South Indian Beetroot STIR FRY (Thoran/Poriyal/Palya)

Somedays you crave for something simple. A bowl of steaming hot rice with a dollop of ghee and some beetroot stir fry; a papad or crisps with that would be great; some rasam or curds/yogurt even better.

With all good intentions I had bought some beetroots to make dal. They were languishing at the back of the fridge and calling my name. One day, I was watching a show where they were talking of small eat outs in Bangalore and one of them had a thali with beetroot palya. That was my inspiration.

A simple vegetable stirfry is called thoran in Kerala, poriyal in Tamil Nadu and palya is Karnataka. You can substitute beetroots for beans or cabbage. The trick to this is to chop it fine. In Kerala they chop it much finer than in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, they add the green chillies to fry with the beets, but in Kerala it is added at the end. In Kerala you would use coconut oil to fry. Some people steam or cook their beets before stir frying. I prefer not cooking the beets before.


  • 3-5 beetroots (depending on size) peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies- either serrano or jalapeno
  • 1/3 cup grated coconut- I like coconut so i add a little more. You can to 1/4th cup if you want
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • salt to taste


  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Add mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  • When the mustard seeds splutter, add beetroot and stir fry.
  • Add a tablespoon of water if required
  • Add salt. Keep stir frying till the beetroot is just cooked. It should not be too soft or mushy
  • Grind/ Pulse coconut and chillies together in mixer/blender till chillies are chopped fine. Do not add water.
  • Add coconut mixture to the beetroot and fry for a few more minutes
  • Serve hot with rice or roti
  • A complete meal would be rice, a lentil (sambar or rasam- recipe links below), beetroot thoran, a bowl of curds/ plain yogurt and a papad.

For Rasam recipe:

Jeera Rasam:


If you have not gotten enough of beets or have some extra, make this lentil rich beetroot dish and serve with rice or bread- For beetroot dal recipe:


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Such an interesting way to cook beets. Wonderful flavors. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! This is a very traditional South Indian recipe. Do try!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely on my list! 🙂


  2. Healthy with yummy!!😍😍


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