Okra features strongly in Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. In Sri Lanka both the Singalese and Tamil communities have similar okra curries that feature coconut milk.
This one uses the common Singalese Sri Lankan Curry Powder called Badupu Thuna Paha – a simple roasted mix of somewhere between 3 and 8 spices depending on your household. It’s a great idea to make it yourself, but if you prefer, you can replace the Badupu Thuna Paha with any other roasted curry powder.
Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk
400g long large okra (abut 10cm in length if you can find them)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
3 medium shallots, sliced
2 green chillies
25 – 30 curry leaves
2 tspns turmeric powder
2 tspns Badupu Thuna Paha, or any roasted curry powder
2 tspns salt
2 Tblspn coconut oil or ghee
120 ml coconut milk
Trim the ends of the okra and slice each one on the diagonal into 3 pieces (2 pieces if you are using shorter okra). Place in a bowl with the shallots, chillies, curry leaves, badupu thuna paha and salt. Mix well to coat the okra pieces in the spices.
Heat the coconut oil in a kadhai, clay pot or heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add the okra mixture and cook for 5 mins. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 mins.
Then add the coconut milk, cover and cook over low heat for about 8 mins or until the okra is tender but still retains some crispness.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice.
recipe notes and alternatives
Why not eat with some Sri Lankan flatbread, Pol Roti?