Sunday, May 13, 2007

Zucchini Stir-fry With A Kerala Touch – Zucchini Thoran

“Tring........…tring.... ", the phone rings around 11.00-11.30pm, when a middle aged couple has just hit the bed and try to get some sleep. As the phone continues to ring, some sort of tension builds up because of the untimely phone call, that too a long distance ring tone, and when they answer the phone, the person at the other end, with a very sheepish smile on her face asks,"Mummy….should I add ginger to this XX dish?" and mother who is now relieved that it’s not someone calling in to share some dreadful news, asks “Oh…dear…how many times have I told you this recipe ??” !!!! And when mother is just about wrap up the call, father in an impish tone reminds loudly from behind, “Tell her not to forget to add salt too !!" :D

Yes, it has happened umpteen times to my mother as her careless daughter does not have the habit of writing down the recipes as and when her mother shares it. It is not that I deliberately wanted to disturb them at those odd hours but I really did not have much options those days, when I was just beginning to learn cooking and had not much idea on the basic concoctions and tricks of the trade and still wanted to cook and serve the food as it was prepared back home at my place. This untimely calls used to happen until I got a feel of cooking and until my friend, RR who is an excellent cook in authentic Kerala cooking, came to US with her family and from then onwards, I pester my friend all with the basic silly doubts and hence, needless to say, my mother is able to get some incessant sleep these days :)

It was RR who suggested sometime back a recipe for Zucchini/Courgette to be prepared in Kerala style and I did like the idea of using a foreign vegetable in a traditional Kerala recipe and the taste was appealing to me as well. But as usual I did not note down the recipe and next time when I wanted to prepare that side dish, she was unavailable and that‘s when I started cooking Zucchini in the same way I prepare other vegetable thorans/Stir-frys. Now this is a regular in our house and CJJ’s one of the favourite side dishes to go with Fish curry. :)

Ingredients: -
  • 2 zucchinis
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • 1 small onion/shallots finely chopped
  • 1-2 small cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 4-5 green chilies finely chopped
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp urad Dal/black grams
  • 1-2 dry red chilies
  • Salt to taste
  • 2tsp oil
Directions: -
  1. Trim off the ends and halve the zucchini lengthwise and make 3-4 strips of each half and dice them into small pieces. No need to peel off the skins and remove the small seeds.
  2. Crush and blend the coconut well with finely chopped small onion, garlic, green chilies, cumin seeds, turmeric powder and salt using your hands OR put all the ingredients in a small food processor and pulse 1-2 times.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and when it is steaming hot, splutter mustard seeds, followed by urad dal and dry red chilies. Add the chopped zucchinis to the pan and cook them covered for 40-60 seconds in medium heat. Remove the lid, add the grated coconut mixture and cover it cooked for another 40-50 seconds in low flame. Again stir gingerly and do a ‘taste test’ here and add salt if required and when it reaches perfection, turn off the heat, serve with warm rice and fish curry :)
Tips: Zucchini, Cucumber and Melons are cousins and they are all popular for their tender flesh. Because of the tenderness, it’s better not to overcook the zucchini, to retain its delicate flavour and firmness as well as not to make it too soft and watery. And if you are like me who do not entertain the idea of your mustard seeds popping out of the pan and dancing all around, making the entire cooking area a mess, keep a lid on the pan immediately after you throw in the mustard seeds :)

Well, Sushma of Recipe Source thinks that its a "lovely tip" to be sent for her Monthly Cooking Tipology Event and how can I say NO to this sweet lady ? :)

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. Ohh thats an awesome looking dish Shn...and what a lovely presentation..

    You should send it to MCT event..with that lovely tip up there

    Good to know your mom gets a decent sleep now :-)

  2. Shn, I came by just to read your story and check out your presentation, since I am not a fan of zucchini, and girl I wasn't disappointed... Your pictures are such a treat.. And calling up mom in the night to double check mundane details, been there done that... :)

  3. What a lovely presentation can't take my eyes off the lovely photos :)
    This recipe looks nice and tasty. I have never tasted zucchini. Is it something like Torai in Hindi?

  4. wonderfull presentation, but i love to read to writeup girl :)

  5. that's the prettiest thoran i have seen.

  6. i love your stories and presentation :):). you made even the zucchini tempting.

  7. OMG! i just finished eating some zuchhini stir fry! I still have two zucchinis left in the fridge,am gonna' make it your way next week!!

    oh! and while i am still smiling at the zucchini wave, i must say that those pictures are saying "how about having some mroe zucchini" :).

  8. What a presentation!!!!! AWESOME GIRL!!!!

    Loved the write up as usualy!! :)

  9. he he he...oh those days!!! there were times when i had mustrads spluttering all over and me on the phone with amma asking what goes into kadai first!!! and not to forget the dishes without salt;) he he he.... it feels like ages although its just been over a year:) now a days i am the one who gets overseas calls from amma asking how to make particular dish;)
    beautiful presentation courgetts shn. other than grilled zucchini most of the times i use it in making stir fries and dals:) ur recipe is book marked and will try it this week itself:)

  10. That's one really pretty sight...I love zucchini and also use it in my Indian dishes, even with fish...

  11. Oh Shn, can you really bring yourselves to eat such a beautiful thing? I'd keep it intact till it rotted, and if it's not the rotting type, I would frame it and hang it on my wall, I think.

  12. Hey, Very nice write up!! I could very well understand what you were saying, coz I do exactly the same thing!!! :) and an amazing looking dish!! lovely presentation...

  13. Very artistic presentation shn.Great looking dish.YUMY! I love Zucchnis.

  14. A beautiful presentation Shn. Loved the writeup too!

  15. great pics man ...too good ....zucchini thoran ....great prepsentation too

  16. you have such a awesome way of presenting your dishes and lovely writeup. the palate looks so beautiful.

  17. lovely dish...I don't eat Zucchini much...but your dish looks very tempting...great pics...thanks for sharing

  18. Hi Shn
    You not only know how to cook but also how to decorate food for presentation, take wonderffulllllll pics and write great write-ups !!!

    Excellent work you do !!

  19. Hi Shn nice recipe your pictures are lovely :)

  20. The way you present your food, even if you wouldn't have cooked them we would gobble them up. Beautiful !!!

    Not a big zucchini fan but you present everything so beautifully...

  21. Shn, I let out such a loud laugh that I was a little embarrassed (lol) While I have not called at potentially frightening hours. I do call often and ask the same things over and over again and I get that exasperated but loving tone and sigh that says - how many times do I have to tell you this :D

    You have such a great eye and flair for food styling, you should persue it.

  22. Nice presentation!. The "tip" though is plain common sense!

  23. I liked the way you make thoran look pretty :) Not a big fan of zucchini, but cute story.

  24. my mom is used to my calls even now!:) but now i write down every thing. nice recipe, shn.

  25. What a lovely presentation!U are great! I want to taste that dish,uppe itto??
    You know dear, I have the same table mat with same colour ,which I took from home center.I used in many of my posts but in your picture it looks more beautiful..
    Eppo aa pavan RR nde karyam kastathilayooo??

  26. Yeah, but I'm sure she loves receiving the phone call from you anyway! What a gorgeous presentation this is, Shn. Zucchini has just begun to pop up at the farmers' market, so I'm on the lookout for new ideas. Thanks!

  27. I'm loving the colors on this dish, wow! Talk about a feast for all the senses. :)

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  28. I love zucchini, Shn. Americans like to mock it because it is so plentifully easy to grow. They act as if it was a weed. A beautiful looking display. BTW, you've just been tagged. Up to you whether you want to play.

  29. Shn, I didn't have zucchini before until I came to Amercia. I totally love this veg, with such a lovely sweetness after lightly stir-fried. Like this kerala touch too, I'll believe this dish would be one of our regurlar on our dinning table too :)

  30. Hi Shn, I must try zucchini this way --it sounds delicious and your photos are just beautiful, too. Your presentations are always so clever! :)

  31. WOW! Wot PIX!!!Too good!!!

    hehehehe! 'don't forget to add salt!!' Ur Dad's cool!!

  32. Shn - My bebere mix is Seasoned Pioneers brand, from the UK, which I purchased at Whole Foods here in NY. I just did a quick search on Amazon and noticed three brands for around the same price I paid. You can also make your own, either dry or a wet paste. Very much like a masala, with components not too difficult to find. In fact, you may have them in your pantry already. The Global Gourmet site has a nice recipe.

  33. Came here thro Asha's...colorful recipes and loved the glass paintings..Awesome!

  34. Bland Zucchini looks strikingly appetizing on your have a way with presentation :D

  35. OMG ... lovely presentaion Mishmash.. IF u bring that in front of me would never eat this as it looks so lovely.. a nice visual treat ..

  36. Sushma, yes, yes...mummy gets some peaceful sleep these days :) See you at the round up!

    Sig, Aww..that was sooo nice of you to drop by even though it was not of your interest. thank you very much:) Looks like these calls are part of every learning curve :)

    Archana, Thank you :)Zucchini tastes something like cucumber and the picture is there in the link I have given as part of the post.

    Roopa, Bee,Reena , thanks girls :)

    Musical...hey let me know how it came out for you :)

    Coffee , thanks dear :)

    Sia, your comment made me realise that I did not mention that zucchini is also know as courgette is some parts of Europe and NZ.Thanks girl:) Let me know if you like it.

    Sunita, zuchhini in fish? oh...thats blog the recipe once :)

    Sra, hahahha...perhaps, this is one way of tempting those hesitating to eat the veg side dish :P

    Ramya, Asha, Mandira, Deepa, Sharmi..thank you so much...glad you all liked it...:)

    Dilip, thank you Sir :)

    Revathi...thanks a lot ...and happy that you liked Mishmash! , Welcome dear :)

    Jeena, Thanks :) did bring some smiles on my face with your very sweet and generous comment :D

    Cynthia , yes, that loving and still tolerant tone is what makes us take so much freedom with our moms, isn't it ? thanks for the supporting my small efforts in making a dish look pretty :)

    PM, thanks! yes tip is mere common sense for experts but there are people like me out there who needs to be told each and every small things to get things done right at the first time itself. Believe me, those tips had to be taught to me :)

    Jyothsna, thanks dear...enjoy your vacation :)

    Kitchenfairy, heheh...uppu kurachu kuravayirunnu..:D chumma dialogue your pics also that table mat looks nice...and infact when I bought this I was thinking of you only :) athey...RR-nte jeevitham kashtam thanneya :)

    Susan,oh, thats true, she will be the happiest person if she can talk to me every day :) Hope you like our preparation :)

    Ari, thank YOU :) Let me welcome you to Mishmash!

    Susan, thanks dear...will take up the tag soon..wondering what to write ;)

    Gattina,hey you should let me know for sure if you try this recipe and how it turned out for you! :)

    Linda, clever ? :)))) thanks so much :)

    Manasi, dad is super coooool :)

    A little light, so nice of you to drop by...thanks and welcome :)

    Pravs, really ?:)

    Prema, very sweet :) Thanks dear...give it a will like it , I guess :)

    kanch, Thank you :)


  37. Sunday ke Sunday aaj nahi ande ? Where is your trademark Sunday post ?

  38. Nice presentation, my eyes is like to see your every photo with out blinking........with your story.........Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Some day Shn... some day, I shall take pictures that I'll be proud of :=) Am posting a Zucchini recipe soon. This one was simply fabulous!

    I still call my mom... and when I call anytime outside of 7 a.m., my dad passes on the phone to my mom saying, "She'll be asking ratios for idli now!"

  40. I had never thought of eating zucchini til I saw your post..I am going to try it today..thanks! :)

  41. Lovely presentation and yummy dish....:)

  42. Lovely presentation n yummy dish...


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