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Recipe: Acorn Squash & Broad Beans Aviyal

A Hindu calendar includes several festivals throughout the year. Most include one or more vegetarian meals cooked with exacting restrictions – for instance, the main meals made for Ganesh Chaturthi are those made without onions or garlic, do not include tomatoes, and are not cooked on a griddle. My father’s paternal heritage meant we belonged to the priest families, and despite his background, food made for religious observances was strictly along these exacting guidelines. Think Hindu Kosher. On a practical end, it forces one to simplify. But being a feast, one feels inclined to be creative – hence the many decadent desserts and sweets, that are most often made with dairy, sugar, nuts, and fruits.

A simple addition to many of our religious meals is an Aviyal.

Aviyal is a classic South Indian preparation that is heavy in fresh coconut and curry leaves. Typically made with freshly extracted coconut milk, it is fine to use a canned coconut milk (Thai section of your grocery store, not the bottled version. I used grated fresh coconut - makes for very little sauce or gravy in the finished dish.

Aviyal not only makes my South Indian husband extremely happy; this recipe is very easy to make. I’ve used it with garnet sweet potatoes, with green beans and carrots and so many more veggies – whatever I have on hand, provided there are some beans in here (I like beans in this dish, plus they do very well). Pair it with a mound of freshly made steaming rice if you want a light meal, or with dosas if you are craving something a little more robust.

Recipe: Acorn Squash & Broad Beans Aviyal

Ingredients: “Chutney”

1 cup cilantro leaves

½ cup freshly grated coconut or ½ cup coconut milk

½ tsp grated fresh ginger

¼ cup water, if needed

Ingredients: Aviyal

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp ginger paste

¼ tsp chopped jalapenos, optional

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper powder, optional but recommended

1 cup diced acorn squash

1 cup broad beans (pods separated and broken into ½” bits)

Prepared coconut-cilantro chutney

Salt, to taste

Method: “Coconut Cilantro Chutney”

Blend the cilantro, grated fresh coconut, and ginger into as fine a paste as possible. Add ¼ cup of water if using fresh coconut. Use immediately.

Method: “Coconut Cilantro Chutney”

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep saucepan on high.

  2. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds, and stir until they sizzle and pop.

  3. Add ginger paste, curry leaves and jalapenos if using, and cook for 1 minute.

  4. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the powdered spices: turmeric and cayenne pepper if using. Keep stirring to ensure that the spices do not burn or stick to the pot.

  5. Add the vegetables: acorn squash and broad beans and mix to ensure they are covered in spices.

  6. Next, stir in the coconut chutney.

  7. Reduce the heat to low, add salt.

  8. Cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

  9. Serve hot.



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Nandita Godbole
Once: botanist & landscape architect.
Now: personal chef, author, an artist, graphic designer, blogger, poet & potter!
Always: dreamer.

Loves fresh brewed chai, the crisp salty ocean breeze, watching monsoon rains & walking barefoot through cold mountain streams. 
Believes in the strength, positivity of the human spirit. Is spiritual but not a fanatic. 
Mom of one. Two, if she counts her husband.

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