An onam avial.

Avial is a vegetable stew with many variations. This one is full of local pumpkins, yams, and beans available during Onam, Kerala’s harvest festival.

Onam Avial Recipe

8 servings


2 (12-inch) drumsticks – cut in 3-inch segments with the outer fibrous strands removed
½ field cucumber, peeled and seeded and cut into 3-inch long pieces
2 potatoes sliced in wedges
1 plantain – cut in half and sliced in wedges
1 small Indian eggplant, cut in wedges
2 red onions, cut in lengthwise wedges
2 carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch long wedges
2 yams, cut in wedges
½ cup butternut squash (or a firm pumpkin) cut in wedges
4 long green chilies – slit along the sides but left intact
1 cup green beans – tips removed
Pinch turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons salt – plus to taste at the finish
2 cups water
4 small tomatoes – peeled and sliced
2 okra, halved
20–30 fresh curry leaves – divided
3-4 cloves garlic
6 shallots, cut in lengthwise slices
1 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon black mustard seeds – crushed in a mortar and pestle
4 Tablespoons coconut oil


  1. Place the drumsticks, cucumber, potato, plantain, eggplant, onions, carrots, yam, squash, chilies, green beans in a pot and add the turmeric, coriander, salt and water and bring to a boil then boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, okra and curry leaves and continue to boil another 5 minutes.
  3. Place the garlic and shallots in a food processor and pulse to a fine paste then add to the vegetables and cook on low heat while you make the next paste.
  4. Place the coconut and cumin seeds in the food processor and grind to a smooth paste and stir into to the vegetables, cover with a lid and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Crush the mustard seeds and add them and the coconut oil.
  6. Taste the stew and adjust salt seasoning to taste.
  7. Enjoy with your favourite fish, chicken or meat dish.

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