Beetroot Thoran (South Indian Beet Stir-Fry)

When author VK Sreelesh’s in-laws get together in the South Indian state of Kerala, they prepare traditional Keralan dishes such as this beet thoran, which his mother-in-law, Shyamala, and her cousin Jayanti make with tender ruby-red beets that are stir-fried with chiles, turmeric, and coconut oil. This recipe first appeared in our August/September 2014 issue with Sreelesh’s article Cooking Cousins.

Beetroot Thoran (South Indian Beet Stir-Fry) Beetroot Thoran (South Indian Beet Stir-Fry)
From SAVEUR Issue #167 Tender beets are spiced with chiles and turmeric in this vibrant dish from Kerala.
Yield: serves 4-6


  • 1 12 lb. beets, peeled and cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • 12 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 small green Thai chiles or 1 serrano, halved
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 13 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp. coconut or canola oil
  • 12 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  1. Bring beets, turmeric, chiles, onion, and 1 cup water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered, until beets are just tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and stir in coconut, oil, curry leaves, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly dry, 8–10 minutes.