Many moons ago, when my mom had to leave for India for an extended period of time to care for my grandfather, she wrote down a bunch of recipes of the staple, time honored dishes that my family from Kerala had served for generations in their kitchen. Before I had any money to buy any sort of cookbook, these recipes became my guidepost; a primer that ensured that I would carry on creating the tastes of my mother, grandmothers, aunts and more in my kitchen. Of course, in the rush to give me these recipes, mom sometimes missed writing exact quantities or an ingredient, but they were enough of a foundation to enable me to cook.
Beans Poduthol, also called as Thoran, is a simple dish of whatever veggies are on hand, some oil and spices and lots of freshly grated coconut. It is the kind of dish that is not only super yummy and healthy, but also makes me feel with every spoonful that all will be okay in this world.
- A pound of beans, washed, destringed and cut into small pieces
- A tbsp of oil (traditionally coconut oil is used)
- A tsp of mustard seeds
- A tsp of urad dal (skip if you don’t have this, it adds crunch)
- One or two dried red chili pods broken
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- Four tbsps freshly grated coconut
1. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the mustard seeds, urad dal (if using) and dried chilly pods. When the mustard seeds start popping, add the beans, turmeric powder, salt and cumin powder and toss well.
2. Cover and cook till the beans are cooked, yet crunchy (about 10-15 minutes).
3. Add the fresh coconut and toss a few times.
PS. You can prepare cabbage, spinach, carrots, and raw bananas in a similar fashion.