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ulli theeyal recipe

small onion curry recipe for rice
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Kerala cuisine
Keyword: curry for rice, kerala recipes, popular south indian recipe
Author: Jinoo Jayakrishnan
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to saute and grind

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 5 no red chilli
  • 2 no kashmiri red chillies
  • 4 nos garlic
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 cups grated coconut
  • 3-4 nos small onions

for the curry

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups small onions - sliced
  • 2 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 cup tamarind water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste

for tempering

  • 1.5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 no red chilli
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder


to prepare theeyal masala: saute and grind

  • heat coconut oil in a pan and add fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, curry leaves, red chilli, garlic and mix once. 
  • add grated coconut and small onions (2-3 nos) and fry until the coconut is reddish brown in colour. 
  • cool and grind it to fine paste. keep aside this theeyal masala until use

making of the curry

  • heat coconut oil and add sliced small onions, curry leaves and fry until it is pale. 
  • now add prepared theeyal masala i.e., coconut paste, tamarind water, adjust by adding water if needed. curry has to be thin so that it is simmered for 15 minutes. 
  • add salt, turmeric powder and mix well. close and cook for 15-20 minutes. 
  • open to check the oil specs leaving the curry. curry is done. 

for tempering

  • heat coconut oil and pop in mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilli and switch off. add turmeric powder, chilli powder and mix well. 
  • add the tempering to the curry and mix well. 
  • serve with rice. 



  1. you can also add a pinch of jaggery to equalize the sour and spice. 
  2. since we are using 2 cups of coconut, 5 red chillies wont make the curry much spicier. so add more red chillies if you need a spicy curry.