Chemmeen Theeyal – Ulli Konju theeyal
Chemmeen Theeyal is one of the sea food delicacies of Kerala cuisine. Chemmeen Theeyal is a very traditional prawns dish prepared in Kerala. It is prepared with variety of ingredients in addition to prawns like small onion, drumstick, raw tomato, raw banana, raw mango, ridge gourd, capsicum, etc. Normally, it is a gravy based dish. The gravy is prepared by roasting coconut with very few spices, and grind to a smooth paste. Prawns and the remaining ingredients used are cooked in this gravy until the gravy thickens.
Chemmen or prawns is one of our favourites but in different preparation. When my husband likes it in spicy gravy, my daughter likes it fried. Mostly I prepare prawns fry rather than theeyal because fry doesn’t take much of my cooking time. More over, in Maldives, fresh prawns are not available and the available frozen doesn’t have the original taste. So better go for a fry. Two days before I got a packet of prawns which was comparatively small in size. I thought if i get kappa, i will prepare a theeyal with the same. Luckily, I got kappa yesterday and today prepared Kappa Kuzhachathu and Chemmeen Theeyal. Some how, I managed to get the colour of the home made theeyal.
- Prawns / Konju – 500 gm, cleaned and deveined
- Small Onion / shallots/ Kochulli – 300 gm, chopped
- Tamarind – 1 tsp or according to your taste
- Cooking oil / Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Coconut scraped – 1/2 rind, medium size
- Shallots – 4 pieces, thinly sliced
- Curry leaves – few
- Kashmiri Chilly powder – 2 tbsp
- Coriander Powder – 1 tbsp
- Oil – 1 tbsp
How to Prepare the Theeyal?
- Heat oil in a pan and roast coconut, shallots and curry leaves over medium heat (stirring continuously) until it turns to brown in colour, not burnt brown.
- Add coriander and chilly powder when the coconut is done (you can chew and find out whether coconut is done or not, if it crisp it is done)
- Let it cool and grind to a smooth paste with little water (it should be a thick paste)
- Heat oil in a pan and fry shallots with a pinch of salt until it turns transparent
- Stir in coconut paste and tamarind pulp (about 2 tbsp extracted from 1 tsp of tamarind) and fry until the oil start separating
- Add 1 cup of water and bring it to boil
- Add prawns and adjust the salt, cover and cook for 3-4 mins
- Remove the lid and cook over simmering until the gravy thickens
Now the Chemmeen Theeyal is ready. Let it cool to the room temperature and serve it with Kappa, Rice, or anything of your choice.
Note: Seasoning can also be done before frying onion or after preparing theeyal as a topping. Seasoning enhances the taste as well as the aroma of the dish.