Ulli Murangacka Theeyal/Shallots and Drumsticks in Roasted Coconut Gravy

here are some recipes that takes time and good patience to prepare.  Some even needs specific ingredients those seems to be very unrealistic to prepare when you cannot get hold of it.  Theeyal is one of those recipes, that requires ample time to prepare.  But the outcome of the labor is really appeasing.  
Growing up, I remember Theeyal was one dish that was prepared with seasonal vegetables.  Me and my brother would wait for the coconut to be cracked to drink the sweet coconut water.  Then we would wait for the grating part to sneak in and grab handful of freshly grated coconut that falls into the plate.  Those are some good old memories that every Mallu can relate to.  The freshly grated coconut will be then slow roasted till dark brown along with the spices.  It was then ground into a smooth butter like paste using the traditional stone grinder, which would burn a good amount of elbow grease.  No wonder, they never needed any fitness classes.  These daily exertion made that generation fit all the time.

Here I am sharing my version of Ulli theeyal.  When I got hold of some Indian shallots, I couldn't resist to make my favorite kind of theeyal.  It was awesome when made in earthen pot, which gave the perfect consistency.  Check out instagram for the reel version of the recipe.


2 cups - grated fresh/frozen coconut

2 tsp - coriander powder

1.5 tsp - Kashmiri Chili powder

1/8th tsp - fenugreek powder

1.5 cups - peeled small shallots

5-6 pieces - drumsticks

3 - green chili splits

1/2 - a medium size tomato

2 sprigs - fresh curry leaves

1 1/4 cup - water

1 tbsp - coconut oil

1 tbsp - sized tamarind

1/3 cup - water

salt to taste

Tempering ingredients

1/2 tsp - mustard seeds

2 shallots - thinly sliced

1 sprig - curry leaves

1 tbsp - coconut oil


  • Soak tamarind in 1/3 cup of water.
  • Dry roast the coconut on slow heat till dark brown.  Add the coriander powder, chili powder and fenugreek powder and roast till raw smell goes away.  Turn off the flame and let it cool down.
  • Grind it into a fine paste using 1/4 cup of water.
  • In an earthen pot (chatti), add 1 tbsp of coconut oil, shallots, drumsticks, green chilis, curry leaves and salt.
  • Cook it covered for 2-3 minutes till the drumstick cooks well and shallots become soft.
  • Add the ground coconut paste, tomatoes, tamarind water and 1 cup of water.  Adjust the amount of water and salt at this time.
  • Cover and cook till the gravy starts to thicken up and the oil starts to separate.  Turn off the flame.
  • In a small pan, splutter mustard seeds in 1 tbsp coconut oil.  Add sliced shallots and cook till light golden brown.  Turn off the flame and add the curry leaves.  Pour the tempering on the cooked theeyal.  Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes before you use it.
  • Serve it with hot rice.

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