fresh ginger paste

½ teaspoon fresh garlic paste

1 cup Greek yogurt


Vegetables (cut into 2-inch sticks resembling French fries):

2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled

2 cups string beans

1 carrot

1 zucchini

1 yellow, red, and orange bell pepper (3 in all)



1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil 

1 yellow onion (cut into 2-inch pieces resembling French fries)

6 curry leaves

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper



1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil 

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

6 curry leaves

1 shallot, sliced

¼ teaspoon cayenne flakes


1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil (melted over low heat) for finishing drizzle


1. Puree yogurt dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Set aside.

2. Vegetables: Blanch potatoes and beans in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Add carrots, blanch for 1 minute more. Add zucchini and bell peppers, blanch for 1 additional minute. Vegetables should be firmly cooked, not mushy! Drain.  

3. Heat coconut oil and sauté onion. When onion begins to brown, add curry leaves (protect yourself from crackling leaves, with a lid) and stir for 30 seconds. Add blanched vegetables and continue sautéing for 2 minutes. Don’t overcook! Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add yogurt dressing to the sautéed vegetables and toss gently to avoid breaking up the vegetables.

5. Tadka: Heat coconut oil in a large 12-inch saucepan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves (shield yourself from spluttering with a lid). Add shallot and stir until it begins to brown (5 minutes). Lower heat, and add cayenne flakes. Stir for one minute, and spoon tadka over the sautéed and yogurt-dressed vegetables.

6. Drizzle with a final tablespoon of coconut oil as a flavor booster! Check seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.



The humble onion promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which is good for digestion, immune response, and brain function. The inulin in onion also stabilizes blood sugar levels, helping to control diabetes. Onions contain powerful antioxidants, and red and purple onions have anthocyanins (the same water-soluble pigments found in berries) with powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Serve Aviel with Heritage Barley (Better than Rice) Pilaf , Ammachi’s Clay Pot Fish Molee, and Peppery Papadum