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Kerala Aviyal

Kerala-Style Aviyal (Onam Sadhya Recipe)

Onam Sadhya is a plant-based lover’s dream and this Kerala-Style Aviyal is no exception. Not familiar with what Onam is? It is a yearly harvest festival in Kerala that primarily Hindus celebrate, however, those of all religious backgrounds will recognize it. The celebration date is based on the Malayalam calendar. It is celebrated in the month of Chingam which ends up being around August or September each year. The most notable part of Onam is the “sadhya” or “the feast.”

Aviyal is a staple South Indian dish that you can make with a variety of native vegetables. It’s something common to make during Onam Sadhya. The dish typically includes green plantains, pumpkin, squash, cucumber, yams, beans, and moringa. The variety I am using in this recipe features some of the most common veggies used.

Classic South Indian dishes such as Aviyal can sometimes come off as intimidating. Maybe it’s the fear of messing up a dish that is so commonly enjoyed? Or maybe it’s the uncertainty of what vegetables to get and use in dishes like this. Don’t worry, though, I break down this Onam recipe so that it is very simple and easy to recreate!

Like South Indian food? You might also like making my recipe for Moru Curry (the yellow one) or Sambar (a south indian vegetable stew)! 

If you decide to make this Onam recipe, tag me @thefamiliarkitchen on social media. I’d LOVE to see how it turns out for you!

Kerala Aviyal Vegetables

Kerala Aviyal

Kerala-Style Aviyal

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Aviyal, Kerala, Onam, Plant-based, Sadhya, Vegan, vegetarian


  • Coconut Oil, 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
  • Water, 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric, 1/2 tsp
  • Salt, 2-3 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, 2 sprigs (10-15 leaves)
  • Tamarind Paste, 1/2 tbsp
  • Yogurt, 1/4 cup

The Paste

  • Grated Coconut, 2 cups
  • Shallots, 3, quartered
  • Green Chili Peppers, 2, diced
  • Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Water, 1/4 cup

The Veggies

  • Green Plantain, 1, cut lengthwise into 2” strips
  • Elephant Yam (Chena/Suran), ½ cup, cut lengthwise into 2” strips
  • Carrots, 1, cut lengthwise into 2” strips 
  • Drumsticks/Moringa, 3, 2" pieces
  • White or Yellow Pumpkin (Mathanga) or Butternut Squash, ½ cup, cut lengthwise into 2” strips
  • Yellow Cucumber (Vellarikka), ½ cup, cut lengthwise into 2” strips, seeds removed
  • Snake Gourd (Padavalanga), ½ cup, cut lengthwise into 2” strips, seeds removed


Make the paste. 

  • In a small blender, add all the paste ingredients and grind together until it’s evenly combined. Add 1-2 tbsp of water if needed to help the paste grind together. Set aside.

Cook the veggies.

  • In a deep skillet on medium high heat, add in 1 tbsp of coconut oil. 
    Once the oil is hot, add in the veggies along with a ½ cup water, turmeric, salt, and curry leaves. Cook covered on medium low heat for 2-3 minutes until the veggies are about halfway cooked.

Mix in the paste, tamarind, yogurt.

  • Add the coconut and tamarind then mix in with the veggies being careful not to break them up. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes just until the veggies are tender then remove from heat.
    When it is cool, add the whipped yogurt and check for salt. Add the last 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil on top and mix evenly. Done!

Kerala Aviyal

When I was a kid, one of the first things my mom taught me how to make was a hot cup of chaya (homestyle tea). It was like a rite of passage…and an invitation to her colorful, spice-filled kitchen. The most exciting part back then was daringly pouring the steamy, caramel-colored goodness from one steel cup to another so I could cool it down and get that classic, frothy texture to sit atop the tea. It’s a recollection of my childhood every time I do it. That same magical feeling still shines through my recipes, both new and old. There’s just nothing like creating a dish so full of evocative flavor and love. It’s what gives me joy and the inspiration to share this experience with you every day! It’s something I hope offers you adventure, a little piece of home, and maybe even something a little familiar.

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