Chow Chow Thoran: Exploring Kerala's Vegetarian Culinary Delight
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Chow Chow Thoran is a unique veg dish made from Chayote Squash, commonly called Chow Chow. Some might refer to thoran as poriyal but they differ in the places of origin. Poriyal originated from Tamil Nadu, whereas Thoran originated in the Kerela region. Even after the recipe is similar, they differ vastly.  The two primary differentiating factors between thoran and poriyal are the amount of coconut used in making the dish and the method of preparation, along with the sequence in which the ingredients go in. This has a huge effect on how the resulting dish will taste, and both are equally good. 

Chow Chow is a uniquely delicious and healthy squash type that is used in various South Indian dips and dishes. Chayote, known as Chow Chow, is an incredibly versatile vegetable that finds its way into a variety of culinary delights across India. It can be used in several different ways, be it desserts, dips, side dishes or main course. Chayote is one of the most versatile vegetables that are utilised in culinary applications all over India. Several pahadi meals are also made with this squash. 

Chow chow thoran is traditionally made with Chayote sauteed in oil or ghee, along with coconut and some regional spices. It is a widely consumed side dish that is served with sambhar or cooked rice. 

In traditional thoran recipes, coconut plays a huge role in defining the characteristic flavour and texture. Coconut enhances the flavour and adds a touch of nuttiness and a coastal feel to the dish. With its subtle crunchiness and slightly chewy element, this one ingredient elevates the experience with every bite. Additionally, it also acts as a binding agent for the dish to fuse all the elements and spices harmoniously. Being a staple in South Indian cuisine, coconut is also connected with several traditional culinary practices. 

Chow Chow Thoran is a unique dish that is made with chayote and coconut and is one of the most adored dishes in Kerela. Check out its recipe and the elements that make it so special.



2 chayote squash (Chow Chow), peeled and diced

1 cup grated coconut

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

2-3 green chillies, chopped

1 sprig of curry leaves

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp coconut oil

Salt to taste


1) To prepare Chow Chow Thoran, start by peeling and dicing the chow chow into medium-sized pieces. Steam the vegetables with salt in a pressure cooker, using about 2 tablespoons of water or a steamer, until they are soft and cooked.

2) In a blender, create a coarse mixture by combining coconut, one sprig of curry leaves, green chillies, and cumin seeds.

3) Mix the coconut blend into the steamed chow chow and set it aside.

4) For the final touch, make the seasoning by heating a small pan with a teaspoon of oil. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add the other sprig of curry leaves and turmeric powder. Turn off the heat and pour this seasoning into the Chow Chow Thoran mixture. Stir well, check the salt levels, and adjust according to taste.

5) Chow Chow Thoran pairs well with Steamed Rice, Tomato Rasam, Mixed Vegetable Sambar, and Elai Vadam for a satisfying everyday meal.

Chow Chow is a healthy squash, and it goes well with a variety of ingredients and spices. Not only this, it also serves as a light and delicious meal at any time of the day. Try this chow chow thoran today.