Carrot and Green Bean Thoran
November 27, 2011 • Spiritual Adventures
In Kerala, one of the most common vegetable preparations is thoran. Chopped vegetables are cooked with black mustard seeds and coconut for a light healthy dish that is very quick to prepare – it can be ready in about 15 minutes. Thoran can be made with lots of different vegetables. I like to combine carrots and green beans, for nice bright colors and contrast.
3/4 cup green beans, cut into 1″ lengths
3/4 cup chopped carrots, cut to the same size
3/4 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated coconut, fresh if available, or frozen
3/4 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 dried red chili, seeds removed, broken into a few pieces
1 teaspoon turmeric
5 or 6 curry leaves, if available
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
a little chopped cilantro
1. Heat a little oil in a saucepan.
2. When it is hot, add mustard seeds, chili pieces and curry leaves (if available.) Keep a lid handy as the curry leaves will sputter and pop.
3. When the mustard seeds stop popping (10-20 seconds) immediately add the chopped onion and stir
4. Add the coconut, turmeric and salt and stir well.
5. Reduce the heat and cook the onion for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary so they don’t brown too much.
6. Add the carrots and a little water and turn up the heat a little so that the carrots cook through.
7. When the carrots are almost done, add the green beans and a little more water and cook a few more minutes until the green beans are the way you like them.
8. Garnish with some chopped cilantro.
Frozen coconut is available at any good supermarket and a package in the freezer is a very versatile ingreadient for South Indian cooking. Grating it fresh from a coconut is better, but quite a bit of work, and the quality of supermarket coconuts can be quite unreliable. Curry leaves are an important ingredient in South Indian food, but are somewhat hard to find except at Indian grocery stores. This dish tastes delicious without curry leaves, and there’s nothing that can really substitute for them, so don’t worry if you don’t have them. You should cook the vegetables to your taste – some people like them almost raw and crunchy, others a little softer. I sometimes use the microwave to precook slower vegetables and then throw them all in at the same time.
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