Kerala style Ulli Theeyal or small/pearl onions cooked in roasted coconut gravy…
Theeyal is a Kerala dish, grated coconut is roasted till golden brown and seasoned with aromatic spices, pureed till smooth. Different kinds of ingredients can be used for making Theeyal: okra, eggplant or brinjal, small onions, mixed veggies, shrimp etc. This time, I made Theeyal with small or pearl onions. This makes a perfect vegetarian gravy based dish that can be served with rice, chapati, appam, orotti etc.
Cooking with Thas
- Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
- Grated coconut- 1 cup
- Curry leaves- 1 sprig
- Dried red chilies- 3
- Chili powder- 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
- Coriander powder- 2 tsp
- Ground black pepper- ½ tsp
- Water- 1½ cups
- Oil- 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
- Dried red chilies- 2
- Curry leaves- 1 sprig
- Fenugreek seeds- ½ tsp
- Small onions, halved- 15
- Salt- ¾ tsp
- Tamarind, freshly squeezed- ½ cup ( 2 inch slice soaked in ½ cup lukewarm water for 5 mins)
- Place a non-stick cooking pan over medium heat, add oil and add grated coconut, dried chilies and curry leaves to it.
- Stir fry the coconut frequently till it turns light brown in color.
- Don’t leave it unattended as the coconut will burn pretty fast, so keep stirring it.
- After the coconut has turned light brown, add chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and black pepper powder. Stir fry for a minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat, let the coconut cool down.
- In a blender, puree the roasted coconut along with 1½ cups water to a smooth paste, keep aside.
- Soak 2 inch slice fresh tamarind in ½ cup lukewarm water for 5 mins. Squeeze the tamarind in water to extract the juice, strain the tamarind extract and discard the skin. Keep aside.
- Heat a pan over medium heat, add coconut oil and let it turn hot.
- Add mustard seeds, let it splutter.
- Add dry red chilies and curry leaves, saute for a few seconds.
- Add fenugreek seeds, saute for 2 seconds.
- Add small onions, saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the ground coconut mixture. Combine well and cook covered till small onions turn soft.
- Add salt to taste.
- Add the tamarind extract, combine well and cook for a few more minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and keep covered for sometime.
- This can be served along with rice, chapati, appam, orotti etc.
- Leftover Theeyal can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days.