Drumstick Theyal (Drumstick Vegetables with Tamarind and Coconut)

Drumsticks are popular Keralan vegetables, Reza showcases this unusual vegetable by serving it in a tart tamarind sauce
By Reza Mahammad
Drumstick Theyal (Drumstick Vegetables with Tamarind and Coconut)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus 15 mins soaking time
  • Effort: medium


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 100 g grated coconut
  • 3 red chillies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

For the curry:

  • 50 g tamarind
  • 150 ml hot water
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 2 drumsticks
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 150 ml water
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

For the finishing spices:

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 12 curry leaves

Tips and Suggestions

Instead of soaking the tamarind, you can buy concentrated tamarind pulp from supermarkets. Drumsticks can be bought from Asian grocers.


1. First make the coconut paste:
heat a griddle or heavy frying pan and add the coconut oil, grated coconut, red chillies, coriander seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds and shallots. Stir and fry over a low heat until the coconut turns golden. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool. Blend the coconut mixture to a smooth paste in a food processor. You could also use a mortar and pestle.

2. For the curry: soak the tamarind in hot water for 15 minutes. Mash it into the water and strain to remove any seeds and fibre. Set aside while you fry the masala.

3. Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a saucepan, add the onions and stir and fry for about 10 minutes, until they have softened.

4. Peel the drumsticks and split them in half along their length. Slice into 4cm pieces and add to the onions. Stir to mix while still on the heat and sprinkle in the curry leaves, green chillies and water followed by the turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the drumsticks have softened. Pour in the tamarind water and bring to a boil again.

5. Add a generous tablespoon of the browned coconut paste to the curry. Stir to mix and keep warm while you fry the finishing spices.

6. Heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan, toss in the mustard seeds followed by the red chillies and curry leaves. Swirl the spices around for a couple of seconds before adding them to the curry.

7. Serve hot with rice.

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