Kerala Cabbage Thoran & Sambar
Blogging Marathon# 35: Day 1/ Week 2
Theme: Regional Dishes - Course Specific
Dish: Kerala Cabbage Thoran & Sambar
We are starting our Week 2 of Blogging Marathon# 35 and my theme for this week is 'Any Regional with Course Specific dishes'. After seeing Rajani'sKerala Sadya recipes during the mega month long marathon, I have been planning to try my hand at Kerala dishes. Finally I made 3 dishes for this week's marathon.
The twist that Valli put to this seemingly simple theme is that we have to post a different course every day. So for the first day I'm posting 2 Kerala Lunch dishes, a simple Cabbage thoran and a hearty Sambar.
There are so many lovely blogs featuring Kerala dishes and I found this simple Cabbage thoran recipe on Nags blog. In our household, all veggie preparations are called 'kuras' or 'curry', it doesn't matter if it is a dry curry or a gravy curry. So when I'm amazed with the names that Kerala curries have.
'Thoran' is a mildly spiced curry where the flavors of the vegetables shine through. My mom makes similar dish, but the use of coconut oil gives it a distinct flavor that is quite different to what we are used to.
- Combine grated cabbage, red onion, green chilies, crushed cumin, turmeric, coconut, curry leaves and salt in a wide bowl. Mix well and set aside for 5 mins, so that the cabbage lets out some water.
- Heat 2tsp coconut oil in a saute pan, add the mustard seeds and once the seeds start splutter add the cabbage mixture. Pat down tightly and cover the pan. Cook on very low flame for 12~15 minutes or until cabbage is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Make sure that the flame is really low and the cabbage doesn't burn.
- Uncover and adjust the seasoning. Serve with steamed rice.
Second recipe for the day is Rajani's Kerala Sambar. We make sambar the similar way, but the use of coconut oil for the tempering makes a big difference in taste and gives it the Kerala flavor. Also adding hing to the boiling veggies was new to me, I'm used to using hing only in tempering. Also Rajani's recipe mentions the cucumber as one of the veggie, I've never added cucumber to sambar and after tasting this sambar, I was wondering why I never thought of that myself.
This recipe doesn't have tomatoes and gets its sourness from just tamarind extract. Also no special sambar masala needs to be made, just use whatever you have in your pantry.
- Pressure cook toor dal until very soft and mushy. Mash with the back of a spoon and set aside.
- Precook the veggies either by boiling in water or in the microwave for 4~5 minutes until tender. I usually microwave them because it is quick and easy.
- Add the cooked veggies to a medium sauce pan along with tamarind paste, turmeric, sambar powder, hing, salt and 2cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the mashed dal and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Taste and see if it needs anything, this is the time to add more salt, sambar powder or tamarind. Add more water if the mixture looks too thick. Simmer gently until sambar reaches desired consistency.
- For the tempering: Heat coconut nut oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds and once they start to splutter, lower the flame and add fenugreek seeds. Once fenugreek seeds change color add curry leaves and pour the tempering over sambar.
- Serve hot with papads and steamed rice.