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Food from Southern India is very different to food found in the rest of India. The south has palm trees and beaches, so freshly grated coconut and coconut milk are often used in curries; a lot of the dishes are rice based and the food is altogether much lighter. This delicious beet thoran is made by cooking grated beets in a creamy, spiced coconut milk curry with curry leaves and cashews.

Beet Thoran: South Indian Beet and Coconut Milk Curry [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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  • 15-20 cashews
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 4 grated beets
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons desiccated coconut or 1.5 ounces freshly grated coconut
  • 1 2/3 cups full-fat coconut milk


  1. Soak the cashews in water for an hour (or longer), then drain.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan on a low heat, then add the cumin and mustard seeds and the fenugreek seeds, if using. Once the mustard seeds have popped, add the green chili, sesame seeds, and curry leaves, if using.
  3. When the sesame seeds are lightly browned, stir in the grated beet and add the ground turmeric, cumin and coriander, and salt. Leave to cook for 6-8 minutes with the lid on, stirring regularly, then add the cashews, desiccated coconut, and coconut milk.
  4. Cook for another 10 minutes until all the coconut milk is soaked up. Pour into serving bowls and enjoy hot.


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