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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Paarikkai / Pavvakka ulli theeyal ~ Tribute to my Palakkad roots

I generally dont click pics of regular/traditional dishes made at home. Wanted to change that this year and start documenting usual, day to day recipes as well (thanks to that special someone who pestered me to do so :)) Ulli (onion) and Parikkai (Bitter gourd) theeyal is a definite favourite of mine. (I am known for my love for bitter gourd :P). And as usual, this is a low fat recipe.

I decided to post this recipe to join a Kerala Kitchen event at Palakkad Chamayal :) This being my first such participation in the food blogging circle. I hope to have fun!!

Theeyal, a must have in most onam lunches (sadhya) literally means - burnt dish. This name is derived from the colour of the dish as we use well roasted coconut and tamarind.

This is exactly how its made in our kitchen.
You need: Serves 2-3
Water - 2 1/2 to 3 cups
Bitter gourd - 2-3 small /medium (de-seeded and diced)
Onion - 1 (diced)
coconut - shredded- 1/4 cup
curry leaves - 3 tsps (I use dried leaves)
Coconut (or til/ sunflower / olive) oil - 1 tsp

Flavoring / spices
Tamarind - two strips or a size of small lime / 3 tsps (if using paste)
Red chillies- 3
Turmeric powder - 2 pinches
Jeera / cumin- 1/2 tsp
Methi /fenugreek seeds - 1/2 or 1/4 tsp
pepper corns - 1/4 tsp
coriander seeds - 2 1/2 tbsp
Jaggery (optional) - 1 tsp

Use (Set aside) for Tempering
oil, mustard seeds (1/4tsp), a little cumin seeds, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds(optional), one red chilli

  • Soak Tamarind in a cup of water and microwave it for two minutes. 
  • Let it cool , add some water, mash the pulp to prepare two cups of tamarind water
  • Wash bitter gourd thoroughly and chop into small pieces; Soak them in salt water for ten minutes 
  • Chop onions and grate/shred coconut
  • In a pan, Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin, peppercorns, two red chillies, curry leaves, cumin seeds,  (with a little set aside for tempering) and coconut. you could add 1 tsp of onions (optional) 
  • Transfer well roasted ingredients onto a plate to cool
  • Grind the roasted ingredients into a smooth paste
  • In the same pan, pour a 1 tsp coconut or any oil of your choice
  • (you can avoid using oil because roasting of coconut leaves a thin film of oil in the pan)
  • Put in mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilli, curry leaves and saute for a minute
  • Add onions and saute for another minute before adding thoroughly washed bitter gourd 
  • Stir well and cover for a minute and pour in the tamarind water
  • Add salt, turmeric powder, and fine fine ground theeyal paste
  • cook until vegetables are all done and you get the yummy aroma of cooked theeyal

Serve with steamed rice, cracked wheat or roti/ bread of your choice

And off I go to join the fun at Palakkad Chamayal :)


  1. It has been ages since I had this theeyal and you have me drooling Sudha....all I need is some rice and I am set:):)

  2. wow...excellent preparation...bookmarked and thank you so much for sharing!!

  3. Yummy Theeyal, one of my favorites...I'm glad you decided to link this to the event and thereby I get to know of some of the yummy and healthy recipes at your space..glad to follow your space.

  4. Mouthwatering here, wat a terrific and super tempting theeyal..

  5. This looks awesome..Yummy Recipe


  6. very interesting recipe ....we make something similar but never tried it with onion!!

    thanks for leaving your comment on "know your ingredient" u r welcome to contribute - i'll link the post to your blog.

  7. Yummalacious. I never tried this before - Going to make soon :-)

  8. Sudha, Had been following the Design Enthusiast for some time. Just now realized that you have this blog too. Thanks for reminding me of a long forgotten recipe. My mom always fries the pavakka/vendakka for theeyal. May be it is a Kochi thing.



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