Ulli Theeyal ( Kerala style Shallots in Burnt Roasted Coconut Sauce )

This is one of the most tastiest lip smacking side dish from Kerala, Ulli means small onions and theeyal means , burnt.

The coconut sauce is basically a burnt flavour, tangy, spicy and a great accompaniment to aapam another delightful spongy  and crispy dish from Kerala Cuisine.

We make this dish once in a while to tickle our taste buds when we need some spicy and tangy flavors to kick in!! This is a match made in  heaven when eaten with plain steamed rice and pappadam, as we normally have it  on week ends , when the appetite is not much but the only  side dish that we make must pack a punch and it does very nicely too. Goes great with idlis, dosas . So skip that inevitable coconut chutney and the lame sambar for this as an accompaniment. You will devour more idlis than you realise,..! Aapam and Ulli Theeyal seems to be the perfect match here in Chennai restos. 


200 gramsShallots ( small pearl onions)
5 red  dry chillies
Pinch of turmeric powder.
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds.
5-6 pepper corns.
1/2 tsp cumin seeds.
2 tbsp coriander seeds.
1 tsp mustard seeds.
2 red chiilis for seasoning.
some curry leaves.
3/4 cup fresh grated coconut
salt  as required.

2 tbsp coconut oil ( preferably )
Gooseberry size tamrind soaked in warm water .


1. Heat a pan, add oil and first stir the fenugreek seeds, then add the red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pepper and grated coconut and keep roasting  till they attain a brown colour, but not burnt. Keep stirring till they darken and become aromatic.

 Remove and keep to cool. Grind to a smooth paste with little water and keep aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan,crackle the mustard seeds,  add red chillies, add curry leaves , add the thinly sliced shallots  and stir till they become transparent.

Add turmeric powder, add the extracted tamrind water around 2 cups of not very thick or too thin extract, add salt and let the mixture boil till the raw tamrind smell disappears.

When the mixture starts thickening slowly, add the ground paste . Let it simmer on a low flame after adding the ground paste.

3. When the required consistency is reached, remove and garnish with curry leaves.

Remove from flame and serve with rice and papaddam. 

Sharing the pic of a dear friend Shanthi Ramachandran who tried this dish and posted a pic to me in FB , sharing it here and the dish looks heavenly. Shanthi you nailed it!! thanks for the pic.