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Chemmeen Theeyal - Prawns in Roasted Coconut Gravy

Prawns Theeyal

Theeyal is one of the most cherished dishes of Kerala and lip-smacking delicious. It is a very traditional curry with a saucy tangy gravy with a rich dark color. It is a versatile gravy and you can use any vegetable of your choice. So now let's talk about the gravy. It is spicy and tangy coconut gravy and its wonderful aroma comes from roasted coconut. Perfectly roasted coconut brings in the rich dark color, right flavor, and consistency.

The gravy is simmered in tamarind sauce. There is a beautiful balance between the nutty sweet flavor of roasted coconut and the slightly tangy taste of tamarind. Added to this is the taste of prawns. Pearl onions or small onions add richness to the curry. Now when I say pearl onions, I mean a lot! You need lots of pearl onions in this curry. Theeyal sounds elaborate cooking, but it is a delightful curry and is worth the effort. This chemmeen/prawns is a great side dish for rice or pathiri.

Theeyal is part of Kerala Sadhya- traditional vegetarian feast There are different variations of theeyal This is similar to the Vazhuthanenga/eggplant theeyal and Pavakka or bitter gourd theeyal that I had posted earlier. Chemmeen Theeyal is for seafood lovers. Try this, you will surely love it!

There are lots of flavors that combine to make a perfect theeyal. Coconut is quintessential in Kerala cooking. The perfect roasting brings out the essential oils and makes it aromatic and flavorful. The color of the curry also depends on the roasting of the coconut. So make sure roast till brown for rich dark color. Curry leaves and coconut oil adds to the flavor. Below is how I prepare the roasted coconut. You can make a large batch if you prefer. You can refrigerate it for weeks and always have it on hand in your kitchen. It is versatile and you can cook any veggie of seafood of your choice.

How to make Prawns Theeyal

Prep and cooking time- 40 minutes
Recipe Type- Side dish
Cuisine- Kerala/ Indian

Prawns- 1 lb
Pearl onions sliced- 2 cup
Thinly sliced coconut pieces-  a few
Ginger- 3 inch thick
Green chilly- 2
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Tamarind- one lemon size
mustard seeds- 1/2
Curry Leaves- a few
Coconut Oil- 2 tbs

To roast
Coconut grated- 1 1/4 cup
Pearl onions- 4-5
Dry red chilly- 3
Chilly powder- 1 tbs
Coriander seeds- 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp
curry leaves- a few
Salt to taste
Coconut oil- 1 tsp

Roasting the coconut
Heat one tsp of oil in a pan and add coconut and fry in low flame for two to three minutes. Next add curry leaves, dry red chilly, pearl onion whole, coriander seeds, and fenugreek seeds. Roast this in low medium heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure it does not burn, or the gravy will turn bitter. When it is dark brown add chilly powder and roast for a few seconds and switch off the flame. Using a mixer blend this into a fine paste and set aside.
To make the theeyal 
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter thinly sliced coconut pieces and fry till golden brown. Now add sliced pearl onion, ginger, curry leaves and green chilly and fry till the onion becomes golden brown. Add turmeric and stir for one more minute. Now add the prawns and salt and saute till the prawns change color. Add half a cup of tamarind extract and allow this to boil. Finally, add the ground coconut paste and simmer for three minutes. Serve with rice.

You might also like,
Achinga Payar Chemmeen Theeyal
Pavakka/ Bitter gourd theeyal
Ulli Theeyal
Vazhuthanenga Theeyal
Eggplant Fry
Padavalanga Chemmeen Curry

Try this...
Hope you will all enjoy..


  1. Yummy prawn curry..feel like having it right now for breakfast..:-)..yum!

  2. Perfect Color and Wonderful picssss....Asusual...Droolinggggggggggg

  3. So authentic and spicy and yummy... looks so fab.. I cant wait to grab a plate of rice and finish off the whole plate.

  4. This looks so tempting! send me some!!

  5. beautiful looking it

  6. My utmost fav anu :) looks too good chechi :)

  7. Very nice recipe Suja...looks spicy and yum.

  8. O my, Suja, Killing me yaar...SOooooooooooo good , this is my fav seafood ever..perfect to the core..Sure, bookmarked

  9. Entamme, ethu ente fav dish annu..Looks so tempting! Great clicks!

  10. wow that looks and yummy

  11. Chemmen theeyal adipoli. theeyal ente favorite annu.

  12. That looks so spicy n flavorful..loved all the beautiful ingredients going in there!!

    US Masala

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. ayyo ithu kandittu kothi akunnu superb

  15. I can t take my eyes from the click...absolutely mouthwatery recipe..
    Tasty appetite

  16. different theeyal.looking too good.tangy looking curry

  17. wow...drooling here...wat a lovely tempting dish...Pls share some to serve for today's lunch...g8...

  18. wow..that looks so delicious...its one of my to have it with some rice....

  19. Slurp,fingerlicking dish, soooooo tempting theeyal..

  20. wow...thats tempting n appetizing..

  21. I'm drolling here. The gravy looks very hot and tangy..

    Hamaree Rasoi

  22. Love the colour of the gravy its come out so yum!

  23. Oh love it. I am a great fan of theeyal and shrimp. Them combined will be heavenly. Thank you for sharing

  24. Wow!!! looks very spice and delicious...

  25. Lip smaking dish. Looks spicy and delicious.

    Hamsamalini Chandrasekaran,

  26. Absolutely yummilious, mouthwatering recipe

  27. Awesome! This looks so good, can't tell you enough.

  28. Delicious looking prawn curry..perfect with rice!

  29. കണ്ടിട്ട് കൊതിയാകുന്നു

  30. adipoli...kandittu kothiyavunnu

  31. Thanks all for the wonderful comments:)

  32. i'll definitely try this recipe once we reach goa. thomas very fond of theeyal and with prawns...i don have to say anything more!!

    thank you for sharing!


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