Spinach Thoran is an everyday side dish for rice which is generally cooked in an Indian wok or Kadhai. In this style of Thoran from Kerala, the main ingredient is stirfried or wilted, then pushed aside while a coconut and spice paste is placed in the centre of the wok. This is covered by the main ingredient and it is allowed to cook gently. This method leads to dishes that are light and delicious.
In this recipe a little rice is used as a spice adding a little texture and a lovely nutty flavour.
If you are looking for a Spinach-Coconut dish, try this Spinach and Coconut – Keerai Poriyal from Tamil Nadu which is next door to Kerala. Another way to use Spinach is in a simple Aloo Palak Subzi – Potatoes and Spinach Dry Curry.
Thorans can be made from almost any vegetable. Cabbage, for example, or Green Beans, Carrot, or Zucchini. Try Green Tomato Bhajji. You might also like Cauliflower Fry with Ginger, Garlic and Green Chillies and Sri Lankan Stir Fried Cabbage.
You might like to browse all of our Thoran and Poriyal recipes here, other Fry recipes, and our Spinach recipes here. Browse all of our Indian recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Autumn dishes here.
1 garlic clove, peeled
0.5 small red onion, peeled and chopped
pinch cayenne pepper
60 g grated coconut, fresh or frozen
0.5 tspn salt
225g spinach, washed and shredded/chopped finely
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 Tblspn coconut oil or ghee
0.5 tspn brown mustard seeds
0.5 tspn rice
half onion, very finely chopped
1 green chilli, split in half
7 curry leaves
Put the garlic clove, red onion, cayenne, coconut and salt into a spice blender with 6 Tblspns water and blend to a smooth paste. Add a little more water during blending if necessary. (You can also use an immersion blender, food processor or mortar and pestle to do this step.)
Put the spinach into a kadhai, wok or large wide pan over low heat. Sprinkle 4 Tblspns water over the top and cover. Allow the spinach to wilt.
From the centre, push the spinach aside and spoon in the coconut paste and chopped chilli. Cover with the Spinach and replace the lid. When steam appears, remove the lid and allow to continue cooking and evaporating off any remaining liquid.
Heat the ghee or oil in a separate pan over medium high heat. When hot add the mustard seeds and allow to pop. As it pops add the rice. Then add the chopped onions and saute until they begin to turn golden. Add the split chilli and the curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds and pour over the cooked spinach. Stir to mix well.