Ulli Theeyal

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Servings: 3 -4
Author: Maria Jose Martin
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  • 25 - 30 Small onion / Pearl onion sliced
  • 1 cup Grated coconut
  • 1.5 - 2 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • a pinch Fenugreek seeds 3-4 seeds
  • size of a gooseberry Tamarind refer notes
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Salt
  • Curry leaves
  • Coconut oil


  • 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. Remove it from fire and add all masala powders (chilli, coriander & turmeric). Bring back to fire and cook for a min. Remove from fire and let it cool completely.
  • Grind the coconut without water to a smooth paste. The oil from coconut will be released while grinding and the paste will be liquidy.
  • Soak tamarind in 1/4 cup of warm water and keep aside.
  • Heat oil and add the sliced onion and curry leaves. Cook till the onion begins to brown. Add coconut paste, soaked tamarind and salt. Mix well. Add half cup hot water. Bring it to boil. Reduce flame to lowest and cook for 4-5 mins. Remove from fire.
  • Heat oil in a pan and crackle mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Add this to theeyal. Serve with rice.


The qty of tamarind varies depending on its strength. Do a taste test of tamarind first and add accordingly. Also, tamarind can be salty at times, so be careful while adding salt to the curry.
Note that the curry tends to thicken as it rests, so adjust the qty of water accordingly. Curry keeps well in fridge for 3-4 days.