The first time I encountered this recipe was on the OPOS FB forum when a member had posted about Ullitheeyal with so much joy ! She was raving about the ability to complete the dish from start to end in 10 minutes and that too with minimum oil. Kerala foods have a distinct flavor on their own (mainly from coconut) and this is probably one Keralite dish I love, but only next to Aviyal.
Here is how I made Ullitheeyal –
As a first step, I ground some fresh masala. If you have read my other posts, you will know I am a sucker for fresh masalas even at the cost of losing the OPOS tag. Freshly ground masalas elevate the dish to a different level.
In a pan, heat 3 teaspoons of sesame oil. I am not a big fan of strong coconut oil flavor so I am choosing to use sesame oil. You can substitute with coconut oil. To this add, 3 dry red chillies, 1 teaspoon dhania (coriander seeds) , 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin and peppercorns. Saute this on low to medium heat for about 5 minutes. You cannot miss the fragrance of the roasted spices wafting through in your kitchen. At this stage, add 1/2 cup of coconut scrapings. Saute until the coconut turns light golden in color. Now remove from flame and cool. Grind the spices with 1 small gooseberry size tamarind and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend this in a mixer jar to fine paste. Our masala is now ready.
Next, in a 2 liter pressure cooker, layer 3 teaspoons each of sesame oil and water. Add 1/2 cup of chopped shallots/ pearl onions. On top of this, layer the ground masala paste. Close the cooker, fix the weight and cook at high flame (1400w in induction) for 5 minutes or 3 whistles. Remove from heat source and release pressure manually. Add 1/2 cup of hot water and mix well.
Next, make tadka – in a pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil and add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter. Now add 1 sprig of curry leaves. Alternatively if you have stocked bottled tadka in you pantry, use it. Pour the tadka over the Ullitheeyal. Serve with hot rice and ghee. This goes well as a side dish for most of the south Indian tiffin items like Idli/dosa as well.
Here is the video recipe