Zucchini Thoran (Indian Stir-Fry)


This zucchini thoran is a south Indian stir-fry made with summer squash, coconut, curry leaves, and spices. It’s a simple and flavorful way to use up a lot of zucchini!

Zucchini Thoran (Indian Stir-fry)

Whenever Roby and I go to the farmer’s market together, Roby will almost always wander off to buy cookies, taste-test random cheeses, and strike up conversations with people just so he can pet their dogs. Basically, he’s of no help when it comes to buying groceries for the week.

Our most recent trip to the market was different though. When Roby was ready to leave he found me and proudly showed me his purchase: two zucchini and two yellow squash. No cookies. I was surprised and also, secretly pleased. Ok, maybe I wasn’t so secretive about it. I think my (huge) smile probably gave it away.

While there are plenty of things you can do with summer squash, I decided to make a “thoran” and now, here I am sharing this recipe with you (though the thoran you see pictured here on the blog was made using all zucchini. Feel free to use yellow squash if you want!).

Zucchini Thoran (Indian Stir-fry)
Zucchini Thoran (Indian Stir-fry)

What is Thoran?

Thoran is a south Indian, specifically a Keralite dish, that’s made by stir-frying a few ingredients together. It’s as simple as it sounds. You typically chop up vegetables or grate them and then mix with (frozen, unsweetened) grated coconut, curry leaves, serrano peppers, onion, and spices. The ingredients and directions change slightly depending on what vegetable you’re cooking.

I make my vegetables this way fairly often because I think this method of cooking highlights the main vegetable without overpowering it. For example, in my zucchini thoran, zucchini is the obvious headliner here. The other ingredients merely supporting their star.

Zucchini Thoran (Indian Stir-fry)

I love making thoran using all types of vegetables (see: cabbage, beets, green beans, butternut squash).

If you’re looking for an interesting, unique way to cook zucchini, you’ve found it. I’m sure you’ll love this method of cooking summer squash, but if you do hate it (which you won’t) then you can always dump it into spaghetti sauce (my solution for nearly everything that goes awry). Enjoy myheartbeets-eaters!

Zucchini Thoran (Indian Stir-fry)

Zucchini Stir-Fry with Curry Leaves

Zucchini Thoran (Indian Stir-fry)

Zucchini Stir-Fry with Curry Leaves

5 from 3 reviews
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Servings 4 -5
Cuisine Indian


  • 2 pounds zucchini or yellow squash or a combination, grated
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 1-2 serrano peppers minced
  • 20 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 cup grated coconut I use the brand Daily Delight fresh frozen grated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ⅛-¼ teaspoon cayenne to taste


  • Use a food processor to grate the zucchini or you can do this by hand using a grater.
  • Melt coconut oil in a dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to splutter and pop, add the onion, Serrano pepper, and curry leaves. Stir-fry for 6-7 minutes or until the onions become fragrant and translucent.
  • Add the grated coconut, salt, turmeric, cayenne and stir, then increase the heat to medium-high and add the zucchini. Stir-fry for 5-6 minutes, or until the zucchini is cooked through.
  • If you’d like a “dry” thoran, use a slotted spoon to move the zucchini into a serving dish, leaving any liquid at the bottom of the pot (the liquid is really flavorful though, so don’t toss it out – I slurp it up!).


You can find frozen and unsweetened grated coconut in the frozen aisle at your local Indian grocery store.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Zucchini Thoran (Indian Stir-fry)

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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. Lori says

    5 stars
    I just love this recipe! It is the best zucchini recipe! I love the black mustard seeds popping in my mouth, so I put in extra. I love the curry leaves! Yum. I don’t put in the pepper(sensitive American stomach), but I put in 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve lost count how many times I’ve made it.

  2. Sharon Wanke says

    I have tried many of your recipes and they have all been good but this one is my favourite so far!

  3. Cheryl says

    5 stars
    I love you blog for the simple fact that I can have vegetables to be used up and I can search them in your recipes and always find amazing ways to use them! Thank you for making me look like a good cook in my husband’s eyes🙏🙏🙏 Much love!

  4. Johnna says

    Hi, I absolutely love your blog! I have a question. I don’t have access to the frozen shredded coconut, is there any substitute? Possibly soaking shredded dried coconut?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Thanks, Johnna! You can try adding the shredded dried coconut and see how that turns out – I’m sure it’ll be good. I probably wouldn’t soak it beforehand though. Let us know how it turns out for you.

  5. Ash Bhattacharya says

    Ashley, thank you so much for this blog. I was worried I would deter from the plan because I will not be able to eat Indian food, but your blog shows a new way to cook all my favorite veggies. I now think, I might be able to stick to this diet plan.

    Thank you


  6. Paleo-Curious says

    I’m so happy to have found your blog! (via Mark’s Daily Apple– I’m sure I’m not the only one!) I love Indian food & have already spotted several dishes I MUST try!


  1. […] Zucchini Stir-Fry with Curry Leaves – My Heart Beets […]

  2. […] (Kerala is in South India). You can make thoran using any vegetable you’d like (see my recipes: squash thoran, beet thoran and plantain thoran). Thoran is typically made by mixing a chopped vegetable with […]

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