his 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.
When I say you can make anything into a thoran, I’m not kidding. Here are just a few thoran recipes on my blog: zucchini, butternut squash, cabbage, sardines (yep, even sardines…). I also have a green bean thoran in my instant pot cookbook – you should check out my book if you haven’t already!
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 oildances 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 written about half of a beet themed musical in my head in the amount of time I’ve spent 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 hubby’s favorite is green bean thoran – which is again, in my cookbook!).
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.