Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#333: Salmon Thoran

I'm sure many of you have not heard of 'thoran,' but if you've had South Indian food (specifically food from Kerala), it's likely you've eaten this dish.  

Thoran is a dry stir-fried dish, usually made with vegetables, so this variation with salmon is quite unique.  The vegetables are cooked with a mixture of coconut, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric.  The vegetables are chopped and cooked quickly over high heat. Traditionally the recipe doesn't include garlic.  With time, Malayalis/Keralites, have modified the traditional recipe to include fish and sometimes garlic.  

We have posted quite a few thoran recipes on the blog in the past.  Here are a few other variations:
We grew up eating all variations of these thorans! 

While the vegetable thorans are absolutely delicious, this week we decided to make a Salmon Thoran, because why not?  I'm consistently trying to incorporate salmon into my diet, and this spicy flavorful change is just the ticket. Try this out, and serve it with raita (yogurt and cucumbers), rice, or roti (Indian bread), or even on top of a mixed green salad.  

Salmon Thoran


1 1/2 lbs salmon, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsps plain yogurt
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp Fish Curry Masala (I used the Nirapara brand, but any brand should work)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste (or grated ginger and garlic)
2 tbsps oil
2 tbsps grated coconut (or unsweetened coconut chips/flakes)
2 onions, chopped fine
3 green chilies, chopped
1 stem of curry leaves, leaves removed from stem
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 split red chili 

  1. In a bowl mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, fish masala, chili powder, turmeric powder, black pepper, salt and ginger/garlic paste.  Add the salmon to the marinade and coat the salmon in the yogurt marinade.  Marinate for 5-6 hours in the fridge.
  2. Place a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add oil.
  3. When the oil is hot enough, add mustard seeds and red chilies.
  4. When the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves, chopped onion and green chilies.
  5. Now lower the heat, and saute the mixture until the onions are lightly brown in color.
  6. Increase the heat to medium-high and quickly add the marinated salmon along with the marinade.
  7. Watch the heat and do not let the mixture burn too quickly. Do not stir aggressively, because you don't want the salmon to break up.  
  8. Cook on high heat tossing lightly until the salmon is cooked and the water is dried, brown.  Add additional salt if needed, and you're ready to serve. 


  1. I love your creative use of salmon for a new twist on a classic dish! I like garlic in everything even if it isn't traditional! :)

    1. Thank you Rachelle. I totally agree, doesn't garlic just make everything better?!

  2. I love salmon and coconut together, so I am adding this to my "to make" list. Yum!

    1. Me too! You'll have to tell me how you like it!!

  3. Hello!! I am SO glad I stumbled upon your blog today!! I used to live in DC and I just recently moved to SF so I love that your locations are my two most recent hometowns :). Also this recipe looks awesome. I eat so much salmon but I'm always looking for more ways to change it up!

    1. Hi Dani! Glad you stumbled on our blog today too! My sister lives in SF and I live in DC. We're from DC, and she actually moved to the Bay Area about 2 years ago. I'm actually in SF visiting her for a few days, and celebrating my best friend's birthday in Napa (!!!). I love it out here! We came across your Instagram account too (thanks for the 'like' and 'follow' by the way!)....you have the most gorgeous food pics! Love em! We both will definitely be checking out your blog. But, for now, I'm off to Ike's for lunch to basically stuff my face!

      By the way, glad you like the recipe!!


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