Thursday, November 10, 2011

ULLI THEEYAL / PEARL ONIONS IN TANGY ROASTED COCONUT SAUCE

Ulli Theeyal

Till I was in 5th standard, Perappan  & Peramma (Amma's elder sister)used to live just 100 m away from our school which in simple words meant, I get to eat piping hot lunch everyday! Their youngest daughter, Prinu ,who was in 10th then would wait for me with her friend, Fairooz by the school gate, after the lunch bell. We three would walk together talking , actually they would be talking and I would be listening to the big girl's talks. As we approached their house,I could tell what we were having for lunch because it used to smell so good! If it was fish fry then it's easy to tell :-)

Peramma makes the most awesome sauce fish fry (esp.Sardines/Mathi/Chala)! She had this little pan, maybe a 6 inch fry pan which had some dents and no handle. She used that only for fish fry and I used to tell her I wanted that pan when she was planning to throw it away because I believed that that pan gave the fish fry some extra taste. I think and still thinks, it did!
Cheryulli

So fish fry was a regular at their house and another thing was a regular too! A Theeyal! It could be a 'pavakka'/bittergourd theeyal or someother theeyal. If that was there, I wouldn't even need a fish fry because the theeyal was delicious on it's own! I would finish up my rice and curry very soon and lick my fingers and every last bit of the curry left on the plate.Then I would go wash my hands (without soap!) and wait for Prinu to wash her's so that we can go to her room and tie our plaits once again :-) Peramma used to tie our plaits after lunch. I had just shoulder length hair (even now!) and Prinu had a little more longer hair. So,the two things I envied in her then, was the length of her hair and height. I used to stand on my toes to reach her height and I used to bend my head back so that my hair touched my waist! :-)
On our way back to school, I would cover my nose with my right palm and smell it, so that I could get the 'Theeyal' smell, till it lasted! Now you know why I didn't wash my hands with soap :-)
Ulli Theeyal

Now, when I look back, it feel so funny to realise that I am 5'10" tall...3 " more than Prinu but my hair is still shorter than hers. She lives in Kenya and the last time I saw her was before our wedding. Peramma still makes the best theeyal and fish fry. When I was home this time, I asked Amma to make a Theeyal for me and she said she will but ,Peramma's is still the best :-) Yesterday,when I spoke to Amma, I asked her for the recipe because for the last 2 days I so badly wanted to have Theeyal and therefore thought of trying it at home and compare the taste of mine with Peramma's. The method of cooking was exchanged and I made a mental note of it. After we hung up, I went straight to the kicthen and started cooking.I knew it's a simple recipe and all I wanted was that exact taste,like the original.

Ulli TheeyalULLI THEEYAL
My own recipe

Ingredients:
1c pearl onions/kunjulli/chommanulli
5 green chilies/serrano
11/2 c freshly grated coconut
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt
Tamarind, lime size soaked in 1/2 c water.
Water

Method:
Cook the pearl onions, green chilies & salt in 1 cup water till the onions are soft .I don't chop the onions, I use them as whole.
In another wide pan, on medium heat, fry the grated coconut till they turn dark brown in colour. This decides the colour of the curry. Make sure you don't burn it but it should be dark brown. Take it off the flame and add the spices. Keep mixing for a minute or two so that the spices don't burn from the heat of the coconut and the pan.Let it cool.
Grind the roasted coconut to a smooth paste with just enough water to aid in the process.
Add the ground coconut to the pearl onions and cook till it boils.
Extract the pulp from the tamarind and add it to the curry.Check for salt.
Let the curry boil to a consistency you like. I like it thick.This curry will thicken as it cools. You will see a thin layer of oil floating on top, which comes from the coconut that was used.I would say, that's the way a perfect Theeyal would look like :-)

* We don't temper anything to pour over this curry but if you want you can temper some mustard, dry red chillies and onions in coconut oil and pour over.

I'm so happy that it tasted just like the original. When I say original here,I am not saying it's the original recipe for a theeyal but it's the taste I grew up with. Do try this with Pavakka but when you do that you will have to add more tamarind to compensate for the bitterness of the gourd.This is just too perfect with a bowl of hot Kanji/Gruel and Motta porichathu/Indian Omlette.This is my comfort meal :-)

I just hung up my daily call home and when we were talking Amma asked me,'So did you make the Theeyal?' and I said,'Yes! Nallathayirunnu!' . How can I say otherwise when I'm gobbling up a childhood favourite curry of mine like soup! :-)

We are back to our regular routine now, so you should be seeing some activity here, more often! :-)

29 Comments:

Anu Menon said...

its like u read my mind or something... just yesterday rajeev was asking me about teeyal - he was like do u know how to make teeyal? i said i've had it Amma's way all my life and have never tried making it myself :)

Justbeanme said...

Its my mom's signature dish and my bad that my hubby doesnt like teeyal at all....!! I have never made it since i got married...!!Wann try this one so bad!!

MyKitchen Flavors-BonAppetit!. said...

Ulli Theeyal Luks super inviting.Luks delicious.Yumm.

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Theeyal looks too good...yumm...

divya said...

Looks yummy!! I so drooling..

Divya Vikram said...

Nice to see your posts once again Ria. Nice reading your lunch break memories and the theeyal looks tangy n yumm!

Rekha shoban said...

yummy theeyal...last only i did this theeyal!

Nitha said...

Looks yummy.. varutharacha any curry is my fav..

Poornima Nair said...

My mom makes theeyal in the same way, love the rich curry. Your theeyal has the perfect color and thats a beautiful bowl

ANU said...

wow very tempting recipe.....love it!


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Hamaree Rasoi said...

Wonderful recipe. Never tried it. Awesome preparation dear.

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

Rinku Naveen said...

Nice to see you back Ria. Loved this simple recipe. Actually you make all recipes look simple. Sure gonna try this one.

Kavi... said...

Hiii... first time here! I love your blog! And this one especially looks soo delicious! If you have the time, please go through the rules of my Healthy Lunch Event & link this post to my page too! [you have to mention my link as well as Smita's link]
-
Kavi | Edible Entertainment
Ongoing event: Healthy Lunch Challenge

Priya's Feast said...

Aww..Wht a wonderful start..I am dir hard fan of theeyal..jus cant live without it.

Priya said...

Ulli theeyal looks absolutely divine.

ente pachakasala said...

theeyal looks so yummy

vineetha said...

Enjoyed reading ur write up..I will book mark this one as it is making me drool like anything.

Aarthi said...

WOW..This looks awesome..Yummy

Do visit my blog some time..

Shireen Sequeira said...

Never heard of Theeyal before Ria, but your post was a wonderful read, especially with so many lovely memories attached to that one dish :) The most heart warming part was when the little girl din't wash her hands because she wanted the aroma to last as long as it could - I did that a lot as a little girl :) and still do :))!!

faseela said...

You have a wonderful blog......happy 2 follow u.......please do visit my blog

Swapna said...

Ria, Theeyal nallla adipoli aayittu vannittunde :)... It's my fav too... and I also make the same way...

Sreevalli said...

Hi Ria.. I made ulli theeyal today & it turned out a delicious dish.. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe..

Ramya Prabhath said...

Superb Ria...!! My mom does dis d same way,,,!! She prepares theeyal with kunjulli as well as mushroom,, Have u ever tried mushroom theeyal?? It tastes awesome,,, :)

Ramya Prabhath said...

Superb Ria...!!! my Mom does dis d same way :) She prepares theeyal with kunjulli as well as Mushroom,, Have u ever tried mushroom theeyal?? It tastes awesome :) Anyways keep up the good work :) N yes the cake recipes are making me lose my sleep ;) I need to tell my hubby "i need a microwave oven badly,,,,,,,,,,shriekkkkkkkkk" :D :D

Ramya Prabhath said...

Superb Ria...!!! my Mom does dis d same way :) She prepares theeyal with kunjulli as well as Mushroom,, Have u ever tried mushroom theeyal?? It tastes awesome :) Anyways keep up the good work :) N yes the cake recipes are making me lose my sleep ;) I need to tell my hubby "i need a microwave oven badly,,,,,,,,,,shriekkkkkkkkk" :D :D

Ramya Prabhath said...

Superb Ria...!!! my Mom does dis d same way :) She prepares theeyal with kunjulli as well as Mushroom,, Have u ever tried mushroom theeyal?? It tastes awesome :) Anyways keep up the good work :) N yes the cake recipes are making me lose my sleep ;) I need to tell my hubby "i need a microwave oven badly,,,,,,,,,,shriekkkkkkkkk" :D :D

Ramya Prabhath said...

Superb Ria...!!! my Mom does dis d same way :) She prepares theeyal with kunjulli as well as Mushroom,, Have u ever tried mushroom theeyal?? It tastes awesome :) Anyways keep up the good work :) N yes the cake recipes are making me lose my sleep ;) I need to tell my hubby "i need a microwave oven badly,,,,,,,,,,shriekkkkkkkkk" :D :D

Ramya Prabhath said...

Sorry,,,,for the repetition,,, ;( My comment was not gettin posted so i was hitting 'publish comment'again n again,,,!! N d result is dis,,,, :( Sorry Ria...

Parvathy Rajan said...

Hi ria....my first comment in ur blog...tried ur theeyal recipe..came out well....thnku fr sharing all these wonderful recipes....

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