"Beetroot Thoran” is originally a Kerala recipe with chilies, Indian spices, and curry leaves stirred in coconut fat. Eating chilies in summer is not all that bad for Pitta - it helps open up the pores and induces sweating which can then cool down the body.
Delicious Summer Beets “Thoran”
For Pittas: be more gentle with the chilies and/or chili powder! The beets are slightly Pitta increasing, but the coconut will balance this out.
- 5 - 6 cups of grated or chopped fresh summer beets
- 2 cups of finely chopped fresh fennel
- 1 clove of finely chopped garlic
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup coconut (desiccated, fresh, or frozen)
- ½ to 1 finely chopped green or red chili (adjust based on strength of the chili or use 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder as an alternative)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoon urad dal (optional)
- 2 tablespoon ghee (can be replaced with olive oil or use a mixture of both)
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- Herbs de Provence to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Sliced spring onions - use as decoration while serving
Prepare the beets, fennel, onion, and garlic, preferably with a food processor. Grating the beets can retain water, which does not fry well. You can put beets, fennel, onion, garlic, and coconut all together in the food processor.
Heat the oil/ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds until they pop, then add the chilies and (optional) urad dal until the urad dal turns lightly brown.
Add the chopped or grated beetroot mixture (beets, fennel, onion, garlic, and coconut). Keep stirring at medium to high heat, so that any potential moisture can evaporate. Do this for 5 - 10 minutes.
Add salt and black pepper and cover the pan halfway, stirring occasionally to prevent water from collecting at the bottom. Let simmer for another 5 minutes.
Finally, add the Herbs de Provence, a bit of salt and pepper, and switch off the flame. Top with some freshly chopped spring onion.
Serve with rice, pasta, or potatoes, some green vegetables, and/or a small summer salad. Enjoy!
If you buy your fresh summer beets with their leaves still attached, you can also use their leaves for a side salad! Before you start cooking the “thoran”, just wash the leaves, chop them, and sauté them briefly in some ghee or olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, let them cool, and serve them with the thoran and rice/pasta/potatoes. These dark green leaves are a great source of Pitta-reducing nutrition.