Kanava Thoran


Kanava Thoran or Squid/Calamari stir fried with coconut – another walk down the memory lane with a childhood favourite! My mom never had a liking for squid, for the reason that she never liked to clean. So it was my aunt who always used to make this for me, and really happy to share a slice of happiness (her recipe) from my childhood.

Freshly grated coconut and curry leaves sautéed in coconut oil gives the quintessential Kerala kick to this preparation. Managing the heat is the key here, and make sure not to ovecook the squid or it may get too rubbery. And cleaning squid is not that difficult and if you have not tried it before, the online videos available can be of great help.

You need –

  • Squid – 750 grams
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fennel seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Shallots – finely sliced, 1/2 cup
  • Onion – small, 1 thinly sliced
  • Curry leave – 2 twigs
  • Green chili – 2-3 or to taste, chopped
  • Ginger – finally chopped, 3 teaspoons
  • Garlic – finely chopped, 3 teaspoons
  • Garam masala – ¼ teaspoon
  • Coconut oil – as required
  • Salt to taste
  • White vinegar – 1 teaspoon

To grind (coarsely)

  • Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • Fennel seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 2 teaspoon
  • Peppercorns – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ teaspoon


How to –

Clean and wash the squid well. Cut into rings and in a sauce pan place the squid, ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 cup water and little salt. Cook the squid till done but do not overcook as it will be too rubbery. Drain and set aside. Now coarsely grind all the ingredients under “to grind”.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan; add the curry leaves, chopped green chilies, ginger, garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add the shallots and onion and continue to cook till the onions are translucent. Now add the coarsely ground coconut mix, salt to taste and sauté till the oil starts to separate and the raw smell is no more. Add the vinegar and stir briefly.

Tip the cooked squid, 1/4 cup water and cook till the mixture is dry and the coconut mixture is well coated on the squid. Stir constantly. Sprinkle the gram masala and 2 teaspoons of coconut oil; stir well to combine.

Turn the heat off and serve with steamed rice and curry.



3 thoughts on “Kanava Thoran

  1. Squid is something I have never tried home although I enjoy eating it at my favorote Chinese restaurant. This south Indian versions sounds tempting and bang on on flavors.

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