Skip to Content

Green Beans Curry South Indian Style

Sharing is caring!

Direct from Kerala, this is green beans curry South Indian style.

When Caroline and I were in Kerala, we tried some of the most amazing food. This green beans curry, South Indian style was one of the many mouthwatering surprises we had. It’s simple and easy to make but the flavours are out of this world! Who would have thought that a green beans curry could leave such a memorable impression?

You really need to try this one. It’s healthy and can be served as a main course with rice or you could serve it with other curries for an incredible feast.

Green beans curry south Indian style

About this recipe.

So I can almost hear you saying, how could South Indian green beans curry really be that good? It’s green beans after all! The thing is, the vegetarian cuisine in southern India really does take vegetarian food to a whole new and exciting level.

They know how to use their local ingredients to produce some of the best vegetarian dishes on the planet and this green beans curry is one of them.

What are thorans?

Thorans are dry vegetable dishes originating from Kerala, South India. A staple in Kerala cuisine, thorans involve stir-frying vegetables like cabbage or beans with grated coconut and spices.

The term “thoran” specifically reflects the South Indian context, though variations of similar dry vegetable stir-fries are found across the Indian subcontinent. Commonly, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and spices enhance the flavour.

While thorans are prominent in Kerala, comparable dishes with different names and regional adaptations can be enjoyed in other South Indian states. 

How do you cook this South Indian green beans curry?

This is really just a quick stir-fry. It can be made in minutes so you really want to give it a try soon.

You start by tempering mustard seeds and curry leaves in coconut oil. Yes, coconut oil is essential for a more authentic green bean thoran. 

Then you stir in the ground spices, beans and chopped tomatoes. Allow it all to cook through and then stir in grated coconut. It’s really that easy.

What are the key ingredients for this green beans curry south Indian style?

  1. Coconut oil: This oil is used not just to fry the thoran but also to flavour it. You will notice the subtle flavour of coconut that comes from coconut oil. There are no substititutes.
  2. Mustard Seeds and Curry Leaves: These are a must. The black mustard seeds give the curry a nutty flavour while the curry leaves flavour the curry in a way only curry leaves can.
  3. Onions, garlic, ginger and chillies: All of these are staples in Keralan cooking and a must for any thoran curry.
  4. Chilli powder and ground turmeric: The chilli powder adds a spicy flavour and should be added to taste. The turmeric adds a mildly bitter flavour and should also be added to taste.
  5. Tomatoes: The tomatoes not only add a sauce to the curry but also give it a tart and mildly sweet flavour.
  6. Green beans: This is an obvious. You can’t make green beans curry South Indian style without them. 🙂
  7. Grated coconut: Grated coconut is added for both flavour and texture. It’s a must in any thoran curry.

What do you serve with this South Indian style green beans curry?

Rice! White basmati rice is delicious and a traditional side for this curry. You could also serve it with matta rice.

How long can you keep this curry in the fridge?

Freshness is key to a good green bean thoran. You can store it in the fridge for one to two days. You could actually store it longer as it won’t go off but I find this green beans curry to be much better right out of the pan.

If you do have leftovers and want to reheat them, you can heat them up in a little coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat. You could also heat this curry in your microwave but the pan method is better.

Can you freeze green bean thoran?

You can but as I mentioned above, it is best served as fresh as possible. If you do decide to freeze it, allow it to defrost completely and then reheat it in a pan with a little coconut oil over a medium heat.

Pro Tips:

  1. Freshness is Key: Only use the freshest green beans, coconut and spices you can get your hands on. You can use tinned (canned) tomatoes though. They are often better than fresh depending on the season and where you live.
  2. D0n’t overcook: You want to stir-fry this curry until the beans are just cooked through. They need to have a nice healthy bite to them and not be too soft. So watch it, try it and serve it when ready.
  3. Check for seasoning: Always check for seasoning at the end of cooking. There isn’t much to this green beans curry so ensure you try it first and adjust the flavours to your personal taste.

Step by step photographs.

Ingredients for the thoran

Get all your ingredients together and prepared before you start cooking.

Tempering the mustard seeds and curry leaves in the coconut oil.

Heat the coconut oil over a high heat and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, stir in the curry leaves and fry for 40 seconds.

Adding the red onions to the pan.

Stir in the sliced red onions and a little salt and fry for about 7 minutes or until they are soft and just beginning to brown.

Adding the garlic, ginger, chillies and ground spices.

Add the chopped garlic and ginger along with the chillies. Stir well and then stir in the ground spices.

Adding the tomatoes and green beans to the pan.

Add the green beans and chopped tomatoes along with about 70ml (1/4 cup) water.

Stirring the curry.

Stir it all up and when it comes to a simmer, cover the pan for 3 minutes.

Adding the grated coconut.

Stir in the grated coconut and continue cooking for a couple of minutes until the beans are cooked through and you have a thick sauce.

Seasoning and serving the green beans curry

Season the curry with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

The green beans curry south Indian style served on a plate with basmati rice.


If you like this green beans curry South Indian style recipe, you might like to try some of the Indian Vegetarian favourites.

Dum Aloo
Pakistani Chickpea Biryani
Punjabi Saag Curry
Punjabi Rajma
Butternut Squash Curry
Sri Lankan Green Beans Curry
Aloo Gobi
Saag Paneer
Onion Pakora Curry
Chana Saag Curry
Potato Curry
Saag Paneer
Mushroom Curry
Masala Corn
Gobi Manchurian
Bombay Potatoes
Masala Dosa
Saag Aloo
Tandoori Hummus
Tarka Dal
Masoor Dal
Dal Makhani
Chana Dal
Homemade Poppadoms From Scratch
Cabbage Thoran

Have you tried this green bean thoran recipe?

If yes, please give it a star rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

If you are not already doing so, please follow me on Instagram and Facebook for all my latest recipes.

Yield: 4

How to Make an Authentic Indian Vegetarian Green Bean Curry

Seasoning and serving the green beans curry
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 green chillies - halved
  • 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 20 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • 3 chopped tomatoes or the equivalent tinned (canned) tomatoes. About one can.
  • 5 tbsp freshly grated coconut
  • 400g fresh green beans trimmed and cut
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or wok over a high heat.
  2. When the oil begins to glisten in the pan, add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, stir in the curry leaves and temper in the oil for about 40 seconds.
  3. Stir in the sliced red onion and fry for about 7 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown.
  4. Now add the green chillies, ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilli powder. Cook stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the green beans, tomatoes and about 70ml (1/4 cup) water and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer until the green beans are cooked through and tender. This should only take about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the grated coconut and stir it in well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately with fluffy white rice.


Grated Coconut: You can use frozen grated coconut which is a lot easier than cracking a coconut open and grating it.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 4g

Did you like this recipe?

Please join me on Facebook where I share all my latest recipes and videos. Just click that Facebook icon on the left and let's get to know each other!




Thursday 22nd of September 2016

A very simple way of cooking green beans curry. Chop in to small pieces, add two tsp oil , mustard, asafaetida, curry leaves, add chopped beans and fry for a minute add turmeric powder . Add salt, coconut, and chopped coriander. Add half a tsp of sugar or jaggery and cook in a pressure cooker. Simple way to cook a green bean curry


Saturday 28th of February 2015

Thank you Curry Guy, this recipe is very yummy and soooooo easy to make. Love it, I am vegetarian and really enjoy different dishes especially ones with an Indian or Middle Eastern influence.

Dan Toombs

Thursday 5th of March 2015

Thank you Joanne.



Sunday 30th of June 2013

Thank you for a nice tasty veg.

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 3rd of July 2013

Thank you for giving my recipe a try.


David Percival

Saturday 14th of July 2012

Shared this recipe on twitter @helixoo

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 12th of September 2012

Thanks very much for that David and sorry for the late reply.



Wednesday 30th of November 2011

thanks so much for very informative website. i don't have turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder. what i have is curry powder that has corriander, turmeric,ginger,cinnamon,black pepper,cumin,fenugreekand cordomon. am wondering if instead of 1 tbsp cumin powder & 1 tbsp coriander powder, i can use 2 tbsp of curry powder in ur monkfish curry recipe? and for the marinade, i will use 1 tbsp of curry powder instead of 1 tbsp turmeric? thanks!!

Dan Toombs

Sunday 4th of December 2011

Hi Jo

If you have a really good quality curry powder that will be fine. It is always best to roast and grind your own spices when possible. I hope you like the recipe.

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!