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!
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!).
Wait, what’s 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.
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!Print
- 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.