Coconut Indian Kerala Moringa Vegetarian

Moringa-Drumsticks Theeyal- Cooked With Ground Roasted Coconut | Kerala Recipe

Theeyal is a traditional Kerala dish. It’s a flavorful and aromatic thick curry made using roasted coconut and spices, resulting in a rich and deep flavor.

Theeyal is typically prepared with vegetables like small or pearl onions, bitter gourd (pavakka), eggplant (brinjal), and drumsticks (moringa). For the non-vegetarian version, theeyal can also be made with prawns or shrimp.

The smoky & coconutty taste of the roasted coconut along with the moringa & the tanginess from the tamarind makes this a delightful curry that will surely excite your tastebuds.

Moringa-Drumsticks Theeyal- Cooked With Ground Coconut | Kerala Recipe
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
For roasting
  • Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
  • Grated coconut- 1 cup
  • Curry leaves- 8 leaves
  • Kashmiri chili powder- 2 tsp (for more heat add regular hot chili powder)
  • Turmeric powder- ⅛ tsp
  • Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
For making curry
  • Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves- 8 leaves
  • Green chilies, chopped- 2
  • Shallots or small onions- 4 large shallots halved or 8 small/pearl onions
  • Moringa or drumsticks- 15, cut into 3-inch slice
  • Water- ½ cup
  • Tamarind extract- ½ cup (2-inch slice fresh tamarind soaked in ½ cup lukewarm water)
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
  1. First, soak 2-inch slice fresh tamarind in ½ cup lukewarm water for 5 minutes, after that squeeze the tamarind in water, strain the juice & discard the skin.
  2. Place a large pan over medium heat, add oil.
  3. Add grated coconut & curry leaves, saute till the coconut turns golden brown in color.
  4. Keep stirring the coconut otherwise the coconut will burn.
  5. After the coconut turns brown, lower the heat & add Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric powder & coriander powder, combine well.
  6. If you want this curry to be very spicy, add regular hot chili powder.
  7. Take the pan off the heat & let the roasted coconut cool down completely.
  8. Add the roasted coconut to a blender along with ½ cup water & grind to a smooth paste.
  9. Place a clay pan or saucepan over medium heat.
  10. Add coconut oil, let turn hot.
  11. Add mustard seeds, let splutter.
  12. Add curry leaves & green chilies, saute for a minute.
  13. Add shallots, saute for a minute.
  14. I've added 4 large shallots halved, if you have small or pearl onions add the whole small/pearl onions.
  15. Saute for a minute.
  16. Add the moringa or drumsticks, combine well.
  17. I've added frozen moringa (available in Indian stores), cut into 3-inch slices, rinse the moringa in water.
  18. Add the ground coconut, combine well.
  19. Rinse the blender jar with ½ cup water, add that to the pan.
  20. Add the tamarind extract, ½ cup, combine well.
  21. Season with 1 to 1½ tsp salt.
  22. Cook covered for a few minutes till the moringa has almost cooked.
  23. Open the lid, cook uncovered for 5 minutes till the gravy thickens.
  24. Theeyal is a thick curry.
  25. Take the pan off the heat & cook covered for a few minutes.
  26. In Kerala, this curry is enjoyed with matta rice for lunch, also goes well with chapati & appam.
  27. Instead of moringa: okra or lady's finger, eggplant or brinjal, just small/pearl onions (ulli theeyal), or prawns/shrimp can be added.



Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...