Keralan Cabbage Thoran


Prep time: 
30 minutes
Cooking time: 
30 minutes


Thoran is a traditional quick Keralan vegetable dish made with cabbage and greens and very lightly stir-fried. We have added carrot for colour and beans for a protein boost.


  • 100g dried beans. Mung beans are traditional, but you can use any bean that will hold its shape well. Tinned beans work well.
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 6cm piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 2 hot green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 100g cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • 100g spinach
  • 4 tablespoon desiccated coconut
  • Jaggery sugar, optional
  • juice from one lemon
  • salt, to taste

For the yoghurt:

  • 500ml plain yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
  • 2 red chillies, desseded
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • a few curry leaves


  1. If you are using dried beans, soak and cook as package directs. Cook until tender, but still keeping their shape, about 15 to 20 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or large frying pan. When hot, add the ginger, green chillies, garlic and curry leaves. Stir-fry for a minute.
  3. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the cabbage, carrots, toasted cumin seeds and turmeric, stir frying until the cabbage begins to wilt. You may need to add a little water to help the cabbage steam.
  4. Add the spinach, cooked beans and desiccated coconut and heat through.
  5. Season to taste with jaggery sugar, salt and half the lemon juice.
  6. Spoon the yoghurt into a serving bowl.
  7. In a smaller frying pan, heat the remaining sunflower oil. When hot, add the chillies, nigella seeds, cumin and curry leaves. When the seeds start popping and smelling fragrant, decant into the yoghurt and mix well.
  8. Add remaining lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
  9. Serve with samba sadam rice and khadi gravy for an authentic South Indian feast


Photo Credit: Jonny Hughes @jonny2love
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