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asparagus thoran

Asparagus Stir Fry

Vegetarian/Vegan asparagus stir fry - simple, effortless, delicious! Finally, spring is here and it is asparagus season. Fresh asparagus spears abound in my local grocer as well as farmers' market. I can never resist them.

I have adapted the Kerala style thoran to use asparagus and it is such an easy & simple recipe that you can prepare as a side dish every time you find asparagus :).

This stir fry is made in the footsteps of Kerala-style thoran, seasoned with red chilli flakes, garlic, shallots, and fresh coconut. You can make a no-onion-no-garlic version too.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 -4


  • 500 grams approx. 1 lb Asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Udad Dal
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Flakes; adjust to taste
  • a generous pinch Hing/Asafoetida; optional see Recipe Notes
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon Haldi/Turmeric Powder
  • Salt to taste

coarsely grind

  • 20-25 grams ¼ cup Coconut
  • 7-8 grams 1 small Pearl Onion/Shallots
  • 5-6 grams 1 medium-sized garlic clove


  • large skillet/frying pan preferably non-stick or a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet
  • chopping board & knife
  • mixer-grinder/blender
  • cooking spoons
  • measuring spoons/cups
  • serving dish


how to make asparagus stir fry (Kerala Style Asparagus Thoran)


    • Wash & chop asparagus stems into small pieces.
    • Crush coconut, garlic & pearl onions together. (Do this as part of your prep work and keep it ready).[Note: Use the mixer-grinder/blender with a pulse option for this step]
    • Get all your other ingredients ready.


    • Heat oil in a large skillet on the stovetop on medium heat. (I use my 11-inch skillet for about 500 grams of asparagus)
    • Add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add cumin seeds and udad dal. Fry until udad dal turns brown. Add red chilli flakes. Give a quick stir.. Add the curry leaves. [Note: WHen you add curry leaves, they splutter spitting oil.]
    • Turn the heat from medium to medium-high/high. Add asparagus and haldi. Mix well. Season with salt. Cook on high heat or medium-high heat for a couple of minutes or until asparagus is cooked and is bright green. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking. [Note: Do not overcook]
    • Add the crushed coconut mix. Mix well to combine. Turn off the heat.
    • Transfer to a serving dish. Serve hot.



    • 1 CUP = 250 ML. (US cups are typically 240 ml. You can use cups with no significant change to the dish)
    • Grams to cups measurements – we strive to provide these conversions as accurately as possible. There might be some slight variations depending on the brand, weighing scale, etc.
    • Serving size – This serves 4  people. Adjust the serving size to fit your dietary needs. 
    • The trick is to not cook the asparagus too much. This is a pretty quick recipe. Once you add the asparagus, you are cooking at a higher heat - consider it like heating through.
    • Do not add water while pulsing the coconut or while cooking the asparagus. .
    • Hing/Asafoetida is optional. If following a gluten-free diet, read the labels to ensure it is gluten-free.
    • Prep Time - Time to chop asparagus and crush coconut, and get ingredients ready. Cook Time - Time for actual cooking.