Okra (Vendaikai) Theeyal


  • Okra – 6 to 8
  • Tamarind – a big gooseberry size

To fry and grind:

  • Coconut gratings – ½ cup
  • Red Chillies – 4 to 5
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin (Jeeragam) – 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek Seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • For seasoning:
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard – ½ teaspoon
  • Red Chillies – 2
  • Chopped Onion – 2 tablespoons
  • Curry Leaves – few
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon or as per taste

“Theeyal” is a typical Kerala dish. It is similar to Tamil Nadu “Kuzhambu”, but the difference is, in Theeyal all the spices along with coconut are fried to a brown colour, grind it to a fine paste and added to the Kuzhambu. It can be prepared with different vegetables and also only with sambar onion too. Here is the recipe for Okra Theeyal:


  1. Wash the okra and wipe it with clean cloth or paper towel. Cut it into 2 inch long pieces.
  2. Soak tamarind in little water and squeeze out the juice. Add sufficient water and make 2 cups of tamarind water.
  3. In a dry kadai put the coriander seeds and fry till it is hot to touch. Then add cumin, fenugreek and red chillies and fry for few seconds. Add coconut gratings and fry till it become light brown. Add turmeric powder and stir it well. Remove and cool it. Grind it to a fine paste.
  4. In a thick bottomed vessel put one teaspoon oil and add okra pieces along with a pinch of salt. Stir fry till light brown spots appear on the okra. Add ground paste and mix it well. Add tamarind water and salt. Stir it well and allow to boil on medium flame.
  5. In a small kadai put the oil and when it is hot add mustard. When it starts crackling add chopped onion, red chillies and curry leaves. Fry for few seconds and add this seasoning to the boiling kuzhambu and switch off the stove.
  6. Serve with hot rice accompanied by fried papad or with any mild vegetable poriyal.
  7. Note: You can also use red chilli/coriander/cumin powders instead of whole spices. In such case first put the coconut gratings in a kadai and dry fry till it become light brown. Then add one or two teaspoon red chilli powder, one tablespoon coriander powder, one teaspoon cumin powder and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and fry everything together for few more seconds. Cool it and grind it to a fine paste.


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