A thoran is a sort of quick Keralan stir-fry. Here it involves cooking shredded sprouts hard and fast, then tossing them with some sweet onions and the lively flavors of curry leaves, chile, lemon, and coconut. This is Kerala, via wintry England, on a plate.
This dish goes well with other Keralan dishes like beet pachadi or tamarind and caramelized red onion rice.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side
1¼ pounds Brussels sprouts, washed
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
12 fresh curry leaves
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red chile, finely sliced
2/3 cup desiccated or fresh grated coconut
2/3 teaspoon salt
juice of ½ a lemon
First shred the sprouts. The easiest way to do this is in a food processor fitted with a thin slicing disc. If you don’t have a food processor, slice them as thinly as you can by hand.
Put the coconut oil into a wide-bottomed pan over medium to high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Wait for them to sizzle and pop, then add the red onion.
Cook until soft and starting to caramelize, then add the garlic, red chile, and coconut. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the raw smell of the garlic disappears, then turn the heat up, add the sprouts, and mix thoroughly.
Keep tossing and turning for 4 minutes, then add the salt and lemon juice. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then take off the heat. Taste to check the salt and lemon balance, and adjust if need be.