This simple South Indian side dish is my favorite way to eat beets! Beet thoran is a flavorful stir-fry cooked in curry leaf spiced coconut oil with onion, fresh or frozen grated coconut and a few spices. Making this side dish in an instant pot makes cooking this thoran a breeze!
It’s no secret that I love beets – after all, the name of my blog is My Heart Beets. This simple beet recipe is one of my all-time favorite side dishes to make when preparing a Keralite meal.
In the past, I used to chop or grate raw beets (which isn’t very easy to do) and then cook them (see my old recipe… definitely not as easy as this one). With my instant pot recipe, I first steam the beets in the pressure cooker which makes it easy to remove the peels and then chop up the soft beets. Then, I stir-fry them. It’s so much easier to make which means we eat this thoran far more often.
WHAT IS THORAN?
If you’ve never heard of the word “thoran,” it basically just means “stir fry” and is a traditional Keralite way of cooking. You can make anything into a thoran! You just need to grate or chop vegetables, mix them up with a few other ingredients and stir-fry it all together.
I only started making thoran after marrying my husband, Roby, whose family is from Kerala. It’s now my favorite way to cook vegetables because while flavorful, it’s not overpowering.
I feel like typically Indian vegetable dishes are heavily seasoned, especially north Indian recipes. Don’t get me wrong – both are equally good in completely different ways. It’s just nice to enjoy a lightly seasoned veggie dish sometimes, where the vegetable really shines. It’s like, in this dish, the beet is the star and the other ingredients merely supporting actors. I’m currently imaging a large beet dancing in the middle of a stage with lights shining down on it… a jar of coconut oil dances in the distance.
Sometimes I tell myself that I write these random things in my blog posts to see if anyone is actually paying attention… but the truth is that this is actually what goes on in my mind. I’ve already imagined the rest of this beet themed musical (okay well, we’re actually currently in intermission) while writing this post.
Out of all the thoran dishes I’ve tried/made, I have to say beetroot thoran is my all-time favorite. My husband’s favorite is green bean thoran, so give that a try next!
I hope you love this recipe and find it super easy to make. One thing to keep in mind – depending on the size of the beets you use, you may need to adjust the cook time. I find that 15 minutes works well for me for medium to large beets but if you’re using smaller beets, you can probably reduce that time to 10-12 minutes.
- To prepare the beets, add 2 cups water into the steel inner pot, then place a steamer basket or the wire rack that came with your pressure cooker into the pot. Place the unpeeled beets on top of the rack, then secure the lid, close the pressure valve, press the steam button and set the time for 15 minutes at high pressure.
- Open the valve to quick release any remaining pressure.
- Once the the beets are cool enough to touch, remove them from the pot. The peels should easily slide off. Place the beets on a cutting board and chop them into small pieces. Set aside.
- Dump out any water still remaining in the bottom of the pot, then press the sauté button and add the coconut oil. Once the coconut oil melts, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the onion, Serrano pepper, garlic and curry leaves. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are cooked through.
- Add the turmeric and salt, stir, then add the cooked beets and mix well. Stir in the grated coconut.