Aviyal is a dish that has a unique place in a typical South Indian cuisine. Aviyal is considered an essential part of the sadya. Vegetables commonly used in aviyal are yam, plantain, pumpkin, carrots, beans and brinjal. This dish can be made into a gravy and eaten with rice or be made into a semi-solid side dish. The word "aviyal" is also used to denote an assortment or a mixture—this sense being derived from the way the dish is made.
It is supposed to have been invented by Bhima (one of the Pandava brothers) during his agnaathavaasa. According to the legend, Ballav (Bheem's name during this time) when he assumed his duties as the cook in the kitchen of Virata, did not know how to cook. One of the first things he did was to chop up many different vegetables, boil them together and top the dish with grated coconut
- Grind coconut with green chilies and cumin seeds in paste and keep it aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a thick bottom vessel, add vegetables and cook it on a low flame without adding water.
- When the vegetables are cooked, add turmeric powder, salt and mix well.
- Put bananas and mango pieces in cooked vegetables and cover the vessel.
- When steam comes out, add the coconut paste and stir well.
- Remove from fire and garnish it with curry leaves.