Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thellapulusu ~ The Mildly Spiced Traditional Coconut based Curry!

T hellapulusu meaning 'a white gravy', is a much common, homely coconut based curry we have for lunch, back in Kottayam ever since we can remember!

As kids, both sis and me loved this mildly spiced traditional curry which had varied vegetables cooked in it to perfection; a fine medley of spices, tanginess and sweetness, we never got fed up of!

Sis had already blogged about the thellapulusu with tomatoes and drumsticks cooked in it and all I had to do was download the pictures from the camera, copy and paste the recipe from her place, do a bit of variations and click the publish button ;)

To Serve 4, you need:

Brinjal - 2-3, each cut across into 2 large halves
1 drumstick, cut into 4" pieces
Thick tamarind water extracted from a small lime-sized ball of tamarind
Salt to taste

Grind to a paste:

1/2 cup grated coconut
4-5 shallots / ulli
1/2 tsp jeera
2 dry red chillies
A pinch of turmeric
A clove of garlic

For tempering:

A tbsp oil
A few fenugreek seeds / uluva / venthayam
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
4-5 shallots, minced
A few curry leaves


1. Boil 1- 1 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan or a kadai with turmeric powder and salt.Transfer brinjal and drumstick pieces to it and cook till half done.

2. Mix tamarind extract with the ground masala paste, pour to this and continue to boil on sim until the vegetable pieces are soft. Add water as necessary to keep the consistency right (same consistency as sambar). Remove and set aside.

3. Heat oil and add all the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard seeds have popped and the fenugreek seeds are roasted (take care not to burn them!), dunk them into the gravy. Mix well, adjust salt.

A little spicier version of the same pulusu made on another day, served hot with rice, vazhakka mezhukkupuratti and vendakka thoran.

Thellapulusu is also served as an accompaniment to Pal pongal in Southern parts of Tamil Nadu mainly in the village of Samooharangapuram of Tirunelveli district!

Here's Wishing you all a Very Happy Pongal before I pack off to our ancestral home for the festival!


  1. This sounds totally new to me....looks very tempting. Thick curry with hot rice...divine combo, always

  2. I could smell the masala's(though my nose is blocked). Thanks a lot for posting!

  3. I have never had this curry, i wish i was there for that lunch you have served in that pic, it is ages ago i did Indian food here, last time it was before christmas.

  4. eversince we had a trip to kerala I have been a fan of their food. even my whole family loved the meals there. love this curry and bookmarking this for making asap.

  5. My sister in law makes pacha mocha(Baby lima beans, surti papadi lilva)kuzhambu and it is this coconut based gravy. I simply love it.. should try this one too.. the pictures are simply mouth watering :) Happy Pongal to you & ur family.. celebrating it in the ancestral home this year too?

  6. Omg, makes me hungry, thats sooo tempting gravy..

  7. I am thru with my dinner today but this delicious curry, makes me hungry, again :-)

  8. yummy yum! amrith loves this too :)

  9. mouthwatering curry! slurp!!

  10. I love this pulusu introduced to me by my sweet Tamilian ex-neighbor. Never tried it with a combination of veggies though.
    Happy Pongal :-)

  11. This sounds excellent, and I've bookmarked!

  12. wow... i tried this curry came out really nice....thank u sooooo much...i've tried ur mochai sadam and arisi upma too....nice...thank u....


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