Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Asparagus upperi/thoran/side dish

Asparagus is definitely a new vegetable for us Indians. I had never seen this vegetable until I moved to the US where I had it in restaurants, stir-fried, steamed or grilled. There are not too many recipes that do justice to this vegetable. So I experimented and came up with this side-dish/upperi/thoran. It's made the same way as we make green beans or cabbage in Kerala. The dish comes out beautifully with the sweetness of the grated coconut meeting the mild mustardy and chili flavor from the tempering. It is a simple side-dish, as is typical of most dishes from Kerala. This is my entry to RCI - Kerala hosted by Jyothsna of Curry Bazaar.

When buying Asparagus look for stalks that are rounded, firm stems with deep green and purplish colored tips. The cut ends should not be too woody. Once trimmed and cooked, asparagus loses about half its total weight. While it is not necessary to peel asparagus, you should cut off the fibrous base before cooking. Wash it under cold water to remove any sand or soil residues.

Some facts about Asparagus are:

  • The asparagus plant is a member of the lily family, which also includes onions, leeks and garlic.
  • The larger the diameter, the better the quality!
  • Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food which is high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.
  • Asparagus has No Fat, contains No Cholesterol and is low in Sodium.
(more info visit http://www.asparagus.org)


  • 1 bunch of Asparagus, cleaned, chopped(woody base discarded)
  • ½ an onion chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • few curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh coconut or desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsps vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

In a pot, heat the oil, and splutter the mustard seeds, add the dried chilies and curry leaves. Add the chopped onion, chilies and the chopped asparagus. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the turmeric and salt. Cook the asparagus uncovered, until crisp-tender, around 3 to 5 minutes. Add the coconut and cook it for another minute or so. Serve hot.


Mandira said...

the asparagus thoran looks delicious. I saw it in RCI and came to your blog. Wonderful!

my comfort food said...

Thanks for your comments. I make this dish often at home as a side dish with rice. I also make asparagus + potato - the coconut to go with roti's (that'll be another post).

Gini said...

I once had this at a friend's and it was a delicious. Love the pic.

my comfort food said...

Thanks gini,

It is good with a mountain of rice and chembu curry(i like the one in your site). :-))