Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kale Thoren

As promised, here is our first kale-bastardized recipe from Kerala! Thoren is a dry curry with coconut and whatever vegetable strikes your fancy. While we were in India, we ate versions that used beets, okra and ivy gourd, and it turns out that thoren is also delicious made with kale--of course!

We learned to make this in Kerala with fresh grated coconut, and since returning home we've been able to find frozen grated coconut at Vik's. If you can't get fresh coconut and need to substitute dried shredded coconut, we'd recommend using less (maybe 1/4 cup) and adding it last, to prevent burning.

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon urad dal
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 sprigs curry leaves
1 dried red chile, broken into thirds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
12 leaves dinosaur kale, stemmed and chopped

Heat the oil in a wok. When it's hot, but not smoking, add the mustard seeds and urad dal. When the seeds have popped and the dal is golden-brown, add the shallots and fry, stirring continuously. Once the shallots are soft and translucent, add the curry leaves, dried chile and turmeric. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the coconut and stir for two minutes. Add the kale and keep stirring! Once the kale is nicely wilted, remove from the heat and serve immediately.


harithafarms said...

Coconut oil is not at all a necessity for thoran . You can use any vegetable oil . Adapting Kale to Thoran is a nice idea .

Anonymous said...

I'm curious why Thoren recipes call for sauted dry legumes. Seems like they'd be like little rocks. Can you explain how it works?

I Heart Kale said...

Urad dal are split and pretty small, so they end up just being pleasant crunchy bits, sort of like sunflower seeds. Try it and see!