What is a dry curry? I’m sure some would think that is a paradox, but these kinds of curries that don’t have a wet masala base can’t quite be called a stir-fry IMHO. Dry curries are simpler and take less time typically than a regular stew-type curry. There typically are less ingredients and less cook time, but still have pronounced flavor from spices; look at this fenugreek fish curry for another example.
Thoren would be the name to this particular kind of Keralan curry. I am on a Kerala kick—I love that the region uses fresh coconut (not only the cream or milk but the actual meat of the coconut) in so much of its cuisine. Note that coconut used that way does not impart any level of sweetness (like some Thai milky curries do). Besides, the chili of many Indian foods covers up the potential sweet notes anyway.
This type of dry curry goes well with a classic gravy-laden curry, some rice, and yogurt. I’d pair this curry with either the aromatic saucy shrimp curry on my site or the butternut squash and spinach curry. And if you want to really get skilled at some basic Indian cooking techniques, don’t forget my Skillshare class, which you can learn your own pace, in segments.
Here’s the recipe and it’s a short one. Promise you, this is weeknight friendly as long as you have the ingredients and spices on hand. What other “dry” curries have you guys made? What are your favorites?
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut (preferably fresh or frozen, not desiccated)
- 1-2 serrano chiles, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 dried red chili
- 2 stems curry leaves
- 2 pounds green beans, cut into one inch pieces
- ¼ cup roasted or raw peanuts
- In a medium bowl, combine coconut, green chilis, fresh garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wide skillet or pot over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Sprinkle in a few mustard seeds to test the hot oil. The mustard seeds should sizzle and pop. Once they pop, add in the red chili. Stir for just a few seconds then add in the curry leaves, being sure to have a lid nearby because the leaves will splatter in the hot oil!
- Scoop in all the green beans, and stir well. Cook for a few minutes, then add ¾ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until beans are softened but still have a bite.
- Add in the coconut and spice mixture into the green beans, stirring well. Cook for just a few minutes longer and you’re done!
- Garnish with peanuts.