Yoghurt is such an important part of the diet in many parts of India, and it is often a part of every lunch and dinner meal. Sometimes served as is, and often mixed with a vegetable, there are many ways to ensure yoghurt, spices and vegetables have an increased presence in the daily diet.
This recipe is terrific, with the combination of textures and flavours. It can be served as both a raita (yoghurt dish) or as a side dish – okra in a yoghurt sauce.
This dish is from the beautiful Yamuna Devi’s Lord Krishna’s Kitchen, a real bible of Indian dishes. She suggests that this dish is served with Spiced Potato and Pea Samosas with Sweet and Sour Tamarind Sauce, for a light lunch or snack, and with Toor Dal Kitchari with Mixed Vegetables for a more substantial meal. Delicious!
Bhindi Raita | Fried Okra in Yoghurt
1 tspn garam masala
0.25 tspn Indian chilli powder
0.5 Tblspn coriander powder
2 cups Desi or Greek yoghurt (Desi yoghurt is available at your Indian shop)
0.5 Tblspn cumin seeds
3 Tblspn chickpea flour (besan)
fresh coriander leaves
sea salt to taste
Wash the okra, and dry individually. Then trim the top and cut the okra into 0.5 cm slices.
Dry roast the cumin seeds until a nice aroma arises, and coarsely crush them.
Dry roast the chickpea flour over medium heat, stirring constantly, until toasted and it emits a nutty aroma. Put aside to cool.
In an Indian wok (kadhai) or small but deep heavy frying pan, place ghee to a depth of 2 – 2.5 cm. Heat over medium heat and when it is hot, add the sliced okra. Do this in 2 batches if necessary. Fry until crispy and brown, about 15 minutes. Remove and drain on paper kitchen towels, then sprinkle while hot with garam masala, chilli powder and 0.5 tspn sea salt. Toss to mix.
Place the yoghurt in a large bowl and add 0.5 tspn salt, most of the cumin seed (reserve 0.5 tspn), and the coriander leaves. Whisk with a fork until smooth and creamy.
Add the okra to the yoghurt and sprinkle with the chickpea flour. Stir gently. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining cumin seeds, fresh herbs and a dash of Indian chilli powder. Serve immediately.
recipe notes and alternatives
The okra will soften if allowed to sit in the yoghurt. This is not a problem, it is still delicious. But serve quickly if you prefer crispy okra.
The toasted chickpea flour thickens the yoghurt and darkens its colour.
The okra can be fried up to an hour beforehand, and kept in a 95C oven until ready to use. The yoghurt can also be prepared ahead of time. But don’t combine the ingredients until ready to serve.