How to Make Spiced Coconut Mixture for Green Beans Thoren

Learn how to make the spiced coconut mixture for green beans thoren from cookbook author Maya Kaimal in this Indian food video from Howcast.


Hi, I'm Maya Kaimal, and I'm going to show you how to make a South Indian vegetable curry called Green Bean's Thoran. This is actually my favorite curry of all, I love it, I grew up eating my grandmother's version, and it's actually pretty easy to make. So we start by actually blending some spices into some grated coconut.

We're going to make a kind of a wet Marsala spice paste, and our spices are half teaspoon of cumin, quarter teaspoon of coriander, and an eighth of a teaspoon of turmeric and cayenne. There's not a lot of spices in this one, as you can see, but it still has a fairly nice full flavor. So we'll mix a little bit of water in, and just get to a moist ball, that's what we're looking for. So I'm using some dried, unsweetened grated coconut, which you can pretty easily find, health food stores have them, Indian stores of course have them, don't use the sweetened kind. But if you can get fresh coconut, that's extra good.

Okay, so we've made our coconut and spice mixture, and to it we're going to add two cloves of garlic that are crushed, and we're going to add a green chili. And here's a nice little trick, you take your chili and you slit it, but you don't slice it all the way in half, you keep it attached near the stem end. So what this does is it allows some of the heat in those seeds to come out and mix in with your coconut, but the heat doesn't get out of control. And also, partway through the cooking, if you taste your curry and you feel it's hot enough, you can remove your chili, and it won't continue to get any spicier. To start cooking the curry, we do a really typical South Indian technique, it's a Tarka, and it's a seasoning of the oil with whole spices. So we're going to use ground mustard seeds, drop these in the oil, and as these heat up, they're going to start to pop, as the water inside the seeds boils and explodes, so keep the lid handy, because once the popping starts, they can actually fly out of the pan.

So the other ingredients we're going to add to this are two dried, red chilies, and some fresh curry leaves, which are one of my favorite ingredients in Indian cooking. They're predominantly used in South Indian cooking, and they are always used fresh, they really lose their flavor if you dry them, but if you, you can freeze them if it's something that you can't get your hands on often, and you want to keep some around. But go to an Indian grocery store and buy fresh whenever you can. Okay, so we got our mustard seeds in this oil, you can see they're actually starting to pop, and we're going to give them just a few seconds here to pop, and give there nice nutty flavor to the oil.

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