Theeyal has always been on my Onam Sadhya list especially since it is my husband's favorite vegetarian dish. The word "Theeyal" means "burnt dish" and its preparation involves roasting grated coconut until its dark brown, giving it a smoky yet unique flavor.
Recently, my sister Sheeba was visiting us for a few weeks and she gifted me a few things that I could use for my blog related food photography. One of my favorite items was this copper bottom Kadai that I am sure any ardent food photographer would wish for :) and somehow I felt that the Theeyal would look just right when served in it.
It was so much fun to have her, Nitin and the kids over. Mia just had such a gala time with her cousins Gabriel and Arryel and it was just so much fun to see them spiritedly play, fight, wrestle and laugh. Just a couple of weeks with the kids all together gave fruit to a host of mischievous yet funny escapades - how they would jointly execute a plan to sneak Gummi Bears from the top of a 7 ft fridge, or how they would try to sneak the Nutella jar and hide behind the furniture while they scooped spoons out to each other or even how they decided to convert the kitchen floor into a mini-swimming pool by pouring water on the floor while the rest of us were asleep....the list seems endless and maybe better forgotten so I am stopping here ..LOL !! We had a great time and an awesome outing at Cedar Point, known for some of the tallest and best roller coaster in the world. Well, we all enjoyed watching people going on those rides rather than riding them ourselves but then, having fun is what ultimately matters, not the means to it, right? I still can’t believe how or why people ride on some of those!! .Anyway, we all had a great time and we surely look forward to doing it again.
3/4 lb (350gms) - Brinjal/ Vazhuthanenga/ Eggplant (1 inch long pieces) *Refer notes
6 - Shallots (Kunjulli)
1/4 Tsp - Turmeric Powder
1 golf ball size - Tamarind
For dry roasting coconut
1 C - Desicated Coconut
1 1/2 Tsp - Red Chilly Powder
2 Tsp - Coriander Powder
1/4 Tsp - Turmeric Powder
1/2 Tsp - Pepper
3 cloves - Garlic
1/4 inch - Ginger
1 Sprig -Curry Leaves
A pinch - Asafoetida (Kaayam)
A pinch - Fenugreek Powder
3/4 Tsp - Mustard Seeds
2 Sprigs - Curry Leaves
3 - Dry whole red chilly
- Soak Tamarind in warm water. Discard the Tamarind remnants after squeezing it well. Keep the pulp aside.
- To a pan add some more oil and sauté the Brinjal and Shallots/kunjulli with ¼ tsp turmeric powder. Season with salt and saute for 5 mins
- Add the Tamarind pulp and cook the Brinjal.
- While the Brinjal is being cooked, dry roast coconut with Shallots/kunjulli, Garlic, Ginger, Chilly powder, Coriander powder, Ground pepper and Turmeric, along with a handful of Curry leaves until the coconut is dark brown. Be sure to cook on medium to low heat to avoid the coconut from getting burned.
- Before switching the heat off, add Asafoetida and Fenugreek powder and sauté for a few seconds. Take off heat and keep aside to cool.
- Transfer the roasted coconut to a blender and add some water. Grind it to a smooth paste.
- Add the ground paste to the Brinjal
- Heat oil and splutter mustard seeds. Add whole red Chilies and curry leaves
- Add the above seasoning and serve Theeyal with warm rice.
- Theeyal is a very versatile dish that can be prepared using many other vegetables like Okra/Ladiesfinger, Pavekka/Bitter Gourd, Shallots/Kunjulli
- While dry roasting the coconut, take care to cook on medium to low heat, to avoid the coconut from getting burned.
- Desiccated coconut is easier to roast.