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Vendaikai Theeyal

“Theeyal” is a traditional dish from Kerala, reminiscent of Tamil Nadu’s “Kuzhambu”. The key distinction lies in the preparation method – in Theeyal, all the spices and coconut are fried until they turn a rich brown color, then ground into a fine paste before being added to the Kuzhambu. This flavorful dish can be made with various vegetables or simply with sambar onions.

This delicious theeyal dish is best enjoyed with steaming hot rice and a side of crispy fried papad or a flavorful vegetable poriyal. Check out this link for a tasty mixed vegetable fry recipe to complement your meal: Mixed Vegetable Fry Recipe.

Vendaikai Theeyal

Recipe by S Kamala
Recipe rating: N/A
Course: Kuzhambu, SidesCuisine: Indian, KeralaDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



This Kerala dish is made with Vendaikai (Ladies finger), coconut and tamarind. This theeyal is served with hot rice accompanied by fried papad or with any mild vegetable poriyal.


  • Okra (Vendaikai) – 8 to 10

  • Tamarind – a big gooseberry size

  • To fry and grind:
  • Coconut gratings – ½ cup

  • Red Chillies – 5 to 6

  • 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


  • Wash the okra and wipe it with clean cloth or paper towel. Cut it into 2 inch long pieces.
  • Soak tamarind in little water and squeeze out the juice. Add sufficient water and make 2 cups of tamarind water.
  • 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.
  • Remove and keep it asie.
  • Same Kadai add coconut gratings and fry till it become light brown.
  • Add turmeric powder and stir it well. Remove and cool it.
  • Put all the fried ingredients into a mixie jar and grind it to a fine paste.
  • 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 along with little water and mix it well.
  • Add tamarind water and salt. Stir it well and allow to boil on medium flame.
  • In a small kadai add 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.

Recipe Video


  • Alternatively, you can use powdered forms of red chili, coriander, and cumin instead of whole spices. Begin by placing the coconut gratings in a kadai and dry roasting them until they turn light brown. Next, add one or two teaspoons of red chili powder, one tablespoon of coriander powder, one teaspoon of cumin powder, and a quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder. Fry all the ingredients together for a few more seconds, then allow to cool and grind into a fine paste.
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