Keralan Thoran

Keralan Vegan Recipe

Hate food waste? Yep so do I…I’m embarrassed by my militancy. When the Maharani decides it’s finally time to clear out the fridge I’m the one who’s clinging to that jar of tartar sauce dated 2014… ‘but there’s still some left’ . Tartar sauce aside, there’s usually a noble recipe to resuscitate those left over ingredients, which are mainly found in the veggie drawer. Carrots, which have become so spongy you could use them in the shower, green beans suffering from an erectile dysfunction and cabbage which never seems to fade. Luckily for us those inventive cooks in that gorgeous sliver of Indian coastline, Kerala, know exactly what to do with unloved vegetables…but you don’t need them to be on their last legs to give this recipe a spin. In fact, this dish has become an unshakeable infatuation, light yet heavy on flavour, quick and yet complex combinations and with the introduction of life giving spices Thoran possesses that elusive quality…it’s a mood enhancer. Its’ vegan credentials are uncompromising and I’m reminded that Indian vegan recipes are amongst the best on the planet…not sure? Give Thoran the time of day.

Serves 2 or 4 as a side

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dried Kashmiri chillies, each broken into pieces
  • 1tsp ginger paste
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 250g pointed cabbage, shredded into 5mm pieces
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 10 green beans, diced
  • 2 green chillies, sliced into thin rounds, with seeds
  • 100g grated coconut/desiccated coconut
Keralan Thoran

How To Make Thoran

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan set over a medium heat, and, when hot, add the mustard seeds followed by the curry leaves, cumin seeds and dried chillies. Stir for about 30 seconds, then add the ginger paste, turmeric, salt and black pepper and fry for 30 seconds.

Stir in the cabbage, beans and carrots and cook, covered, over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, adding a splash of water if they start to stick to the pan. Stir in the green chillies and coconut, heat through for a minute and serve.

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