This Brinjal Theeyal has its origins in central Travancore and takes me back to my mother’s kitchen – she would prepare it often. The recipe, like quite a few others in Kerala, involves cooking a garden-fresh vegetable with roasted coconut paste and tamarind. The sharpness of chillies, the creaminess of coconuts and the tang of tamarind form the perfect base for the vegetable. Pair the Theeyal with rice for a perfect meal.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



  • 2 cups green brinjal, cut into long strips
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup sliced shallots
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 green chillies
  • 4 dry red chillies
  • 2 strips curry leaves
  • 1 lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  • Salt to taste

For Masala

  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel
  • 5 dry red chillies


  1. Soak tamarind in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Strain the pulp and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the masala ingredients – grated coconut, coriander seeds, red chillies and fennel – and fry on medium heat for around 15 minutes, until they turn dark brown. Let cool and then grind to a fine paste.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a pan. Toss in mustard seeds and when they splutter, add dry red chillies and curry leaves.
  4. Next, add shallots along with green chillies and sauté for around 5 minutes.
  5. Finally, put in the tamarind juice, turmeric powder, green brinjal and 1 cup water. Add salt to taste and let it boil.
  6. Once the brinjals are done, add the ground coconut paste and cook for 5 minutes. Your Green Brinjal Theeyal is ready to be served with rice.
Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew, co-owner and culinary director of Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai and Bengaluru, is Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for September. His culinary career, which began with the Taj Group of Hotels, has taken him to several countries, where he has learnt many cuisines. After 25 years in the F&B industry, he decided to closely explore the cuisine of his home state, Kerala. For three years, he travelled through the state, researching its food, and working with 265 housewives and 70 toddy shops, some of whom are now part of the restaurant’s kitchen. He has won several accolades in his career, including being adjudged the Chef of the Year at the Times Food Awards, Chennai, in 2018.

See more