While growing up, I hated the sight of beetroot in my food, except for the recipe in this post and beetroot halva. Tastes change with time and now this lovely veggie has become a part of my meal almost everyday.
We used to call all the dry or wet vegetable dishes as bhaji at home. At my husband’s place all dry or wet vegetable dishes are called as sabzi. When I use the word bhaji, they don’t understand what I say.
So for me in proper punjabi language, this recipe is beetroot ki sabzi. But it is not beetroot sabzi. It is not atleast the way the north indian sabzis are made.
My mom used to make this recipe and I used to call it beetroot bhaji. I knew that this was a recipe from Kerala, but technically I did not know the name of this recipe. I have also had this recipe made by the kerala restaurants in mumbai and the taste of this beetroot bhaji was awesome. I used to love the beetroo this way, then, and always would ask my mom to make it like this.
Now, thanks to the internet, I know that technically this recipe is of Beetroot Thoran. There are many Kerala recipes that mom makes, but I do not know what they are called in Malayalam.
Now what is a Thoran:
Thoran is a traditional Kerala dry vegetable recipe made with grated or finely chopped vegetables like yam (suran), bittergourd (karela) , cabbage (bandh gobhi), carrots (gajar) , beans (beans like chawli beans, french beans) , red amaranth leaves , drumsticks or drumstick leaves. The basic ingredients in which the vegetables are cooked are shallots, coconut, curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, green chili or red chili and coconut oil.
Thoran is one of the dishes that is served in the Sadya along with the other dishes. ( A Sadya is a grand feast where a vegetarian meal comprising of various dishes is served on a plantain/banana leaf.)
There are some variations in the thoran like adding ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, chili powder, using onions instead of shallots. In fact, my mom used to make a thoran of all the vegetables mentioned above.
If you do not like the raw taste of beetroot, than you should try this recipe. Its great. It goes very well with rotis, parathas and specially the Kerala Paratha and even steamed rice. You could also have this recipe as a side dish.
In this recipe, I wanted some spiciness that would soften the sweetness of beetroot and coconut. So, I added both red chili and green chili along with ginger. I also added coriander powder, red chili powder and crushed whole garam masala. This was my variation to this recipe and the beetroot thoran was awesome and great.
You can either chop the beetroots finely or grate them. Grated beetroots will cook faster than the chopped ones.
For all those who do not have fresh coconut, you could easily substitute with dry or dessicated coconut. Of course fresh coconut has a different taste, but the thoran tastes equally good with dessicated coconut too.
Beetroot Thoran recipe details below:
- 3 medium sized or 2 large beetroots (finely chopped or grated)
- 4 to 5 tsbp grated fresh coconut
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (optional)
- 4-5 shallots (quartered or sliced)
- 10-12 curry leaves (whole or chopped)
- 1 or 2 whole red chilies
- 1 green chili, finely chopped
- ¾ tsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp red chili powder (optional)
- 1 tsp coriander powder (optional)
- 1 cardamom, 2 peppercorns, ½ ” cinnamon, 1 clove ( crushed to a medium coarse powder in a pestle and mortar) or ¼ tsp garam masala (optional)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or sunflower oil
- salt as required
- Heat the coconut oil in a kadai or wok.
- Add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the cumin seeds.
- The cumin seeds will start to sizzle now.
- Immediately add the shallots.
- Fry the shallots on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
- Now add the whole red chili, chopped green chili and ginger.
- Fry for a minute.
- Add the curry leaves.
- Lower the flame & ddd all the dry masala powders including the crushed and powdered whole garam masala.
- Make sure not to burn the masala.
- Fry for a half a minute and then add the beetroot.
- Mix the chopped beetroot with salt.
- Cook the beetroot without a lid with occasional stirrings.
- If the beetroot is grated, they will cook faster.
- This takes approx 10-12 minutes for grated beetroot.
- You can also keep the beetroot slightly crunchy if you prefer.
- When the beetroot is cooked, add the grated coconut and cook for a minute or two just for the flavors to blend in.
- Switch off the flame.
- Serve Beetroot Thoran hot with rice, chapatis or even parathas.
You can also cover and cook the beetroot
if the moisture dries up and the thoran looks dry, then add some water while cooking