When Asha Gomez started a monthly supper club to introduce people to the cuisine of her native Kerala, India, she never expected to have a waiting list of 100 people each night. Now, more than a year after that first dinner, Gomez has opened Cardamom Hill in Atlanta. Gomez's recipe for thoran, a classic coconut-flecked dish, can be altered to incorporate any vegetables on hand. Don't let the chopping demands deter you: The vegetables are cut into small pieces to expedite the cooking, which happens blissfully fast. Editor's note: Cardamon Hill is now closed.
Green Bean and Carrot Thoran
Recipe adapted from Asha Gomez, Cardamom Hill, Atlanta, GA
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
8 to 10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 pound green beans, thinly sliced on the bias
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup frozen grated coconut, available at Indian markets (or substitute finely grated dried unsweetened coconut soaked at room temperature in ¼ cup water until the water is absorbed)
3 garlic cloves
1 serrano chile
1. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, after about 2 minutes, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans, carrots, turmeric powder and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the beans and carrots are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
2. With a mortar and pestle or in a blender, crush the coconut, garlic and serrano chile until well combined. Add the coconut mixture to the beans and carrots and stir to mix well. Cook for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Serve immediately.