Thoran (Stir fry with coconut) is something that I make very often. I’m sure it’s a staple in most Kerala homes. Can you imagine a Kerala lunch without thoran? I think it’s kinda blasphemous thing to do, a kerala lunch without thoran 😉 Its very light on stomach, oil free and you can add less salt too if you are health conscious. Plus this is high in proteins


  • ▢1 cup Vanpayar (Red Cowpeas)
  • ▢1 cup Grated coconut
  • ▢6 – 8 sliced Small / pearl onion
  • ▢1 tsp Chopped garlic
  • ▢1/4 tsp Whole black pepper
  • ▢1/4 tsp Fennel seeds
  • ▢2 Dry red chilli
  • ▢1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • ▢1/2 – 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • ▢Salt
  • ▢Curry leaves
  • ▢1 – 2 tbsp Coconut oil


  • ▢Rinse the vanpayar under running water a few times. Pressure cook vanpayar with 3 cups water for 8 – 10 whistles on full flame. Switch off the gas and let the pressure drops. Open the cooker and strain the cooked vanpayar. Keep aside 1/4 cup of cooking water. 
  • ▢Crush together sliced small onions, chopped garlic, black pepper, fennel seeds and dry red chilli.
  • ▢Add turmeric and chilli powder to grated coconut. Mix well using your finger tips
  • ▢Heat oil in a wide pan. Add crushed ingredients, curry leaves and cook till it browns and raw smell goes, around 4 – 5 mins. 
  • ▢Add coconut mixture and mix well. Cook for 3-4 mins.
  • ▢Add cooked Vanpayar and salt. Mix well. Add reserved cooking water (refer notes) and cover and cook for 6 – 8 mins. Remove from fire. 


I dont soak the Vanpayar, hence longer cooking time. If you soak it, adjust the cooking time accordingly. I like a slightly mashed up texture for this thoran, so I add the cooking water. You can add or skip the cooking water depending on how you like the texture of payar. 

🍛 Vanpayar Thoran | Indian | Vegetarian | Recipe

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