Thoran is a generic name (in Malayalam) for all vegetable dry dishes which have freshly grated coconut. Kadala(black channa) and kaaya(green plantain) are both very ‘heavy’ ingredients and so this sabzi is really very filling (just like avail). However its a nice balance of carbs and proteins and so its like a meal in itself. Whenever I make this (usually during Vishu and Onam) , I end up skimping on the rice so I can eat this more (which is not a bad idea)
This dish needs a little bit advance preparation because you need to soak the black chana in water for about 4-5 hours or overnight.
This recipe will make about 5-6 servings as a side dish
Ingredients: Black Channa (kadala), pre-soaked in water for about 4-5 hours or overnight, 1 cup 1 cup water 1 Green(Raw) plantain, scraped to remove any fibrous strings and then chopped into small about 1/4 inch thick cubes (DO NOT REMOVE SKIN of the plantains), about 3 cups 1/2 of a medium size Onion, thinly sliced 5 green chillies slit length-wise (use less if you want it mild) 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 2 tsp cumin seeds 1 cup coconut, freshly grated or fresh frozen grated 1/4 cup warm water(for grinding coconut) 1 tsp salt 1 tbsp coconut oil 1 tsp mustard seeds 2 dry red chillies, split into twos 4-5 or a sprig of fresh curry leaves
Take the grated coconut in a grinder or blender and add the 1/4 cup warm water, the turmeric and the cumin seeds and grind to a thick, coarse paste. (Make sure you don’t add too much water because you need a thick paste). Keep this aside.
Take a medium size pot and add the channa to it. Add the 1 cup water to it and add the onions and the green chillies. Bring to a boil and then lower flame to low and cover with a lid to let cook for about 5-7 minutes.
Now open the lid and add the green plantain and salt. check if there is still water left in the pot. if not then add a little bit (only about 1/4 th cup or so) and cover again for about 3-4 minutes so the plantains can cook.
Now open the lid and check if the plantains are cooked. At this point the mixture in the pot should be almost dry (very little water if any should be remaining). Now add the coconut paste and stir.
For the final garnish (tadka):
Heat a small shallow pan and add the coconut oil. When hot add the mustard seeds and when they start spluttering turn the heat to low and add the dry red chillies and the curry leaves. Saute for about 30 seconds and then turn the heat off and add this oil mixture into pot with the plantains and chana mixture. Your ‘kadala and kaaya’ sabzi is ready!
The quantity of water in this recipe needs to be watched carefully. Remember you need to cook the plantains and the kadala first but when they are cooked make sure there is no more water left in the pot before you add the coconut paste or you will end up with a curry instead of a thoran!
Dried red chillies added in any dish towards the end as ‘tadka’ or final garnish is not meant to be eaten! It will be crazy hot. One of my american friends did this once and hence I feel like warning everyone about this.!