After the breakfast debacle (The Intricacies and Pitfalls of Indian Cooking and Mr P! , http://avatarofmrbean.com/2012/03/26/the-intricacies-and-pitfalls-of-indian-cooking-and-mr-p/), do you think that G would have stayed for lunch if invited? Guess what? He did! He understood that Mr P was feeling a bit downhearted and so he agreed to give him another chance to prove his culinary skills. There are some people who would take any amount of beating and would still turn the other cheek because of a soft heart. G belongs to this rare, endangered species of ‘softies’ that is on a path of accelerated extinction. G is also a vegetarian.
Mr P decided to cook rice and make daal, pappad and Aviyal to go with it. Aviyal is made from finger sized pieces of all the vegetables such as cucumber, snake gourd, eggplant, green chillies, long beans, carrots, yams, green bananas and drum sticks (of course not drumsticks that are chicken legs, but long fruits of Moringa plants).
These vegetable pieces are washed well and cooked in a little volume of water with tamarind and salt to taste. Turmeric and red chilli powder or pastes are also added. Ground coconut and cumin and curry leaves are added towards the end.
For Mr P, the most difficult part in this whole recipe was cutting the vegetables to size. “The vegetables are to be finger sized. “They cannot be cubes or any other shapes because that is one thing that distinguishes Aviyal from other dishes,” Mr P had learned. While cutting them into finger shaped pieces, he was worried he would cut his fingers as well. However, since he started wearing finger gloves on all his fingers while slicing vegetables, he had become more confident.
So while G left to do a little shopping, Mr P stayed home and cooked the meal. Something happened to the daal which is matter for my next post. “Let’s forget the daal. Yoghurt would serve equally well and I’ll also serve a little bit of mango pickle”, decided Mr P. When G came back and they sat down for lunch, he had the meal neatly served on the dining table minus the daal.
Two spoons of food later, G suddenly choked and turned red. He was staring at his bowl of Aviyal.
“ You do know that I am strictly vegetarian, don’t you Mr P?” he asked.
“Sure, I do,” said Mr P.
“And this Aviyal….. Are you sure it is vegetarian?” asked G slowly moving the vegetables around in the bowl.
Mr P looked at G’s bowl of Aviyal. There, partly covered by the gravy and vegetables was something that looked like a finger! Mr P surreptitiously checked whether all his fingers were intact. Assured, that the strange THING in the Aviyal was certainly not one of HIS body parts, Mr P investigated further. It was bent at an angle that reminded Mr P of the celebrity actress’s leg at the last Oscars that had jutted out through the dress slit, sending the whole world a-Twittering and starting an account-Angelina Jolie’s Leg @AngiesRightLeg.
Mr P probed further. Amidst the vegetables, it looked like an alien finger. “Probably from Mars” thought Mr P. “But then, the THING was not red coloured and isn’t Mars supposed to be the red planet?”
Mustering all his courage Mr P pulled the THING out.
Lo and behold! It was the one finger glove that was missing when he had put them away after washing the vegetables!
- Avial/Aviyal (roshnianish.wordpress.com)
- Dalitoy ( Konkani style dal tadka ) (kirticookingclass.wordpress.com)
- Six ways to save money with fresh produce (csmonitor.com)
- Back to Basics: How to Cook Vegetables (markbittman.com)
- Spagetti Squash with Garden Vegetables (cooklandia.wordpress.com)
- The Intricacies and Pitfalls of Indian Cooking and Mr P! (avatarofmrbean.com)
- Organic Vegetables Salad at Pissenlit in Shizuoka City! (shizuokagourmet.com)