Curly kale thoran

Thoran is a generic Malayalam term given to any dry mixed vegetable dish garnished with fresh coconut.  It has taken us a while to experiment with non traditional Indian vegetables and greens but having just attempted a curly kale thoran we think we have been missing out on this wonderful leafy vegetable which is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and rich in calcium.  There appears to be more than one variety of kale – we’ve tried the curly variety in today’s thoran and in the past have stir fried an Italian variety called ‘cavolo nero’ with a splash of tamari soy sauce, Shaosin wine, palm sugar and spiced black rice wine vinegar.


What do I need to make it?

  • 200 gm curly kale washed
  • 1/2 cup dried borlotti bean pressure cooked with 1 cup of water
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp split urad dahl
  • 1/2 tsp channa dahl
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat a wok with the coconut oil – first add the mustard seeds and wait for them to start spluttering before adding the urad and channa dahl.    Once the dahls start to brown a bit add the curry leaves and dried red chillies – stir for 15 seconds before adding the curly kale.   Add a 1/4 cup of water, turmeric powder, mix, cover and cook over a low heat till done.    Remove the lid, add the cooked borlotti beans, fresh coconut and adjust the seasoning before taking it off the heat.

Rava Stores (Palakkad, Kerala)

Rava  stores is a family  establishment that has weathered all the ravages of times.  A tiny little store which has survived the onslaught of modernization and thrived despite changes and the challenges of the economy.  It is a store which sells the finest quality locally produced spices, masalas, pickles, pickling spices, dried vegetables, condiments, sweets, savories , chutneys and mixes native to Palakkad.  The beauty of this store is that it procures  its goods from vendors who make them from  home and therefore promotes the local cottage industries.

Rava stores  holds a very special place in my heart because my dad and my grandparents swore by it and were very faithful customers.  I cherish the memories of coming here year after year as a child and even today have made myself visit the  store and buy my favourites every time I am in Palakkad.  Nothing has changed since I was a child.  The way the goods are stored in rectangular metal tins and stacked on the old wooden shelves, the blue shutters or the smell of freshly ground masalas.  All this evokes a great sense of nostalgia and a small sense of joy that something dear to  me from my childhood has remained  exactly the same.

Long live Rava stores.  I hope my children will also keep this tradition alive and make the culinary pilgrimage to Rava stores every time they visit Palakkad.  I hope they cultivate their taste buds and develop the fondness for Mahaani, Kaduku Manga and Tapioca Poppadums  and everything else that Rava stores has specialized in supplying for generations.

Rava stores 1  rava stores 2