February 28, 2010

Ulli (Shallots) Theeyal

Theeyal is an authentic nadan dish, which can be made with all kinds of different vegetables such as brinjal (eggplant), bitter gourd, string beans, drumstick, etc. My favourite one, though, is the one made with shallots or chomnaulli. I got this recipe from my chechy; she is the one who has taught me this excellent theeyal.

Shallots (cut in halves) - 1 cup
Shallots (sliced finely) - 4
Grated coconut - 2 cups
Ginger(sliced finely) - 1" piece
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Whole red chillies - 6
Whole coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Turmeric -1/4 tsp
Tamarind extract (from 1 small lemon size tamarind ball)
Oil -2 tbsp (preferably coconut oil)
Water - 2 cups
Salt to taste
For Seasoning
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Whole red chillies - 2
A sprig of curry leaves

Saute the halved shallots in a little oil. Keep aside. In a tbsp of  oil, fry the grated coconut, finely cut ginger, finely cut shallots and curry leaves on medium heat. When slightly brown, add whole red chillies, coriander seeds and turmeric. Saute on medium heat for some more time till it is medium brown in colour. Take off from fire and let it cool.

Grind the cooled onion-coconut-masala-mix coarsely. Now add a little water and grind well. Remove this masala mix into a saucepan. Add 2 cups water, the tamarind extract, salt and let it boil. When it starts to thicken, add the sauted shallots and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Season the curry with a tadka of mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves in the remaining tbsp of oil. Serve hot with rice and pappadams.

Note: To make Drumstick Theeyal, cut drumsticks into 2" long pieces and boil in water with salt and 2 chillies seperately. Add them to the curry along with sauted shallots.

Another variation - cook 1/2 cup fresh shrimp along with the drumsticks and then add along with the sauted shallots. Makes a lip-smacking shrimp theeyal.

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