Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

Indian Vegie Feast #4 -green bean thoran

Green Bean Thoran

Green Bean Thoran

Cracking open a coconut with the back of a machete is not a task for the feint of heart. It requires confidence, boldness and a level of adroitness beyond my capability.

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but I never considered needing to open the coconut when romanticising about scraping the flesh from a fresh coconut to use in the bundle of recipes I collected whilst participating in cooking schools across the south of India, so I bought myself a rather lethal looking coconut scraper, stowed it in my luggage and lugged it home.

coconut grater

coconut grater

Thoran is the generic name applied to a range of coconut based vegetable dishes, one of which always feature on the traditional “Sadhya” meal served on a banana leaf at Keralan celebrations. I wanted to have access to fresh coconut to make the recipes I had enjoyed making and in the cooking classes in Kerala.

Paralysed with fear at the thought of cracking a coconut open, the grater was pushed to the back  of the cupboard and the desire to make thoran was relegated to the back of my mind until late last year my blogging friend Francesca at “Almost Italian” mentioned a book of Indian food she was reluctant to return to her local library. I have great respect for Francesca’s culinary assessments so I also borrowed a copy of the book, “Spice Kitchen” by Ragini Dey, and there was a recipe for Green Bean Thoran using that ubiquitous pantry staple, desiccated coconut.

I hope you enjoy this recipe too.

Green Bean Thoran – serves 4 with other dishes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

6 curry leaves

350g green beans topped, tailed, sliced 3cm long

1 long red chilli, sliced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 scant tablespoons desiccated coconut

Heat the oil in a small pan that has a tight fitting lid.

Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop. Add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves to lightly toast.

Add the beans, chilli, ginger and salt, stir to coat the beans in oil then cover tightly and cook for 10 – 15 minutes over a low heat, tossing the pan from time to time to prevent the beans from sticking.

When the beans are cooked, add the coconut, cook for another 2 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

22 comments on “Indian Vegie Feast #4 -green bean thoran

  1. Conor Bofin
    March 19, 2017

    Fresh coconut is so much better than processed. This looks lovely Sandra.

    Like

  2. Beck @ Goldenpudding
    March 18, 2017

    I haven’t got a coconut grater, but we buy them fairly often just for the kids to eat fresh coconut 🙂 We follow the same method as Linda with the screwdriver, but then pop the coconut on a towel and hit with a hammer or heavy object…

    Like

  3. Debi @ My Kitchen Witch
    March 17, 2017

    I adore this. Both beans and coconut are favourites of mine, but I’ve never had them combined. Bookmarked for trial later in summer when beans dominate the market. Where did the word thoran come from? A quick web search revealed nothing on its etymology, but I did find a cheera thoran made with amaranth – Greek vlita, the most common summer green here. I can see kitchen experiments in my future!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 17, 2017

      The combination of beans coconut and curry leaves is delicious. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve eaten this in the last couple of months. Look forward to seeing what you do with your Greek thoran

      Like

  4. Eha
    March 17, 2017

    Well, obviously I have a lot to learn as the word ‘thoran’ is today’s one to make part of my vocabulary 🙂 ! I actually was taught to open coconuts on my many family visits to Fiji but that seems long ago and far away now and with no smiling males to help if one gets stuck, the supermarket will also have to do !! Do like the look of that grater tho’ . . . and that dish . . . You are making March interesting . . .

    Like

  5. Lisa @ cheergerm
    March 17, 2017

    That’s one crazy looking implement! I have a fear of opening coconuts, did it once years ago, didn’t go well…this sounds and looks tops. Am going to go look up Meera as well. Thanks for feeding my Indian food obsession Sandra. 🤗

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 17, 2017

      You’re most welcome Cheery. Enjoy Meera Sodha and bean thoran with coconut off the supermarket shelf

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Michelle
    March 17, 2017

    I’ve always used the Mr. Linda Duffin method, except with a hammer instead of paving stones. That tool you have is very interesting looking. And the dish sounds quite delicious.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 17, 2017

      The tool is for grating, but you have to have 2 clean halves to make it effective. Too hard for me and I’m no quitter.

      Like

  7. Francesca
    March 17, 2017

    Thanks for the shout-out Sanda. This dish looks great: I am sure I had something like that when I was in Kerala.
    I was hoping that you would overcome your coconut fears and bash that thing open and use your amazing gadget!!! I must admit, when travelling in Asia, coconuts are cheap and prolific and the markets always have a coconut milk machine to extract the juice and/or flesh for you. But here they are so expensive and then the fear factor kicks in. Using good quality dessicated coconut makes this dish suit my budget and seasonal approach to food.
    Might have to join you in your cook Indian month.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 17, 2017

      It’s actually the curry leaes that make this dish. No complaints about Indian veg here. None I’ve made have long drawn out recipes, except of course unless you’re going to make your own coconut milk, so my level of enthusiasm has been easily maintained. Another blogger recommended “Fresh India” by Meera Sodha to me. I’ve got the library copy, coveting it madly! Lots of lovely veg recipes

      Liked by 1 person

      • Francesca
        March 17, 2017

        I loved the way curry leaves were used in kerala , whole branches at a time. Since then , I’ve shown no restraint. Must order a library copy of meeta sodha. Thanks for the tip Sandra l .

        Like

      • Francesca
        March 17, 2017

        Just checked Meera Sodha ‘s online recipes. Drooling.

        Like

  8. chefkreso
    March 17, 2017

    Sounds amazing, I prepare something similar, love it a s a side dish or a dish for itself 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Linda Duffin
    March 16, 2017

    My husband has a very simple method although not one you’re ever likely to see on a TV cookery show. He jabs a screwdriver through the ‘eyes’ (this sounds very violent) and drains the coconut water then breaks open the nut by chucking it from a height onto the paving stones outside the kitchen. It’s remarkably effective. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • ladyredspecs
      March 17, 2017

      Ha ha My Dad used to do something similar when I was a kid, although a hammer was involved. I live in an apartment, so available paving without using the poolside is limited. Not sure the neighbours would appreciate coconut chips in the swimming pool…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Duffin
        March 17, 2017

        No, lobbing coconuts off the balcony or out of the window might be deemed anti-social. 🙂

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: