Ulli Theeyal - South Indian Kuzhambu Recipe


Also, known as ulli theeyal this recipe, is a traditional south Indian kuzhambu recipe. This is one of my favourite recipe that you should try making during your weekends when you have time. 

Unlike the other kuzhambu recipes I have mentioned, this is not an easy recipe to make. It takes about 30-40 minutes to make, requires lot of frying and grounding of ingredients.   

But is it worth the effort? Definitely yes!

Will you be able to make this recipe? Absolutely!


To make this recipe you would need a mixer, grated coconut's, fresh coriander seeds, small pearl onions(bigger ones are fine too, but smaller ones have better taste), fenugreek seeds, and dry red chilies. 


The flavor and taste of this recipe depends on how well you fry the ingredients and ground them well.

The older it gets, the tastier it becomes. So, if you make it in the morning, it will taste a lot better at night.

But make sure you keep it in a fridge or a cold place as coconuts can spoil easily if kept too long in heat. 

This recipe also goes very well with rice especially with roti or curd rice.

Let us get to the preparation aspects of this recipe.

How to make theeyal – Preparation Steps

Part I - Keep  raw ingredients aside

1. For this purpose, I have used small onions also called pearl onions/small onions.Peel the outer skin of these onions and keep it aside. 15-20 onions will suffice for 3 people.


2. Grate coconuts and keep it aside.


3. Make a small ball of tamarind. Put it in warm water and tamarind paste out of it.


4. Take some coriander seeds, 7-8 red chillies,3-4 fenugreek seeds and keep it aside


Part II - Fry the ingredients 

5. Fry the coconut gratings in a pan.



While frying, make sure you don’t add any water or oil. Coconuts have lots of oil which will come out when it is heated. Heat the coconuts until the gratings have lost all its moisture and would be like a crisp chocolate brown powder.

6. Keep the coconut gratings aside. In the same pan, fry the coriander seeds, red chilies and fenugreek seeds. (No need to add oil). 


7. In a mixer, add these fried gratings along with the fried tempering mix and make a thick paste of the it.


8. In a pan, put some oil. Add the onions and 1 green-chilly and fry them until the onions are golden brown. Add 1/2 tbsp of salt into the mix. 


9. Pour tamarind water into the mix, and let the onions boil for 5-10 more minutes. Add 1/2 tbsp salt into the mix. 


10. Now add the grounded paste into the onion mix.  Keep in simmer for 10 minutes.  



You need to boil the mix so that the gravy and the onions have absorbed the masala's well and any raw taste in the ingredients have disappeared. 

As you boil the mix for 5-10 minutes a slow frothy layer appears on the top. At that time you can stop.

11.Remove the gravy from the flame. 


Part III - Tempering

12. In a small frying pan, splutter mustard seeds and 1 red chilly and karipatha (curry) leaves and pour it on top of this mix.


13.Your recipe is ready to be served.


› Ulli Theeyal