>> Monday, January 11, 2010
Coconut is omnipresent in Kerala cuisine – be it in the form of coconut oil, grated coconut, dried coconut/copra or coconut milk. I remember the days my paternal grandparents were still alive and we used to live in Kerala then. There used to be a blue metal storage shelf with netted doors, where vegetables and fruits and coconut and sometimes even pickles used to be kept. Somedays there will be more veggies, somedays less..there were days when the pickle jars used to get empty waiting for the next batch to go in. But there was never a day when that shelf did not have coconuts.
My grandmom used to buy vegetables from the vegetable vendor who used to come every morning with a basket of the seasons fresh veggies balanced on her head. I loved going to the front verandah and looking at what all my grand mom buys from her. There were different techniques to check the freshness of each thing that was bought. I was very happy when I was once allowed to tap the coconut with a knuckle and listen to the sound it made to determine whether it was fresh or not and also to shake and see how much water was there in it. I did not know what kind of a sound i should be listening to but i felt very grown up to be doing that :) Even now I really do not know that. The frozen bags of grated coconut have spoilt me.
One of the very common dishes where coconut is used is a simple stir-fry with grated coconut. All kinds of vegetables are used – cabbage, carrots, green beans, spinach etc. Sometimes combinations of veggies are used – cabbage and green peas, carrot and green beans are some of the common combos. I love the carrot and green beans ones the best – i totally love the color of the combo – the green and the orange and the white of the coconut makes this stir fry a delicious eye candy. Also I love to experiment with some of the not so traditional veggies. I try to stick to the color profile most of the time. Broccoli and carrot is one such combination that i love. My mom pulses the grated coconut with a couple of green chillis and then adds it to the veggies, instead of just plain grated coconut and that's how i make thorans too.
|Broccoli and Carrot Poriyal/Thoran |
1 broccoli head, cut into small florets
1 carrot, cut in half lengthwise and then into small pieces
1 tsp coconut oil / canola oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 dried red chillis
a sprig of curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/3 cup grated coconut
2-3 Thai green chillis
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the mustard seeds, let it splutter. Add the dried red chillis and the curry leaves. After a couple of seconds, increase the heat a little and add the veggies and stir fry well. Add the turmeric powder and salt as well. Pulse the coconut and green chillis once and add this to the pan as well. Mix well and take off the heat.
Serve hot with rice and sambar/rasam/moru curry and papaddams.