Thoran is a south-Indian vegetable dish. You can pretty much use any vegetable as the base, but coconut flakes and spices are always present. Thoran is simple and flavorful, and a favorite in our family.
- Core 1 head of cauliflower and slice it thinly (about 1/3-1/2″ slices, not florets: You want the cauliflower to cook up fairly quickly in the pan).
- Heat about a 1/3 cup of olive oil in a wide saute pan over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot and shimmery, add the cauliflower to brown.
- As the cauliflower is browning, heat a small saute pan on medium, medium-high with about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Throw in a few black mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, you know your oil is ready.
- To the olive oil, add: 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground Indian red pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper), and salt and pepper to taste. (NOTE: If all this sounds overwhelming, just add a few tablespoons of generic curry mix.)
- Stir the spices together in the small saute pan for about 15-30 seconds. This will roast the spices. Take care that they don’t burn (AKA: don’t leave this on the stove while you go try to figure out why one of your children is melting down).
- Add the spices to the cauliflower, stir well together, cover the cauliflower and lower the heat to medium-low. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water so that the cauliflower doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan.
- Check to see when your cauliflower is done to your liking. I like mine a little on the al dente side. Stir in 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.
You can also use this recipe with cabbage, green beans, and jack fruit (if you happen to have a jack fruit source…).
Thoran is a great side dish for a simple rubbed chicken, dal (lentil stew), potato masala, or in place of any of your normal veggie dishes.