Okra- I miss you!


Okra was one of my all time favorite veggies. But seems like I don’t have them enought these days, mostly because my husband doesn’t like it much. It is no fun eating something by yourself, but whenever this dish is cooked it is finished off almost entirely by me.


One of the special requests of my mother when I was a kid was the ‘vendakka chaaru kari’, which is okra cooked in coconut milk and spices. I don’t think anyone else at my house showed the same enthusiasm for okra. The other favorite way to eat okra was a quick saute, on high fire so that they don’t get slimy. I liked it more when my mother used to cut the okra into long strips. I used to make this for my roommates in college and drove them crazy with my insistence to cut them into these long strips. It takes much longer, but I believe they taste much better this way. My husband hates okra, and these days it is not that common on our menu, but anytime I see tender green okra I buy them. This has become a special treat for me. I do miss eating okra every week. Satish has gotten over his extreme dislike to them over the years, and this non slimy dish had a big role to play in changing his opinion.

Recipe method

The key is high heat, and okra that is dried after washing using a paper towel.
Slice the okra into rounds or into strips as shown in the picture.

Slice an onion into thin slices, and few green chillies split lengthwise.

When the pan gets hot, add some oil and mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter add the onion and green chillies, saute for 2 min. Once the onion wilts slightly, add the okra on high heat.

Don’t sir too much and use a lid to get the cooking faster. I usually just grab the pan by the handle and give a slight toss. Over medium-high heat, give it a few quick tosses and remove from fire after about 8 mins.

The time to cook the okra might change depending on the tenderness of the okra. Halfway through, add some curry leaves, torn into pieces. Adjust salt. Serve hot.
The okra cooked this way retains its color and the onions will be kind of sweet and crunchy.

This is my entry for ARF Tuesday hosted by Sweetnicks.

For a triple-powered punch against heart disease, eat some okra. It strikes first with an antioxidant job to atherosclerosis – that dangerous hardening and clogging of your blood vessels. The top antioxidant in okra’s arsenal is vitamin C which the World Health Organization has linked to a reduced risk of fatal heart disease. One cup of sliced okra has more vitamin C than a whole tomato. Although you cannot rely on okra as a single source of this important vitamin, it makes an interesting and nutritious addition to your diet. ( Link)

14 responses »

  1. Whoa! Your template has changed again! I had to scroll back up to confirm I was on the right blog! I like the shades of green!

    Gini, come on over and we can have an okra feast! The only time I have had them sliced long was when one of our cooks would slather them with salt, amchur and red chilli powder and then shallow fry them in oil. It used to be super but rather oily and very messy. I must try your recipe the next time I get okra. The quality of fresh okra has been on the decline though 😦

  2. I love Okra too…and another secret to a tasty Okra curry is to add a teaspoon of Pickle Masala ( store bought Red powder kind) towards the end..it gives the Okra a different kick.
    I also tried your Palak Kofta recipe on Sunday, and it was a HUGE hit with hubby and my father too! The only thing different I did was to make a red tikka curry as a base for the koftas. The Oven baked Koftas were much appreciated by my health freak hubby…many thanks.

    Cheers From Newfoundland,

  3. Manisha, I am sure we will have a blast at the feast! That okra fry sounds delicious- I think my north indian classmate has told me about something similar. You are right about the quality of okra in the stores – last year I tried to grow some but didn’t turn out well. When I lived in Florida,the regular stores carried okra but no such thing here. I can’t seem to resist playing with the templates. This was a new one that I saw yesterday and had to try that. Glad to hear you liked it.  

    Hi Trupti, I am glad to hear that. Will that masala be similar to the combo Manisha mentioned? Red tikka curry seems very interesting, never tried my hand at that. Care to share the recipe?

  4. Hi!
    The powder i am talking about is the ready made Pickle masala available at Indian grocery stores…hope you will find it!
    As for the red tikka curry base, I sauteed green peppers, red onions and garlic in oil, and added some red tandoori masala for that orangey-red color!
    To that, I also added a mix of Cashew,Peanut,and sesame powder and let it cook till it formed a somewhat thick consistency.
    After the sauce was cooked, I added salt, sugar, some cream, and Punjabi Garam masala…and simmered for few more minutes! Towards the end, I added the koftas so they wouldn’t fall apart. It was delicious.


  5. Trupti, thanks a lot for the recipe. Sounds like it will go really well with a meat kofta. I might try it this weekend.

    Rocksea, no vendakka in Japan. They don’t it eat there? I had no idea! Do you get any of our Kerala veggies there? I am curious.

  6. That is a beautiful way of cutting okra. I will try this next time.

    It is more complicated this way, but I am convinced that it tastes better cut into strips. I used to hate it when my mother cut them into rounds.!

  7. Oh, okra is in season here in taipei. I even bought and cooked some the other day. I knew about the flash fry method in indian cooking, but mine didn’t work out that well (it was fine, just not quite right). I’m going to try this recipe instead! Thanks 🙂

    Rose, hope this works for you. How do you make okra- fried?

  8. Pingback: ARF/5-A-Day #41 | Food & Life

  9. I agree with His Holy Eminance. Magic green rules okra lovers. Too stringy for my delite. Very bad for all ages. It is a worldwide disease of the world and people should be thinking more about okra than aids or anything else

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