Eating seasonal veg is really important to us Locavore folks as it means we get the tastiest most sustainable produce. However, it doesnt mean we have to eat the same things all the time. There’s no reason we can’t pair great Scottish produce with flavours & cooking techniques from anywhere.
This is one of my fave ways to prep veg when I want something quick and tasty. Here I have used chard and beans but really you can use anything. I cannot think of a vegetable I would not make Thoran from. It’s a great side with rice, a thali, or a piece of meat or fish.
Thoran is a dish from the South of India, I ate it a lot in Kerala where the curry leaves & coconuts grow. If you have never tried South Indian cuisine I really hope you get chance to one day. It is distinct from the curry house flavours we are used to in the UK. South Indian food is lighter and more simple, often just utilising a few spices and some herbs.
The main flavours are mustard seeds and curry leaves. Fresh curry leaves make a big difference here as there are not many ingredients. I buy lot of them when I can and freeze them. However, if you really cannot get fresh then use dried just use a little more as the taste is duller. I like that there is no garlic chopping or elaborate spice preparation. This dish is really quick and easy.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 bag Locavore chard (about 200g)
- a few green beans
- a small onion (or 2 spring onions)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 10 fresh curry leaves
- 1 fresh chilli (just use whatever chilli you like to give the heat you prefer – you can also use dried chilli)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 tbsp dried coconut
- Coriander leaves to garnish
Preparation (takes about 10 minutes):
Slice the onion thinly (about 2mm thick)
Put the coconut oil into a small saucepan or frying pan & heat to a really high heat (almost smoking). You are going to add the mustard seeds & they need to pop straight away. You can test the oil by adding one seed at a time until they pop and fizz. When the oil is sufficiently hot add all the mustard seeds at once followed by the cumin seeds.
Once the spices start to turn brown (takes only 10-20 seconds) add the curry leaves (stand back they may spit a bit) quickly followed by the chilli, onion & a small splash of water to cool the pan down & stop the spices burning. Add a pinch of salt
Keep the heat low & cook the onions gently for 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile chop the stalks of the chard & add those to the pan. Prep your beans by blanching in salted boiling water for a few minutes. Shred the chard leaves
The coconut should be toasted in a dry pan until a light brown nutty colour.
Once the onions & chard stalks are soft add the shredded chard leaves and turmeric. Wait for the leaves to wilt & add the blanched beans and most of the toasted coconut. Add more salt & some pepper if you like & stir everything together. Test the seasoning.
Serve and eat straight away with the extra coconut & coriander for garnish.