Whenever I post a new recipe, people have either one of two reactions. If it is someone who has known me for a while (read, since childhood), they are truly amazed at my culinary transformation. As for the rest, well, there are some who offer constructive criticism and others who even request certain recipes. But almost everyone asks me one thing. And that is, whether I really make each and every meal extra special with new items on the menu every day. And the answer is most definitely no!
It’s just that everyday recipes rarely make it to the blog. This is not the kind of blog that you want to refer to learn cooking from scratch. That being said, I do realize that what may be common and boring for me might be new and exotic to you, my reader. In the spirit of that, I give you today’s recipe.
In South India, a typical lunch or dinner plate will have rice, some kind of “curry” (like sambar or dal or mooru, a mild buttermilk and coconut based gravy) and a side of vegetable. At our house, we may also serve fish or chicken or at least an egg omelette, and a quick, easy and healthy meal is ready in no time.
The vegetable side dish is where one can get creative. The easiest and most common recipe to make is a typical Kerala style thoran or Tamil Nadu style poriyal. The word thoran or poriyal simply refers to stir-fried vegetables with an aromatic tadka of shallots, mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chilies. In Tamil cuisine, one might also add urad dal, cumin seeds, turmeric and coriander to the dressing. All of this simply depends on your taste and convenience.
Any seasonal vegetable can be used in this basic recipe, sometimes a couple of vegetables may be used together. I’ve used fresh green beans here. The recipe can be adapted to use long beans, carrots, beetroot, shredded cabbage, different kinds of gourds, even potatoes or a combination of your favorite vegetables. Lately, I’ve been making thoran/poriyal with asparagus and fresh green peas, and it is simply amazing!
Right now, we are in the process of shifting to a new home and a few of you have wondered why I’ve gone silent all of a sudden. I didn’t mean to leave the blog or my other social media pages unattended, but you know the kind of toll packing and moving can take on anyone. I have so many photos of recipes I made over a month ago, but I just do not have the time or energy to make them into blog posts. But please bear with me and you’ll see them all in due course. And then of course, there is the job of settling into the new place, figuring out the light for photography in the new place and setting aside a spot for my make-shift “studio”. It’s daunting and exciting at the same time, so say a little prayer for me, will ‘ya?!
Till then, meals at our place are going to be simple, easy affairs. Right now, I am cooking with just this skillet and another pan. And I suddenly realize that is all it takes to keep feeding my family good meals. I really don’t need the fancy pots and gadgets. But who am I kidding? I’ll be back to all my shenanigans in the kitchen in no time, fingers crossed!!
BEANS THORAN/PORIYAL (SOUTH INDIAN STYLE GREEN BEANS AND COCONUT STIR FRY)
You will need:
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves – a few, roughly torn
- Shallots – 2 tbsp, chopped (can also use red onions)
- Whole dried red chilies – 3-4
- Green beans – 1 lb, washed and diced into 1/4″ pieces
- Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
- Salt – to taste
- Heat oil in a deep skillet or pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they start to sizzle and crackle, add the onions and red chilies. Saute till onions are lightly golden.
- Then add the chopped green beans and stir fry for a minute or so. Sprinkle some water and salt, reduce heat to low, cook and cover till beans are just cooked.
- Open the lid, fold in the shredded or grated coconut and saute for a few more seconds to make sure there is no residual water in the pan.
- Remove from heat and serve hot along with rice and sambar or dal.
- I haven’t used urad dal in this recipe, but you can add 1/2 tbsp of urad dal (or dehusked black lentils) along with the mustard seeds and fry them till they just begin to change color. You can also add a pinch of turmeric and coriander powders along with the salt, but we actually prefer to have thoran without it.
- You can cook vegetables like carrots, beetroot, cabbage, long beans and gourds the same way. You can also try combinations like carrots-beans, cabbage-carrots-beans or my latest favorite, asparagus-green peas. Try it for yourself and see!
Served with homemade sambar and steamed white rice, this makes for one simple and wholesome South Indian meal.
Tell me, what is your blogging mantra when it comes to traditional, everyday recipes? Do you think I should post more? Here are some of our South Indian favorites to get you going.
- Sambar, a lentil-based soupy curry eaten with rice and dosas.
- Beetroot pachadi, beetroot cooked in a mild coconut and yogurt gravy.
- Ennai kathirikkai, spiced baby brinjals in a tangy gravy.
- South Indian red fish curry with tamarind and coconut milk.
- Keralan fish stew or fish moilee.
- Kongunadu style spicy chicken.
- Chettinad chicken curry.
- And of course, my favorite special occasion biryani, traditional Tamil Nadu style mutton biryani.
I am signing off for now and hope to come out unscathed in the move, so that I can get back to doing what I love – cooking, shooting and sharing!! Stay tuned.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
- Skip To My Lou
- Between Naps on the Porch
- Home Stories A To Z
- A Stroll Thru Life
- Cedar Hill Ranch
- Coastal Charm
- Elizabeth & Co
- Savvy Southern Style
- The NY Melrose Family
- The Turquoise Home
- Living Well Spending Less
- The Shabby Nest
- French Country Cottage
- My Romantic Home
- The Charm of Home
- Crafts a la Mode
- The Novice Gardener
- DIY Show Off
- Nifty Thrifty Things
- By Stephanie Lynn