Monday, September 2, 2013

Muringakka Theeyal

Theeyal is a delicious tangy curry that's popular in Kerala. Some of the popular theeyal are:
Ulli Theeyal : made with red pearl onions
Muringakka Theeyal : made with muringakka (moringa oleifera pods)
Pavakka Theeyal : made with bitter gourd

Here is a recipe for muringakka theeyal.

Muringakka/Drumsticks (moringa oleifera pods) - 3-5 nos.
Red pearl onions - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Black peppercorns - 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Dried Red chillies - 8 + 3 nos.
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
Water - 1 cup
Asafoetida - a pinch
Jaggery - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Salt to taste


Wash the drumsticks and chop off the dry ends. I also gently scrape them with the blade of my knife, because I've seen my mom do this as well. Cut the drumsticks in 2 inch sizes. Peel the red onions.
Tip: Soaking the red pearl onions in water for about 10 mins, will helps the skin peel off easily.
Chop a quarter of those onions.
In a pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the chopped onions, grated coconut, black peppercorns, coriander seeds and 8 whole red chillies. Roast it on a medium heat till the coconut turns brown. Ensure that you are stirring constantly so that there roasting is even, and the coconut does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. This takes about 10-15 mins of roasting. Here's a before and after photo:
Allow it to cool and add a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds. (I also added a pinch of red chilli powder and a pinch of coriander powder, but its optional) Grind this mixture with about 2 tbsp of water to a smooth paste like chutney.

In the same pan, heat another tablespoon of oil. Add the red pearl onions and give it a swirl for about a minute on medium heat. Add the chopped drumsticks and fry for about a minute. Add turmeric powder and mix. Dissolve a tablespoon of tamarind paste in a cup of water. Pour this into the pan. Add salt and bring it to a boil. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes. Add the ground mixture to this, add more water if required. Let it cook for about 10 minutes on low heat. Add a pinch of asafoetida and a tablespoon of shaved jaggery. (it's not going to taste sweet, it helps in cutting the extreme sourness).

In another small frying pan, heat a teaspoon of oil. Splutter mustard seeds, add a sprig of curry leaves and break 3 dried red chillies into it. Temper it for half a minute and pour the mixture into the theeyal.

Serve with rice and other sides of your choice.