Ulli Theeyal Recipe | Shallots Theeyal Recipe | Startup Cooking


ulli theeyal

Ulli Theeyal - Theeyal originated from the state of Kerala in South India. The word 'ulli' in Malayalam refers to small onions / shallots / sambar onion. Theeyal means burnt dish, referring to roasted coconut used as the main ingredient and is usually dark brown in color, flavored with tamarind. It goes well with hot steamed rice and any vegetable side dish.

Theeyal is very versatile and can be prepared with pearl onion, bitter gourd, brinjal, okra, yam or sometimes with mixed vegetables or even with sea foods. In some parts of Kerala, theeyal is included in a traditional sadya menu. There are several versions and changes made from region to region in Kerala, but this is the way I make it and enjoy it! Follow my step by step photo recipe to make Ulli Theeyal. If you like this recipe share it, tweet it and pin it. Please do try and post your comments.

kerala recipes,

ulli theeyal


Coarse : Lunch 

Cuisine : Kerala

Author : Jayashree Karthik

Prep Time : 15 min

Cook Time : 20 min

Total Time : 35 min

ulli theeyal


To Roast and Grind

  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp pepper corns
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
To Temper
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 spring curry leaves
  • 3 red chillies
For Curry
  • 3/4 cup shallots
  • 1/4 cup thick tamarind water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed powder
  • salt - to taste
  • 1/2 cup water


  • dry roast all the ingredients listed under 'to roast and grind' till nicely browned and keep sauteing in low flame for 3-4 minutes and then switch off the flame
  • cool down the mixture at room temperature and transfer into the mixer jar and grind to a fine smooth paste with little water and set aside
  • heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chillies
  • then add small shallots and saute well till it turns translucent
  • next, add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and cumin powder and saute for 1 minute
  • now add the ground coconut paste and saute for 2 minutes and then followed by add salt, thick tamarind water and extra 1/2 cup water
  • mix well and the consistency should be very thin, then cover with lid and let it boil for next 10-12 minutes or until the oil starts to separate and the theeyal turns thick
  • after the theeyal turns thick then switch off the flame
  • serve ulli theeyal with hot steamed rice
  • Enjoy!
  • adjust spice level according to your taste
  • you can also replace coconut oil with sesame oil
  • boil the curry in low medium flame until the curry becomes thick
ulli theeyal


dry roast coriander seeds, pepper corn, red chilli and fenugreek seeds in low flame for 3-4 minutes
cool down completely at room temperature

transfer into mixer jar

grind to a fine powder

add coconut

grind to a smooth paste with little water and set aside

heat coconut oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chillies

add shallots

saute well until translucent

add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and cumin powder

mix well and cook for 1 minute in low flame

add ground coconut paste

mix well and cook the mixture for another 1 minute in low flame

add thick tamarind extract, water and salt

mix well and cover with lid
cook on medium flame till it turns thick

curry turns thick and the oil starts to separate 
now switch off the flame

ulli theeyal

Ulli Theeyal is ready to serve

ulli theeyal

serve with hot steamed rice

ulli theeyal

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