Horse gram is much loved in South India as a particularly healthy lentil. One easy way to cook and serve these elongated brown skinned beans is to make thoran (Upperi in Malabar). Thoran is a dish from Kerala where vegetables, lentils, beans or sprouts are sauteed with spices and perhaps coconut, for a special side dish or Indian salad style dish. There are several ways to make a thoran with horse gram:
- with or without coconut – either way is good. Many people prefer to add coconut as horse gram is considered a hot pulse and coconut helps to moderate the heat.
- cooked until al dente tender, so the beans remain separated, or cooked until the beans are very tender and beginning to break down – either way is good.
- made as a dry dish, or as a dish with a little gravy from the cooking water.
Generally we make our thorans with coconut so for variety we make this one without.
Read more about Horse Gram (aks Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.
Muthira Upperi | Horse Gram Thoran
1 cup horse gram, soaked overnight
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
0.5 tspn Indian chilli powder, or to taste
sea salt to taste
2 tspn ghee or coconut oil
1 tspn brown mustard seeds
0.5 tspn cumin seeds
2 Indian dried chillies
6 – 8 curry leaves
Drain the horse gram and cook with the turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt to taste until very tender. Drain any excess water, reserving some for later.
Make a tadka by heating the oil in a kadhai or saute pan and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop then add the cumin seeds and chillies. As the cumin seeds begin to colour, add the curry leaves.
Now add the cooked horse gram and saute for a few minutes. If preferred, cook until the moisture evaporates. Otherwise, leave a little of the cooking water to keep the dish moist with a little sauce.
Serve with crispy curry leaves, coriander leaves, and/or a squeeze of lemon (optional). It pairs well with rice or kanji, or can be made as part of a sadya feast.
recipe notes and alternatives
Left over cooking water from the horse gram is delicious used to make rasam or sambar.