Butternut Squash Thoran


Butternut Squash Thoran by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

I love butternut squash roasted in the oven and it’s the best in soup! But if you’ve never made thoran using this pretty orange squash, then you’ve been missing out.

If you’re not familiar with Indian food – Keralite food to be exact – then you probably don’t know what thoran is. It’s basically just a method of preparing vegetables that calls for curry leaves and shredded coconut. The unique citrusy flavor of curry leaves infuses into the butternut squash, which is coated with coconut oil and unsweetened coconut. I think the reason I love using the thoran method of preparing vegetables is because it highlights the vegetable (or technically a fruit in this case) without overpowering it.

You can find unsweetened shredded coconut at your local Indian grocery store for a great price (it’s actually what I use when I make homemade coconut milk). You can also find curry leaves there – or you can order fresh curry leaves on amazon. I always buy extra and store them in my freezer.

You can make thoran with any type of vegetable – in fact, I have several other thoran recipes on the blog and this doesn’t even begin to cover the possibilities:

If you can find peeled organic butternut squash (thank you, Costco) then making this dish will be an absolute breeze. What do you want to see me make thoran out of next? 🙂Butternut Squash Thoran by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

Butternut Squash Thoran

Butternut Squash Thoran by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

Butternut Squash Thoran

4.5 from 4 reviews
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  • 2 pounds peeled butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 15 curry leaves
  • ½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (can find
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric


  • Add the butternut squash to a pot and cover with water. Bring this to a boil and once it boils, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
  • Meanwhile blend the onion and the Serrano peppers in a food processor.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat.
  • Add the mustard seeds and once they begin to pop, add the curry leaves and the onion/serrano mixture.
  • Saute for 5 minutes then add the shredded coconut, salt and turmeric. Mix well, then add the butternut squash and the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
  • After a minute, turn off the heat and serve.
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Kevin says

    is there an instant pot version of this? i find it hard to “go back to the stovetop” after using an IP 🙂 btw your recipes are amazing and have kept the household fed during the pandemic keep it up thanks!!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Kevin, I have the same issue lol. I’ve been slowly updating posts to include both sets of directions when possible but haven’t gotten to this one yet – if you try before me, please let me know how it goes!

  2. Rodd says

    5 stars
    gave it high rating because I love curried butternut squash,even though I haven’t made the recipe yet. Wondering if you can just use a certain amount of curry leaves as the ones I purchased at Amazon are mostly broken up,so hard to count out?

  3. Bridgett says

    I would love to try this! Where can I find curry leaves? I don’t think I’ve seen them in the local grocery stores.

  4. Miriam says

    3 stars
    I am travelling in India right now – have just come back to Bangalore from Kerala. We asked at more than one restaurant and guest house for ‘regular Kerala food’ and what we were served was lovely but never thoran. I’m sorry I missed it but I will definitely be making this at home. Thank you.

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