Zucchini flower thoran
Thanks to T, now we have a thriving vegetable patch and something to show off for the green blog project this summer. Getting preoccupied with the thousand little nothings associated with a move, we ended up starting our vegetable patch a bit late, so now we have flowers when we should be talking vegetables! Pumpkin and Zucchini thankfully belongs to the same botanical family Cucurbitaceae, and I hear that their flowers are equally edible and tasty. This crumb of information is pure joy for me who had the privilege of eating a decent amount of pumpkin flowers growing up, and then for the past several years was deprived of that vantage. So when I saw these zucchini flowers blooming in my backyard, I got a very pleasant premonition about the events to unfold in my kitchen.
Stuffing and frying Zucchini flowers, I am sure is an excellent way to savor these blossoms, but first I had to make a simple Kerala style thoran hoping my best that these flowers will taste similar to pumpkin flowers. The word Thoran is a generic name for a simple Kerala style vegetable preparation, though there is no reason to be surprised when you hear somebody talking about a fabulous fish thoran that they once tasted. While most of the thorans depend on cumin, grated coconut, curry leaves, mustard and chillies playing along with the vegetable for the flavor, onion and garlic gets into the list of ingredients based on the practice in your neck of the woods in the state. Thoran in essence is mildly spiced; you should be able to eat many spoonfuls of this dish, without ever shedding a tear or running for a cup of water, and it tastes best served with rice. This post is on its way to the Green Blog Project- Summer 2007 event hosted by Deepz of Letz cook. To read more about this blog-green revolution and to meet the ‘YOU KNOW WHO’ that started it, visit this blog.
There are two kinds of Zucchini flowers, males and females; both are edible and easily distinguishable from each other. Male flowers have thinner stalks while the females have stems resembling zucchinis. You might want to leave all or a desired number of female flowers back on the plant for the future zucchini harvest, but can reap most of the male flowers leaving a couple for the fertilization process. Best time to collect is in the morning, being the fragile flowers they are storing for more than two days is not recommended. I used flower stalks along with whole flowers in this recipe. 5 to 6 cups of chopped flowers will give you a cup of prepared thoran, so collect as much as you can.
Chopped zucchini flowers and stalk – 5 cups
Chopped Green chilies – 1/4 tsp (or according to your taste)
Cumin – a pinch
Garlic- 1 clove, chopped
Curry leaves – 3 -4
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Coconut grated – 1 /4 cup
Salt – to taste
Mix chopped zucchini with grated coconut, a pinch of salt and chopped garlic. Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and cumin. Quickly add the chopped flowers, mix well. At this point these flowers will release a surprising volume of water, shrinking into 1/4th of the initial quantity. When this happens, you might want to move the flowers over to the side of the pan, so that the water will drain into the middle of the pan. Let the water evaporate to a teaspoonful or so (takes about 2 minutes)., mix everything again and stir till the thoran is dry and ready ( 1-2 minutes in high heat)