Avial (Malayalam: wikt:അവിയല്‍, pronounced [aʋijal]) is an Indian dish with origins in the Kerala region, although it is equally popular in Tamil Nadu and Udupi.[1] It is a thick mixture of 13 vegetables commonly found in the western ghats and coconut, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. Avial is considered an essential part of the Main meal (Oonu in Malayalam).[2]

Alternative namesഅവിയല്‍
Place of originIndia
Region or stateSouthern India
Associated national cuisineIndian
Main ingredientsVegetables, Coconut, Curd

Central Travancore has a slightly different variety of avial with its thin gravy whereas the classical avial is thick.


Generally, only crisp vegetables are used in avial. Vegetables commonly used in avial are elephant foot yam, plantain, ash pumpkin, carrots, beans, egg plants, cucumber, drum stick pods, snake gourd and Broad Bean, etc. are the recent introduction, while the north Kerala Avial includes bitter gourd also and in the Kollam region of Kerala tomato is added among other vegetables. Some people prefer to skip curd or substitute it with raw mango or tamarind pulp. This dish can be made into a gravy or be made into a semi-solid side dish. It is generally eaten with rice. The word "avial" is also used to denote 'boiled' or 'cooked in water' — this sense being derived from the way the dish is made.


It is believed to have been invented by Bhima during their exile. According to the legend, when Ballava (Bhima's name during this time) assumed his duties as the cook in the kitchen of Virata, he 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. [3][4] There are mythological variations. Bheema is said to have prepared Avial, when there were unexpected guests for King Virata and he needed to serve meals for them. There were no sufficient vegetables to cook any single recipe for a side dish, so Bheema used whatever available vegetables to make a new dish, which came to be known as Avial.

Another narrative version relates to the attempt made by Kauravas to kill Bhima. After poisoning Bhima, Kauravas tied Bhima and threw him to water. Kauravas also communicated that they saw Bhima drowning in water. With the completion of the days of mourning, a funeral feast was planned and preparation were underway. Unexpectedly, Bhima emerged from the water, rescued by the Nagas. With this, preparations for the feast was cancelled. However, Bhima was unhappy with this decision, and decided to mix all of the vegetables to prepare a new dish, that later became popular as Avial. Another myth that in the kingdom of Travancore in Kerala there was a great fest held by the king. Every one in the kingdom came to eat so there was a shortage of curry to be served. But in the kitchen also stocks were less so when the king visited the kitchen he found that a lot of vegetables were wasted when they were peeled. The king ordered the cook to make a curry with this along with some other ingredients so Avial was born. The king also ordered it to be served as the first item. Hence Avial is the first to be served on a Sadhya. [5][6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Avial". www.tasteatlas.com. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  2. ^ Katz, Solomon H.; Weaver, William Woys (2003). Encyclopedia of Food and Culture: Food production to Nuts. 2. Scribner. ISBN 9780684805665. Certain vegetable specialities, although eaten by all Keralites, have special Nair associations. Aviyal is a mixture of green bananas, drumsticks, various beans, and green cashews (distinct to Nair cuisine), cooked with ground coconut"
  3. ^ "Avial". recipes.keralaglobal.com. Archived from the original on 23 November 2003. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  4. ^ Gupta, Siddhartha. "Avial,Recipe of Avial,Avial Recipe". www.onamfestival.org. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Bhima and the Story of Avial – Origin of Vegetable Dish Aviyal". www.hindu-blog.com. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Mahabharat Live Blog - The Isha Blog". 11 February 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Avial, The Dish Some Say Was Invented By One Of The Pandavas". food.ndtv.com. Retrieved 14 August 2020.

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