This is a recipe that I relish from my childhood.This is a Kerala dish made with small/sambar onions/shallots.It is easy to prepare as it does not involve prolonged cooking.The word 'ulli' in Malayalam means small onions/sambar onion/shallots.I think 'theeyal' stands for roasted.This recipe may not be authentic as there are several versions and changes made from region to region in Kerala,but this is the way I make it and enjoy it as a curry for lunch.
Small onions:1 cup
Coriander seeds:1 tbspn
Red chillies:2-3 depending on taste.
Cumin seeds(jeera)-1/2 tspn
Tamarind:quarter lemon size
Heat oil in a pan.Add coriander seeds,red chillies and coconut.Saute till the coconut turns brown. Put aside and let it cool and later grind them in a mixer adding water and tamarind.you can even soak the tamarind in water and the use that water for grinding.It depends on how much tanginess you prefer.
Meanwhile peel the skin of shallots and it they are too big chop them into small pieces.This can be a bit 'tearful' so it is recommended that you freeze the shallots(this will solidify their juices) or put them in water with their skins before chopping. After cleaning and chopping(smaller shallots can be left as such)roast them in little oil (if possible in the same pan in which the ground ingredients were sauteed).
Put the ground paste in a bowl and boil it after adding salt and water(if needed).Then add the roasted shallots to this gravy and heat through.Adjust salt and add more water if needed.Season in oil/ghee with curry leaves and jeera.Serve hot.
As far asI am concerned this goes well with idlis/dosas and is great with lunch.So I am sending this as well to Srivalli's-Curry Mela