Okra Theeyal or Okra in Roasted Coconut Gravy

A popular South Indian vegetarian delicacy and one of my favorite veggie curries…

I love anything that’s made with roasted coconut. In Kerala, there a lot of curries made with roasted coconut: fish curries, veggie curries etc. In fact, most of the Kerala veggie dishes have coconut added to it. Don’t be surprised as Kerala is the land of coconuts. Also, most of the curries can be also made without roasting the coconut, just by adding the ground coconut paste. However, by roasting the coconut along with some spices and then pureeing it to a paste and combining it with fish or veggies enhances the taste of that dish greatly. Whoever has tried both the versions would definitely agree with me.

I had already posted the recipe for making fish in roasted coconut gravy, check that out it tastes really delicious. Well, this dish is very similar to that, only difference is that okra is added instead of fish. This is called theeyal, theeyal means ‘burnt dish’ as the coconut is roasted till it gets brown or slightly burnt. This can be also made with shrimp, eggplant, drumstick etc.

Okra Theeyal

Ingredients

For roasting coconut

  • Oil- 2 tbsp
  • Coconut, grated- 1 cup
  • Shallots or small onion, chopped – 4 shallots or 1 small onion
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper corns- 1 1/2 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder- 1 1/2 tsp ( if using regular chili powder use less as it’s more spicier than kashmiri chili powder)
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Water- 3/4 cup to grind coconut

While cooking:

  • Coconut oil or vegetable oil- 3 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 2 tsp
  • Red dry chili- 2
  • Okra- 20, chopped into 1 inch round slices
  • Shallots or small onions, chopped long and thin- 3 shallots or 10 small onions
  • Water- 1/4 cup
  • Salt- to taste
  • Ground pepper- if you need it to be spicy
  • Tamarind paste- 4 tbsp, soak 2 inch fresh tamarind slice in 4 tbsp warm water

Instruction

Roasting coconut:

  • Place a large non-stick cooking pan over medium heat, add oil and add grated coconut, shallots and curry leaves to it.
  • Stir fry the coconut frequently till it turns light brown in color.
  • Don’t leave it unattended as the coconut will burn pretty fast, so keep stirring it.
  • Once the coconut has turned light brown, add coriander seeds, black pepper corns, kashmiri red chili powder and turmeric powder.
  • Saute for a minute and remove the pan from the heat, let the coconut cool down.
  • In a blender, puree the roasted coconut along with 3/4 cup water to a smooth paste, keep aside.
Making the Theeyal:
  • Chop okra into 1 inch slices and shallots to thin long slices.
  • Heat a pan over medium heat, add coconut oil and let it turn hot.
  • Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add dry red chili and saute for a few seconds.
  • Add okra and shallots, combine well.
  • Cook covered for a few minutes till okra starts to turn tender.
  • Add little water if the okra is sticking to the pan.
  • Once the okra has turned tender, add the ground coconut paste, combine well.
  • Add salt and water to thin down the gravy.
  • Cook covered for 5 to 10 minutes till the gravy starts to thicken.
  • Soak 2 inch slice fresh tamarind in 4 tbsp warm water for 5 minutes, squeeze the tamarind using your fingers to release the juice.
  • Strain the tamarind juice, discard the seeds and skin.
  • Add the tamarind juice to the okra theeyal and combine well.
  • Taste and add more salt, ground pepper or tamarind if needed.
  • Let come to a slight boil and remove from the heat.
  • You could make the gravy thick or thin depending on your preference.
  • Keep covered for sometime so that the flavors will incorporate well and serve with rice, orotti, chapati, pathiri etc.

 Tips:

  • Instead of okra use shrimp, eggpant, drumstick or fish. I prefer shrimp.

 

Okra Theeyal or Okra in Roasted Coconut Gravy
 
Ingredients
For roasting coconut
  • Oil- 2 tbsp
  • Coconut, grated- 1 cup
  • Shallots or small onion, chopped - 4 shallots or 1 small onion
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper corns- 1½ tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder- 1½ tsp ( if using regular chili powder use less as it's more spicier than kashmiri chili powder)
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Water- ¾ cup to grind coconut
While cooking
  • Coconut oil or vegetable oil- 3 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 2 tsp
  • Red dry chili- 2
  • Okra- 20, chopped into 1 inch round slices
  • Shallots, chopped long and thin- 3 shallots or use 10 small onion
  • Water- ¼ cup
  • Salt- to taste
  • Ground pepper- if you need it to be spicy
  • Tamarind paste- 4 tbsp, soak 2 inch fresh tamarind slice in 4 tbsp warm water
Instructions
Roasting coconut
  1. Place a large non-stick cooking pan over medium heat, add oil and add grated coconut, shallots and curry leaves to it.
  2. Stir fry the coconut frequently till it turns light brown in color.
  3. Don't leave it unattended as the coconut will burn pretty fast, so keep stirring it.
  4. Once the coconut has turned light brown, add coriander seeds, black pepper corns, kashmiri red chili powder and turmeric powder.
  5. Saute for a minute and remove the pan from the heat, let the coconut cool down.
  6. In a blender, puree the roasted coconut along with ¾ cup water to a smooth paste, keep aside.
Making the Theeyal
  1. Chop okra into 1 inch slices and shallots to thin long slices.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat, add coconut oil and let it turn hot.
  3. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  4. Add dry red chili and saute for a few seconds.
  5. Add okra and shallots, combine well.
  6. Cook covered for a few minutes till okra starts to turn tender.
  7. Add little water if the okra is sticking to the pan.
  8. Once the okra has turned tender, add the ground coconut paste, combine well.
  9. Add salt and water to thin down the gravy.
  10. Cook covered for 5 to 10 minutes till the gravy starts to thicken.
  11. Soak 2 inch slice fresh tamarind in 4 tbsp warm water for 5 minutes, squeeze the tamarind using your fingers to release the juice.
  12. Strain the tamarind juice and discard the seeds and skin.
  13. Add the tamarind juice to the okra theeyal and combine well.
  14. Taste and add more salt, ground pepper or tamarind if needed.
  15. Let come to a slight boil and remove from the heat.
  16. You could make the gravy thick or thin depending on your preference.
  17. Keep covered for sometime so that the flavors will incorporate well and serve with rice,orotti,chapati,pathiri etc.
Notes
Instead of okra use shrimp, eggpant, drumstick or fish. I prefer shrimp.

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