Friday, 27 January 2012

Beetroot Thoran

I've always had a bit of a love hate relationship with beetroot; sometimes I can't get enough of it, and other times I push it away. I soon realised what the difference was; pickled or spicy beetroot preparations won favour over those paired with goats cheese. I still treat them with caution and they're not that kind of vegetable that I go rushing towards, but this dish helped get me in the right direction.

Thoran is from South India - more specifically, Kerala - and is a dry one, made by stir-frying vegetables with coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds over a high heat. The coconut becomes more fragrant with the toasting of its flesh while the curry leaves impart their flavour to an otherwise simple dish.

While I wouldn't make it specifically to eat on it's own, it went very well with other saucy dishes such as the cauliflower and pea dhal that the grilled mackerel was sitting on. The earthy beetroot works well with the rich coconut flavours, and a squeeze of lemon brought it all to life.

You can use different vegetables with this; cabbage also works, as does green beans. Anything that can take a bit of stir-frying heat.

Beetroot Thoran

Serves 4 as a side

2 large beetroots, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 red onion sliced into half moons
2 green chillis chopped roughly
2 tsp black mustard seeds
3 tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut - though grated fresh is best but a bit of a ballache
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 small handful of coriander, chopped
1 lemon
A hearty pinch of salt

Simmer the cubes of beetroot in water for 5 minutes, until tender. Drain well.

Heat up some vegetable oil and add the mustard seeds. Take the curry leaves off the sprig and add them. When the seeds begin to pop, add the red onion and the chilli and stir fry until softened. Add the beetroot, turn the heat right up and stir fry for a minute, then add the coconut and continue to stir-fry for another few minutes. It should be smelling nice and fragrant now. Add the lemon juice, salt and coriander, take off the heat and serve immediately.


Miss Whiplash said...

I love beetroot... I might actually make this tonight :-) Yum.
Pickley types definitely best, but that's really like a general rule for life.

German said...

I dont really love beetroot but I really like the beetroot health benefits. Beetroot is one of the most environmentally friendly crops, rarely needing treatment with pesticides. Beetroot has Vitamin B (Vitamin B2) that hep your body to create red blood cells, and also helping to boost stamina and make muscles work more efficiently to reducing blood pressure. Also contain Vitamin B3 good for the digestive system, the skin and central nervous system.

Nice recipe!

Katie said...

Ah - I always order this at Rasa N16 (it's always the veg special at the one that serves meat) but never knew what it was called. So thanks for the recipe, will definitely try it at home now. I've never cooked with beetroot before, a bit wary of the mess...

Paunchos said...

Looks delicious. Ideal for feeding my beetroot fetish. Perfect with some nice mackerel.

Tiff said...

Looks really good...I live in a house share with 5 others and strangely all of us are mad for beetroot so I think I will definitely give this a go to mix it up a bit!

Sheena said...

I know this is quite an obvious thing to say, but those colours are just so pretty!

Was looking for a spicy beetroot side dish earlier this week when I was cooking a Gujarati meal, wish I'd come across this recipe then! Will def. bank it for next time.

Dhal also looks fab, would love to know how you made it.

Shu Han said...

ok i actually went to get black mustard seeds for this. going to do it for supper in a while ;) excited.

Unknown said...

That's a very nice looking beetroot thoran. I've posted a link to your recipe with my own recipe for beetroot thoran.
I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food,
best wishes, Cheeku Bhasin