Saturday, 23 April 2016

Theeyal | Tamarind gravy with friend coconut

Theeyal is a typical Kerala Gravy dish which I feel is very similar to Tamil Nadu's Puli kozhambu.
This gravy goes very well with rice. In some parts of kerala I have seen this dish also served in sadhyas.

The making of Theeyal requires a fine balancing of flavours. When I think of Theeyal, the first thing that comes to my mind is the flavour of roasted coconut and tanginess from tamarind. Both flavours should go hand in hand and not overpowering the other.

Theeyal can be made with lots of veggies like Paavakai / Kaipakya theeyal (bitterguard), vedakka theeyal (okra), vazhdhanangya theeyal (brinjal) etc. My favourite is ulli theeyal made with shallots and I am presenting the same here.


Small onion / shallots - 250 grams (sliced)
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - size of a gooseberry
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - one spring
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp


  • Soak tamarind in ¼ cup of warm water and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add coconut. Fry the coconut till it turns a darker shade of brown. Make sure you stir it continuously. 
  • Once it has reached dark brown, switch off fire and add all masala powders (chilli, coriander & turmeric). Keep stirring for a min. The heat from the coconut is enough to fry these powders.
  • Grind the coconut without water to a smooth paste. The oil from coconut will be released while grinding and the paste will be very mushy/oily.
  • Heat oil in a kadai. Once the oil is hot add mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once the mustard splutters add the sliced onions and curry leaves.
  • Cook till the onion begins to brown. Make a paste out of the soaked tamarind. Add the tamarind pulp and salt to the onions. Let this cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground coconut paste and mix well. Let the whole mixture cook for 5 minutes.

Theeyal is ready!! Serve with hot rice and papads!!


  • 1 red chilly can also be added for the tadka.
  • The curry tends to thicken as it rests, so adjust the qty of water accordingly. Curry keeps well in fridge for 3-4 days.

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  1. I am sure this gravy tastes awesome...good one..

  2. Lipsmacking here, theeyal looks alluring, just need some rice to enjoy thoroughly this aromatic gravy.

  3. Mouthwatering gravy. It must taste great with rice.

  4. Sounds like a rich and flavorful gravy even though it is a simple preparation,

  5. Looks like a flavorful and delicious gravy. Yummy:)

  6. drooling..the gravy sounds too good..tangy would be perfect with rice.

  7. Finger licking tangy and delicious ulli theeyal..

  8. My favorite and love how you named the recipe.. friend coconut. lol

  9. This sounds so delicious. We usually don't use coconut in puli kulambu. But the addition would surely take it to another level..

  10. Same pinch, I made Ulli theeyal for the letter U. I loved the flavor of roasted coconut in this dish. Your dish looks so yummy!!

  11. That looks like a really flavorful dish. Amazing pick for T!!

  12. Very flavorful and delicious gravy.