Tamarind-laced vegetables in coconut sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

The wonderful hot, creamy and sour flavours in this vegetarian main course, Avial, make it very popular in southern India, where it is normally served with rice. Any combination of vegetables - peas, beans, cauliflower and other green vegetables - works very well.


  • 125 g/oz green beans, cut into 2.5cm/1in lengths
  • 200 g/7 oz carrots, cut into 1cm/½in thick circles
  • 225 g/8 oz potatoes, cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
  • 1 small aubergine (eggplant), quartered lengthways and cut into 2.5cm/1in pieces
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 200 g/7 oz cauliflower, divided into 1cm/½in florets
  • 10 ml/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 50 g/2 oz/ cup desiccated (dry unsweetened shredded) coconut
  • 2–3 fresh green chillies, chopped
  • 200 ml/7fl oz/¾ cup buttermilk
  • 10 ml/2 tbsp tamarind or lemon juice
  • 10 ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2–3 whole dried red chillies
  • 6–8 curry leaves
  • 1.25 ml/¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • Plain Boiled Rice, to serve


  1. Put the green beans, carrots, potatoes and aubergine into a large pan and add 350 ml/12fl oz/ cups hot water. Add the turmeric and salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for 5–6 minutes, then add the cauliflower. Cover.

  2. Cook for 5 minutes, until everything apart from the aubergine is tender but firm.

  3. Meanwhile, heat a small, heavy pan over a medium heat. Dry-roast the cumin seeds for 30–40 seconds. Remove from the heat and dry-roast the coconut and green chillies until the coconut is lightly browned.

  4. Leave to cool slightly, then grind in a coffee grinder or blender until fine-textured.

  5. Add the ground roasted ingredients, buttermilk and tamarind or lemon juice to the vegetables. Cook gently for 4–5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

  6. Heat the oil in a small pan over a medium heat. When it is hot, but not smoking, add the black mustard seeds, followed by the cumin seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida.

  7. Cook for 3–4 minutes, until the chillies are blackened, then pour the entire contents of the pan over the vegetables. Stir in the chopped coriander and remove the pan from the heat. Let the curry stand, covered, for 5–6 minutes. Serve with Plain Boiled Rice.

Per portion Energy 252kcal/1050kJ; Protein 7.55g; Carbohydrate 22.5g, of which sugars 10.7g; Fat 15.5g, of which saturates 7.7g; Cholesterol 1.75mg; Calcium 119mg; Fibre 6.1g; Sodium 57mg.