Beetroot and ruby chard thoran

Beetroot and ruby chard thoran

By
From
I Love India
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Martin Poole

A thoran is a simple Southern stir-fry with mustard seeds, curry leaves, shallots, cumin and fresh coconut. It is a typical vegetable side dish served in Kerala, especially on feast days as part of a banana leaf-laden offering. This is a fairly typical recipe, as beetroot is a local vegetable they love to cook in this way. I have added the chard as I love the texture and earthiness it brings to the dish, and it feels virtuous with it as well! You can vary this recipe with a host of other vegetables and greens and, in fact, they also make thorans from leftover red meat and chicken, so you can add some of that in as well. I also often add a can of chickpeas if I am serving this as a main course, as the earthiness and mealiness work really well with these flavours. It is also a lovely side dish to serve with a lentil curry, grilled meats or Tamil-style Lemon Rice.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablepoons coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
2 teaspoon urad dal, (split and skinned black lentils), if you have them
2-4 dried chillies
20 fresh curry leaves
500g raw beetroots, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
salt
2 small shallots, or 1⁄2 red onion, quartered
80g grated fresh coconut, plus more to serve
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
18g finely chopped root ginger, (1 rounded tablespoon, peeled weight)
1 large garlic clove
14 large stems of ruby or rainbow chard, leaves shredded, tender stems sliced

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, lentils and dried chillies and reduce the heat. Once the popping of the mustard seeds starts to subside and the lentils have turned a light golden, add the curry leaves. Follow 5 seconds later with the chopped beetroot and some salt. Stir well for a few minutes, then reduce the heat.
  2. Cover and cook for 18–20 minutes, or until beginning to soften (it depends on how large the beetroot was chopped).
  3. Meanwhile, blend together the shallots or onion, coconut, cumin, ginger and garlic without any water. It will form a coarse paste.
  4. Add the paste to the beetroot and cook gently for 5–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the chard. Cook for another 3–4 minutes or until the whole thing is done. Taste and adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with the extra coconut and serve.
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