Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chena – Ulli Theeyal / Yam & Pearl Onions in a roasted coconut gravy..!!




Ulli theeyal



A big Hi to all of you..:) Ok..am not going to get started about how I am not regular here or visiting n drooling at yum food blogs n all that sort of bloggy stuff…:( Basically,just meh..:P.. I was sick n lazy n bored n blah bla blabbiti bla..n just wanted to take a silent break..didn't mean I didn't miss this space or all you guys,but it just had to happen.:).Here falls is pretty strong this year n our apartment is really blessed with lots of beautiful trees n walk-ways n  bushes n all those pretty romantic elements..:) n I really had a sweet time going out for walks clad in a cardigan ,arms tightly wrapped around ma body with ma cam..enjoying the falls..sometimes kneeling down to click on those rare colored gorgeous leaves..n in the middle,sometimes getting wet n happy in those intermittent drizzles...at home,enjoying hot coffee in a cozy snuggie ,reading a book/watching my fav TV shows n such n such..The constant laptop staring was giving me some nasty neck n back pain n my almost stagnant body started revolting so much that I just had to get out ..going..

On the cooking front,we just started eating a bit healthy n I am cooking up simple good soups n warm comfy foods ofcourse minus the weekend indulgences..:) So altogether blogging is taking a back seat..But then I started getting this feel that I may leave this space altogether forever n wont be able to get back at a later point of time.So me back with this draft…Thankyou all you readers for dropping by n leaving nice words here..:)..I dunno if I can be regular in blogging like before,but definitely will peep in once-in-a-while..:)


Ulli Theeyal



Actually this was a recipe that I was requested to put up here by some of ma readers long back.Its basically Ulli Theeyal recipe,made with pearl onions,but in some areas of kerala yam is also added in the preparation n hubs like it that way.We rarely get yam here ,n so I was waiting to get hold of some to fix up this dish.Obviously,the frozen yam cubes never tastes good enough like the fresh ones back at home..Yam is a veggie from tuber family,grown underground.My dad’s home had yam plants n my grandma used to make this awesome Chenapuzhukku which is a mushy gravy of yams n chickpeas with ground coconut paste .On special occasions like ‘Thiruvathira’,this dish is made n had with Kanji/Rice Porridge.As a kid I was never fond of these veggies,the obvious :P, n never even ventured to taste it.Even now my fav prep would be the stir fried ones.But this one is such a traditionally famous one-of-a-kind dish with a piquant combination of 2 veggies,yams n mildly sweet pearl onions.



Pearl onions / Cheryulli /Kochulli are small onions,even smaller than shallots.They are a common favorite because of their mild onion-y flavor n subtle sweetness.They get sautéed fast n tastes really yum when fried.Usually people find it hard to clean n peel it.A quick way that I follow is drench them in hot water for few mins,the skin will peel off easily..:)

I can vouch that ,this one is a favorite most dish of numerous Malayalees ,especially veggie people,non-veggies ofcourse have the Chemmeen theeyal made in the same way.I myself know so many of may friends n relatives who just die on this dish.If yam is not available you can make it with just the pearl onions n that's more well-known in Kerala as Ulli theeyal.The roasted ground coconut is what makes this dish so special n yummy.That spicy gravy when combined with the right amount of tanginess n a generous tempering,there we get  some pure awesomeness n one of the finest gravy-based dish of traditional Kerala cuisine..You can have it with anything..hot white rice,Dosa,Idlli,Appam..anything..:)


1/2-3/4 Cup Yam pieces cubed

1 C Pearl onions, sliced into rounds

less than 1/4 a cup of sliced coconut

5-6 Thai green chillies slit

1/2 –1 tsp Chilli powder which is optional, if at all the heat of green chillies is not enough

1 tsp Turmeric Powder

A pinch or two of Asaofetida

Tamarind extract from a small lime size tamarind or 1 Tbsp store bought extract(more or less according to how tangy you like it)


Curry Leaves



To Roast n grind:

1 Tbsp Coconut oil

5-6 Curry Leaves

1 Crushed n chopped Garlic

2 pearl onions sliced into thin rounds

1 C fresh/dried  Coconut flakes

1 Tbsp Chilli Powder

1.5 Tbsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Fresh ground Pepper Powder


For Tempering:

Coconut oil

Curry Leaves

1.5 tsp Mustard seeds

1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds

5-6 Dried Red Chillies



In a wide bottomed pan ,heat the coconut oil n add the curry leaves n saute till fragrant.

Now add the coconut slices n fry till a golden shade n aromatic.

Now pop in the yam cubes n onion slices ,green chillies n fry well till everything is fried well,Yam cubes n onions turn somewhat crisp.You can add chilli powder while frying to make it more spicy n crisp .

Now add the Tamarind extract n a cup of water n bring it to a slow boil.Cook till the yam is tender n cooked,but not mushy.

Mean while roast all the ingredient under the “To Roast n grind” section in that same order n grind without adding water.

Keep the pan in simmer,n add this spicy powder into it.Mix with the tamarind water n veggies well for a while ,n then add more water .Close it n let the flavors mix for a while.

Do a taste test n add more salt/tamarind extract if needed.

Do the tempering n close the pan till use..


Ulli theeyal

Verdict : I dont think we need a verdict of such a traditionally famous dish.It has all the right n palate – pleasing flavors mingled in it n as I told before ,goes well with everything from rice to breakfast items like Dosa.Truly awesome..!!

All of you have a great time,enjoy the falls n stay healthy n smiling..:)



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