Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ulli Theeyal for a heart warming sunday lunch

Happiness depends upon ourselves - Aristotle

Such a succinct yet profound thought ain't it ? We all work hard for being happy and yet it is the one thing that eludes us more often than not. The funny part is that we fail to recognise that we are our very own architects of happiness.

"If you want to be happy, be " - Leo Tolstoy

Being happy is in our hands and it is indeed as simple as that.  And in this regard we can learn a lot from children. Seldom do they nurse any regrets or mope on about what has already happened. And if they do have some grouse, it is all forgotten in minutes. They revel in the utmost simplest of things. Last week, 2 kids in my class indulged in a verbal spat and their bone of contention was an eraser which both asserted was theirs. Both of them had a few mates(minions?) vouching their claims. Even as I wondered how to resolve their dispute, the recess bell rang bringing in the much needed break.Post recess, the children had a PT period and what do I see ? The kids in question had happily latched their hands together and went out merrily to the playground. And when they came back after playing their hearts out, they told me in unison that they were going to cut the eraser in half and share it between themselves. Ain't that sweet ? It left me wondering as to when and where do we chuck this happy-go-lucky attitude and innocence. Of course  life is not that simple but one thing is for sure ~ We all have a lot to learn and unlearn from the kids !

Talking about happiness, good food keeps us all contended and satiated. Don't you agree ? And when the heart warming food is tucked in to on a sunday with the family banters adding the pep, then the happiness quotient is at an all time high. Point in case is this yummy Ulli Theeyal. Ulli is malayalam for shallots aka chinna vengayam. So this gravy is in essence fried shallots in a tangy gravy. It is our very own vatta kuzhambu dolled up with coconuts. Yum !

The theeyal rocks with piping hot rice. We savoured it with dosas too the next day.  

What's in it :-
  • Shallots - a fistful
  • Tamarind Paste - 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Water - 2 to 3 cups
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt- to taste
To Dry Roast & Grind
  • Coconut -thin slices of 1/2 a coconut
  • Coriander Seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Black Pepper - 1 tsp
  • Red Chillis - 4
Tempering :-
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves - a few
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch

Here's How :-

Dissolve the tamarind paste in a cup of water and set aside.Dry roast the ingredients till golden brown for the spicy paste. Once it cools down grind them to a fine paste with little water as required. Peel and wash the shallots well and cut in to half . In a thick bottomed pan tip in the oil and and as it warms up let the mustard seeds crackle. Dump the curry leaves and asafoetida along with the shallots. Saute the shallots for 2-3 minutes.Add the tamarind water, turmeric powder ,curry leaves and bring to a boil. Add a cup or more of water and let it simmer for 5-8 minutes. Mix the ground paste in to the simmering shallot tamarind mix and bring to a boil. Simmer it for a few more minutes till you reach the desired consistency, before taking off flame.Serve hot. 



  1. That is so true Priya, way to a man's heart is through his stomach.. :) Aromatic kuzhambu like this should make everyone's day. :)

  2. wow this is awesome and beautiful pic and presentation.....

  3. Very nice post n what u said is very true.... always happiness depends on us.... N children teaches us many lessons... Btw theeyal was very tempting

  4. this looks so awesome... i'm sure that this will taste awesome with rice... 100% agree to ur incident... i keep seeing it with my kids, the way they fight and make up the very next minute... :)

  5. Lovely flavors!!! I'm sure to make this soon...

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  6. Such a droolworthy theeyal, cant ask more..

  7. Any curry with small onion gives that wonderful flavor.

  8. Super yummy looking theeyal Priya!

  9. Hi Priya,

    Ive always wanted to make ulli theeyal and I am gonna bookmark this version and try it out soon.