April 15, 2007

Happy Vishu!

Vishu Ashamsakal to all my readers and fellow bloggers. Vishu denotes the first day of the Malayalam month, Medam (Aries) and is celebrated with much fanfare throughout the state. Keralites place much importance to the Vishukkani, the first sight that strikes the eyes upon waking up on this day, believing it to influence the shaping up of the entire year.

According to the Kerala websites and wikepedia, the entire ritual has some unique facets; on the eve of Vishu, uncooked rice, a bolt of new cloth, a ripe cucumber, green mangoes, betel leaves, arecanut, jack fruit, a metal mirror, the yellow Konna (Cassia fistula) flowers etc. are arranged artistically in a shallow bell-metal vessel called an uruli which is placed in the prayer room. A lighted nilavilakku or traditional lamp is placed besides the uruli; each of the family members are roused from sleep by an elder and led with closed eyes to the prayer room, to open and view the auspicious uruli which symbolises prosperity throughout the year.

Vishu, is the Keralites’ way of wishing for prosperity that sticks throughout the year. The Keralites have an English(roman) as well as a parallel malayalam calender in each home, which mark out the months and star signs for each day.

Though I don't celebrate Vishu, I am too much of a Keralite to ignore it completely.
Traditonalists celebrate it with a sadya reminiscent of the Onam heavy duty sadya and payasams.

And today is a wet, gloomy Sunday with nothing much to look forward to. :(
Spring is still elusive and the we still can't get rid of our jackets.
So today after a hectic week long marathon in the office, it is time to celebrate the new year with a naadan lunch and a malayalam movie. So long to the frenzied slapdash dinners of the week. My spread is a rice meal with avial, olan, fish curry, fish fry and rice. The malayalam movie(or any other movie) is the equivalent of digestive tablet after a heavy meal on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Nothing like laughing to the slapstick comedy and double edged puns in the (mallu) movies to help digest the lunch. (I am not a die hard fan of the mallu movies, but I can appreciate some of them.;))
Mostly its lunch and a family movie on the holidays as one by one everybody drops off into blissful sleep.
So here we are with the whole deal. Most of you are already familiar with avial and olan and I hear groans.."not that recipe, it's what we make regularly"... but I am posting it anyway for anybody unfamiliar with it.

Avial/ Mixed vegetables in Yogurt.

Avial is a semi-dry preparation with mixed vegetables, held together in a yogurt-coconut base. Avial in my house is made with curd(yogurt) for sourness but there are versions (South-kerala)with mango or tamarind added instead of yogurt. The mix of vegetables is a combination of vegetables such as potato,yam, raw bananas and ashgourd, snake gourd etc.
Yam(Chena)-1 cup
Ash gourd(Kumbalanga)-1 cup
Raw Plantians/Bananas-2 nos
Drumsticks(Muringya)-2 nos
Potato-1 no
String or Yard long Beans- 1 cup
Carrot- 1cup
Green Chilies-4-5
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Curry leaves -one srig
Coconut oil-2tbsp
Sour curds-1 cup
Salt to taste

Grind to a paste : Coconut-1 cup
Green chillies-2 nos.
Cumin (Jeera) seeds-1 tsp.

1. Grind together the coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds to make a fine paste, adding very little water. Keep aside. Whip the curds into a smooth blend.
2. Peel and chop all the vegetables into similar sized 2-inch lengths.
3. Cook the vegetables separately with little water in a heavy-bottomed vessel.
You can cook the beans and carrots together, the soft gourds together and the potato and yam together. Keep an eye on the vegetables as they may need more water as they cook. Add the salt, green chilies and turmeric powder while cooking.
4. Mix all the cooked vegetables gently , taking care not to break up the softer vegetables.
5. Add the coconut paste and heat through, taking care to prevent curdling. Turn off the flame and add the curds/yogurt.
6. Add the coconut oil and curry leaves while the avial is still hot and mix well. Do not heat again. It stays well in the fridge for 2-3 days but does not take well to freezing.

Olan/ Black-Eyed Beans in Coconut Milk


Black-eyed beans-1 cup
Ash Gourd(Kumbalanga)-1 cup
Green chillies-3-4 nos vertically slit
Coconut milk-1 1/2 cups
Curry leaves-5-6 nos.
Coconut Oil-1 tablespoon
Salt to taste


Cut the ash gourd into cubes after removing the skin.
Soak the beans overnight. Pressure cook the next day for 2-3 minutes after the whistle. The cooking time will vary based on how long they have been soaked. SO adjust accordingly.
Add chopped ash gourd, salt and slit green chillies. Cook with a little water. When the pumpkin and the beans are completely cooked, pour hot oil tempered with curry leaves into it. Add the coconut milk and simmer(not boil) for 3–4 minutes. Serve with rice.


FH said...

Happy Vishu to you Shaheen,didn't know about Vishu until two days ago!:) Enjoy.

Thanks for two traditional dishes,yummy!!

Sumitha said...

Shaheen endeyum Vishu Ashamsakal!

Bharathy said...

Happy Vishu.We have a double treat here, as the same day marks the beginning of Tamil calendaras well....Tamil New Year.You have posted the APT recipes!!

Priya Bhaskaran said...

Shaheen Happy Vishu:) I skipped Olan this time, couldn't make everything though I got the veggies- I made avial the same way you did...I guess some recipes are universal:)

indosungod said...

Happy Vishu Shaheen!

Sia said...

happy vishu shaheen... we too celebrate vishu in mangalore by cooking the fresh produce of the year.

Bong Mom said...

Happy Vishu to you and your family Shaheen
And thanks for the dishes no groaning here, really want to know, promise ;-)

BTW did finally make it to Longwood, beautiful flowers

Shah cooks said...

Thanks Asha and hope u will try the dishes.

Sumita, happy vishu to u too.. sadya adicho?

Bharathy, happy tamil new year!

Priya, Where are you from in kerala?

Indo, thanks a lot!isin't it ur new year too?

sia, i didn't u are a manglorean! fresh produce is a wonderful way to celebrate the new year. isin't it?

sandeepa, groans apart, glad u liked it. hoping u will try it soon. how was the weather in long wood? when did u go? its been so cold here.

Surya Hith said...

Vishu Ashamsakal,Shaheen.I enjoyed a heavy lunch today with lots of dishes.So feeling sleepy...Your Avial and olan looks great.

TNL said...

Happy Vishu to you and family...
You know, I have yet to try Avial...I have heard SO much about this famous dish, but never attempted it, so, thanks for an easy recipe..I appreciate it!


Mandira said...

Happy Vishu to you and your family Shaheen, It was the same here, first day of the Bengali new year -and it was so greay and cold. I'm so ready for summer!

Maneka Nirmal said...

happy vishu dear..

Anonymous said...

Happy Vishu to you too Shaheen! I made a small vishu feast too. This time I made typical aviyal made in South Kerala households and that is without yogurt. I love aviyal and mostly I add yogurt.

I know what you mean about gloomy April. My garden has flowers, I also celebrated Vishu (welcoming spring) still there is no sign of sunny days. Winter or in my case rainy season is too long.

bee said...

shaheen, that olan is to die for. it's one of my favs. will def. try it.

Revathi said...

Happy Vishu Shaheen !

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the avial recipe...I tried it once and it dint taste like the way my mom makes (am a tamilian)..so really appreciate posting your recipe

Shah cooks said...

surya, feeling sleepy! i bet that was one heavy meal.enjoy.

trupti, i think u will like as it is a great mixed vegetable dish, similar to ur undiyo.

mandira, summer abhi door nahin.

maneka, same to u. why no post recently?

biby, thanks alot. do keep visiting.

Reena,now, i am looking forward to ur avial recipe as i like that too.
april showers are supposed to bring may flowers!

Bee, do try it.. ucan even add pumpkin to it.

Revathi, thanks a lot.will mail u.

Kalpana, glad that somebody doesn't know how to make avial. i thot it was such a stale post.

Roopa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roopa said...

hi Shaheen
Happy vishu to you!
The recipes look delicious, i too often make adapted from my mallu friends

Viji said...

Happy vishu Shaheen and may this new year brings you more joy and happiness. Avial looks great. Viji

Bharathy said...

BTW you are gonna enter 6 digits number in ur hitlist.Any treat for us,we have to celebrate when it turns a LAKH..3 cheers to you and Malabar spices.

Bong Mom said...

Check my post on dining hall. I saw on of your pics in IFoodTV. check it at DH and verify

Anonymous said...

Wish you a happy Vishu Shaheen. Loved your traditional dishes. I am thinking to cook a detailed Kerala meal sometime. I have never tasted one :(

Anonymous said...

Hi Shaheen:
I tried the olan and it came out very good. Though I have eaten this for Onasadya I didn't know the name of this dish. Thank you for the recipe.

Sangu said...

Hey Shaheen thanks a lot for your avial recipe, i tried your recipe and it was very tasty, my hubby liked that. Anyway pl keep giving recipes like this.

sajith90 said...

Happy Vishu

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abraham said...

hi this looks good.
please visit my blog as well