Grate a coconut.
Or defrost frozen shredded coconut. You can find these at all Indian grocery stores.
Gather all of your ingredients for the coconut mixture. I don't remove the garlic or ginger peel. I just give it a good wash and throw them in the blender but feel free to peel if you prefer.
Blend everything to a coarse paste and set aside.
Now it's time to prep the veggies and layer them. Basically you want to add the veggies that take the longest to cook toward the bottom (closer to the heat source) and the veggies that cook faster including any frozen veggies you might add towards the top (farther away from the heat source). Let's start with carrots.
I like the bottom layer to be carrots because they take a bit of time to cook and also in case the heat is too much or the water completely evaporates, they just come out wonderfully caramelized instead of being burned.
I don't peel the plantains because the skin is quite nutritious and I like the texture.
Layer over the carrots.
You can get frozen green mangos if you can't find green ones.
I couldn't find fresh elephant yams so I am using frozen.
They will go on top because they are frozen otherwise they would have gone towards the bottom because they take longer to cook. You can add some raw cashews at this point but bear in mind that the avial will spoil a lot faster if you add them. If you plan to serve immediately, don't anticipate having leftovers and love cashews, go ahead and throw them in.
Small pods of garlic. If they are large just slice them lengthwise
I add a decent amount of garlic because for one I think they are delicious but more importantly because they are natural preservatives.
When you are done layering, add turmeric, red chili powder, salt, green chilis, and curry leaves. Then drizzle about 1/2 a cup of water on top. Reduce the amount of water if you are using more frozen veggies.
Add the coarsely blended coconut mixture on top.
Followed by grated coconuts. Now cover with a lid and place it on high heat until you see a steady stream of steam seeping out from underneath the lid. You will also be able to smell all the deliciousness cooking in the pot. At this point turn off the heat and let it just sit and cook in the steam for about 10 mins.
Once it's done resting, open up the lid and mix everything together along with some unrefined coconut oil and fresh curry leaves.