Theeyal literally means burnt dish and gets the name because the primary ingredient in it is the ground mixture of roasted (close to being burnt) coconut with some great spices. The gravy is typically dark brown and has a dominant tangy taste with a hint of sweetness. This dish is very popular in Kerala and is made either with Ladies finger or Pearl Onions. We also hear that there is another popular version of this gravy with Prawns and drumsticks which we shall soon try and give verdict to.
Prep Time: 15 - 20 mins
Ladies Finger: 8- 10 (cut )
Grated Coconut: 1/4 cup
Green chillies: 2
Chilli powder: 1-2 teaspoons
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Jeera powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Tamarind pulp: 1 tablespoon
Water: 1/3 cup or less
Jaggery (optional): 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek powder: a pinch
Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Dried Red chillies: 2
Onions(finely chopped): 1 tablespoon
Curry leaves: few
* You could also replace the Ladies Finger with pearl onions to make the Ulli Theeyal.
In a pan, dry roast the grated coconut, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and jeera powder until brown and aromatic. Turn off the gas and keep aside.
Dissolve the tamarind pulp in 1/4 cup water and keep aside. Grind this roasted coconut with some of the tamarind water to make a smooth paste.
Chop the ladies finger. Heat little oil in a pan. Saute the ladies finger with a little salt. When 1/2 done, pour the ground paste and the remaining tamarind pulp and water. Cover and cook. Let everything come to good boil. Add the optional jaggery and fenugreek powder. Check for the salt and spice.
In a small pan, heat little more oil for the seasoning. Splutter the mustard seeds. Add dried red chillies, curry leaves and the finely chopped onions. Fry until the onions turn golden brown and pour this seasoning over the gravy.