Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ulli Theeyal Recipe-Kerala Style-Ulli Theeyal with Thengai Sadam

Theeyal is a typical Kerala dish very similar to the South Indian kuzhambu. Ulli theeyal is prepared with pearl onion. It goes well with rice. In some parts of Kerala, theeyal is included in the traditional sadya menu. (source wiki). It can be prepared with bitter gourd, brinjal, okra. I personally love ulli theeyal with coconut rice. Every time I prepare coconut rice, the side dish is usually ulli theeyal and pappadam.  Today we will learn how to prepare ulli theeyal following this easy recipe with step wise pictures.

Ulli Theeyal
Thengai sadam and Ulli theeyal 

Ulli Theeyal Recipe-Kerala Style

Ulli Theeyal-Kerala Style

 Prep Time : 15 mins
 Cook Time : 20 mins 
 Recipe CategorySide dish
 Recipe CuisineKerala

   Ingredients needed

   Oil -3 tbsp
   Mustard seeds -1 tsp
   Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
   Fenugreek seeds-1/4 tsp
   Red Chillies -2
   Pearl onions-3/4 cup
   Garlic cloves -5
   Curry leaves - few
   Tamarind -small gooseberry sized ball

   Spice Powder

   Turmeric powder -1/4 tsp
   Coriander powder -2 tsp
   Cumin powder -1 tsp
   Red chilli powder -1 1/2 tsp
   Salt needed

   Fry and grind

   Oil -2 tsp
   Fenugreek seeds (uluva) -1/4 tsp
   Cumin seeds (jeeragam)-1 tsp
   Whole black pepper (Kurumulaku) -1 tsp
   Coriander seeds (malli) -2 tsp
   Grated coconut -1/3 cup

   For garnishing

   Finely chopped coriander leaves


Heat a tsp of oil, fry fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, whole black pepper and coriander seeds until you get a nice aroma. Remove from kadai/pan.

preparations for Ulli Theeyal

In the same pan, fry coconut until golden brown stirring continuously over low flame. Now grind both together to a smooth paste adding little water and keep it ready.

Peel shallots/pearl onions. I know peeling pearl onions is a time consuming work. Tips to make it easier - trim the head (root side) and tail of the onion and soak it in cold water for 15-20 minutes. The skin will come off easily if you peel it after that. Peel shallots and keep it ready. If it is too big, cut it into 2-3 pieces.

Soak tamarind in hot water and extract 2 1/2 cup of tamarind juice, discard the pulp.


Heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds, jeera seeds, when it sizzles, add fenugreek seeds, red chillies, curry leaves, pearl onions and garlic.

Saute nicely on medium flame until it turns transparent.

Add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and salt needed. Saute for a few minutes.

sauteing pearl onions

Add the ground paste and saute for a further 2-3 minutes.

how to make ulli theeyal

Add tamarind water and boil until it thickens and oil separates.

Ulli theeyal recipe

Serve with plain hot steamed rice or coconut rice.

Note -Use good quality coconut oil for authentic Kerala taste. I used virgin coconut oil for this recipe. You can  Buy KLF Nirmal Virgin Coconut Oil from

Do not miss my lovely collections of Onam Sadya Recipes.

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  1. Looks so good. I was looking for this recipe for a long time. Thanks for sharing .

  2. Wow! Tempting! Gonna cook tomorrow Padhu.

  3. Is your kadhai a clay one? Looks gorgeous.

    1. Yes, my mother got it for me. It is great for making all types of kuzhambu.

  4. The picture shows theyal in a different colour but
    Preparation pics brings another color

    1. Both are the same. One was taken in the kitchen where there is not much lighting. The main picture was taken near a window where there is natural sunlight.

  5. Thanks for the recipe,all ur recipes are simple n good.U r really doing a good job.

  6. You are sooooooooo talented Padhu!! love your recipes

  7. Absolutly Great.
    Perfect taste.
    Precise mixing ratios.

    Keep it up.


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