My Treasure…My Pleasure

Authentic Kerala Cuisine & much more…

Ulli Theeyal

Posted by Annita on August 22, 2006

Theeyal which means ‘burnt dish’ is a typical kerala dish featuring burnt coconut,and is usually dark brown in color.It gets its color from browning of coconut and also from another ingredient, tamarind.In some parts of kerala,theeyal is included in a traditional sadya menu. I’ve already blogged about Eggplant Theeyal,but this one is my favorite among all Theeyals.But cleaning baby onions is very difficult and it is something which stops me to cook this dish often,it is quite time consuming and can water your eyes too.

Ulli Theeyal
Ulli Theeyal

Here’s the recipe..


Ingredients for Theeyal

Pearl Onions/shallots sliced into thin pieces- 10 – 15 nos
Grated Coconut-1/2 cup
Tamarind -small lemon sized
Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder- 2 tsp
Cumin Powder -1/2 tsp
Pepper Powder -1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder-1/4 tsp
Asafoetida(Kaayam)- a pinch
Fenugreek Powder(Uluvappodi)- a pinch
Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – a few
Whole red chillies – 2
Sugar -a pinch(optional)
Salt – to taste
Oil – as needed

Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water and take the extract from it.Heat 1 tsp of oil in a small pan and saute coconut till brown.Add chilly powder,coriander powder,cumin powder,pepper powder and turmeric powder and stir fry till it gives an aroma.Be sure to simmer it, thus preventing masalas from getting burned too much.Keep aside and cool.Grind it to a smooth fine paste.

Browning Coconut
Browning of Coconut & Masalas

Heat 2 tbsp of oil and add mustard seeds,curry leaves and whole red chillies and allow it to splutter.Add shallots,asafoetida,salt and fenugreek powder into it,and saute for a while .Add tamarind extract into it and allow it to boil for 2-3 mts.If necessary add water.Now add the ground paste and sugar into it and simmer for furthur 4-5 minutes.Switch off the stove and serve hot.

Theeyal served with rice
A Nostalgic meal for us

See some more Theeyal recipes from fellow bloggers :-

L.G’s Paavakka Theeyal

Priya’s Ulli Theeyal

Kitchenmate’s Potato Theeyal

38 Responses to “Ulli Theeyal”

  1. vineela said

    Hi Annita,
    Thanks for sharing variety of theeyals.

    Thanks Vineela


  2. That is yummy recipe Annita, i have always wanting to try this theeyal…
    btw, did you use fresh coconut or can we substitute with dried ones

    I’ve used dried coconut powder only,Karthi.Try it out sometime and let me know how it turned out for u..


    • Joy said

      Dear Annita,

      I hope this finds you well and in good health. With regards to your reply to Karthi Kannan, I wanted to know what coconut powder you used. I generally use Eastern Coconut Powder to make coconut milk but I’ve never used it dry in a dish by itself. Can I use it instead of the fresh coconut? Also, what quantity should I use? Would 200 gm. be alright?

      I would be really grateful if you could clarify my doubts :) Looking forward to hearing from you,

      • MRC said

        Hi Joy,

        I believe Eastern Coconut Powder is specifically to make coconut milk. For this dish you have to use either fresh coconut else dried coconut powder (kopra powder).


  3. Hi Annita,
    In theeyal Ullu theeyal is most tastiest one. Check my version of Ulli theeyal:)\
    Your gravy is thick -mine is always lighter:(

    Thanks Priya.I’ve already put a link to ur blog,


  4. prema said

    Hi Anitha,
    I have tasted this ulli theeyal in restaurants.. but never made one.
    I make kaara kuzhambhu similar to this recipe except for frying the coconut. Next time i will give urs a try. Thanks for the recipe

    I’ve a friend ,who always talks about Kara Kuzhambu.But haven’t preapared that,or haven’t even tasted it..i really wanted to prepare it once.Do u have a recipe for that ?


  5. Priya said

    The Theeyal looks yummy Annita. After seeing the pics I vaguely remember my mother doing something similar to this. Thank u sooo much for bringing it back to me. Will try this recipe soon. And thank u sooo much for asking about me at my blog. It was really nice to read your comment, I was soo happy seeing it :-) I was a little busy with my work in the college and so wasnt in the mood for posting recipes :-(

    Thanks Priya..Try it out whenever u get a chance


  6. Asha said

    Looks delicious. I love Theeyal although it’s not one of my Karanataka dishes. Few months ago, I got this recipe from a book and made Theeyal,loved it eversince. Your recipe really looks authentic ! Some recipes out there have this creamish looking Theeyal which I didn’t like at all. Thanks for your recipe. :)

    Thanks a lot Asha,try it out whenever u get a chance.


  7. Archana said

    Looks good. Ulli theyal is one of my all time favorite curries !!! Thank you for the recipe.

    Thanks dear..


  8. reshmi said

    hi annita,i love this theeyal recipe.i have one with eggplant which is also is good that u put pictures also like a demo class for beginers

    Me too love Theeyal very much,especially Ulli Theeyal..And thanks for all those kind words,reshmi..


  9. Annita:
    Hope all is well with you and family… just wondering about this little silence, since you are of the regular post(er?) of recipes :)

    Many many thanks Karthi.We all are perfectly fine.We just went for a trip and was out of home.I’ll be active soon..:))

    Thanks again.


  10. shynee said

    What happened Annita,after the theeyal no posts?…Theeyaladichu kirungi kidakkunnathonnum kettittilla!! Hope everything is fine…

    Everything is fine dear.. i’m really happy to see ur comment..

    Theeyal adichu kirungiyathalla,chumma onnu karangan poyatha


  11. Reshmi Menon said

    Evide poyee?Hope evrything is well and fine.

    Everything is fine Rashmi, Thanks a bunch for asking…

    We just had a vaccation for 5-6 days..:))


  12. radha said

    hi, i had earlier left a reply in your photos section by mistake.. the theeyal came out extremely well. my guests did not turn up, but my husband just loved it. thank you. i am radha and surabhi is my daughters name.

  13. Geena said

    Annita,delicious ulli theeyal, looks just like my mom makes. Wonderful job.My mom makes this mainly for’Good Friday’lunch and for onam.It is so tasty I don’t know how many times I would eat rice that day. Following your recipe,I made this all by myself for the first time and it came out really good. But not as pretty as yours.I think I have to fry the coconut for some more time.Thank you for the recipe.
    Annita, I am a great fan of your blog, I like the way you give details of the recipe and the beautiful beautiful pictures.

    Thanks again Geena..Welcome to my blog…


  14. Dimple said

    Annita, I tried your ulli theeyal , it was so husband loved it.
    thank you

    Thanks for letting me know abt it,Dimple

  15. Bubli said

    I tried this recipe last night,tasted really good and I am sure I am going to make this more often now. What I really liked about the recipe is how easy it was, Using spice powder instead of chillies or Coriander seeds. Thanks for sharing this recipe

    Happy to know that u liked it,Bubli

  16. selin joy said

    it was nice .hope to learn more recpiies fromm u.

  17. Seena said

    Hi Anita,

    Your site is fabulous. I am going to try your ulli theeyal today. Here is the recipe for Karakuzhambu. Hope it helps.


    1 Onion
    1 Tomato (Small)
    4-5 Garlic pieces
    Small lemon size Tamarind (Soak it in water)
    Coriander leaves
    1 tsp Jeera
    3-4 Pepper corn
    A Pinch Asafoetida
    1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
    Any vegetable (Brinjal(2-3), Ladys finger (5-6), Drumstick (2-3)
    1/2 cup Coconut Juice.( Coconut crushed with water in a mixer)
    3 tsp Vegatable Oil
    1 1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
    1 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder.
    1. Put kadai on stove, pour oil on kadai.
    2. Put mustard let the mustard splutter.
    3. Put jeera, Pepper corn, sliced onion, sliced tomato, Karipatta and a pinch of Asafoetida. Saute for 3-5 minutes.
    4. Put the cut vegatable and saute it again.
    5. Pour the Tamarind Juice.
    6. Put the Chilli and Coriander Powder and Saute it. Let it boil till the vegetable is cooked.
    7. Pour the Coconut juice and allow it to boil for 5-10 minutes.
    8. Garnish it with Coriander leaves. Ready to serve with Rice.

  18. remya said

    Thanks alot for this dish..i tried and came out very well..

  19. Nimitha said

    I was nostalgic about this dish. My mom makes it only for Onam. Was too lazy to call her up and get the recipe! thanks a lot!!

  20. Minu said

    Hi Annita

    I tried this ulli was very tasty and easy…My Husband loved it.this site is fabulous,useful for me.thanks a lot.


  21. Sunita said

    You must try theeyal with small prawns along with small onions.Yummy.. -))

  22. anju said

    Hello annita ..I made this today,,tasted good..but never got ur colour..was just a light brown colour..what do it do to get dark colour..thanks ..Ur blog is great : )

  23. nitya said


    i tried this today, but i just could’nt get this colour. May be because I used the American Onions which are white. Also, should we grind the onions along with the masala?

    thanks a lot for the recipies dont have to grind the onions…it is usually prepared with kunjulli/shallots…if you’re using onions you have to chop it thin…And abt the color, I dont think its bcoz of the onions…the color is mainly from the browning of coconut,tamarind and the masala powders..

  24. Pooja Vinay said


    Let me start by saying that ur blog is awesome …. keep the good work going !!!

    I tried ur ulli theeyal and the flavour turned out very nice but there is a very grainy texture (of the coconut)to the gravy … can you please tell where i am going wrong ??

    Thank you

  25. Rashmi said

    Hi Pooja,
    I faced the same problem the 1st time I made the theeyal- it was very grainy textured.This was because I had not grinded the coconut to a smooth enough paste.

  26. priya said

    i hav heard abt this dish…but never tried…i m going to try it,since u gav the method in detail and clear

  27. Divya. A said

    Hi Anita,

    Just wanted to tell you this turned out amazing!!! my husband loved it…i thought making theeyal was rocket science.. u have made it so simple.. thanks a ton!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. cardlover said

    I made the thiyyal……mmmmm didn’t meet my expectations…..

  29. Shashi Nayar said

    ulli theeyal is one of my most fav. dish. tasted fabulous when mother would make it.

    When i make it i add some shrimps also. this way you get delicious “konchu” (shrimp) theeyal.

    Another variety is ‘cashew theeyal’ made with split, soaked cashew nuts. To this u can add drumsticks too. Super dish. In these cases reduce the amount of shallot.

    Try all these and let me know

    Regards to all and Annita

    Mr. K. Shashi Nayar

    pls all of you try this. I am sure u will love it

    mr. k. shashi nayar

  30. […] is that Leela valiamma (Dad’s elder brother’s wife) made the most fantastic appam and theeyal  I’ve tasted in a very long time, and I was close to bursting my trouser buttons. But hey, I […]

  31. soujanya said

    hi…i tasted this ullitheeyal in a restuarant stederday….loved the recipe…so started browsing…glad i found you…very clear instructions….
    thanks for sharing…

  32. limo said


    […]Ulli Theeyal « My Treasure…My Pleasure[…]…

  33. Paddy said

    Dear Anita:
    I just discovered your blog. It is fabulous.Very interesting dishes. Will try them out soon.I have a cookery blog. i will be very glad if you could visit and give me your feed back.

  34. Fórum sobre animais exóticos e silvestres…

    […]Ulli Theeyal « My Treasure…My Pleasure[…]…

  35. […] by for lunch. Made Keerai molagoottal, Beans paruppu usili, Carrot cucumber salad, Pineapple rasam, ulli theeyal, curd and rice. Ulli theeyal was out of the world. I am sure it will capture a permanent place in […]

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