Spicy Dried Okra

I have fallen in love with okra and it is all my internet friend Jude’s fault – her love of okra got me checking them out at the supermarket and Asian grocers and thinking about recipes.

The season is nearly ended, I am guessing, so thoughts are turning to pickling Okra and to drying them. Some must be frozen as well. I am going to play with 2 or three ways to dry the okra, to see what we like best. I do have a dehydrator, but you can also dry okra in the sun, or in the oven.

Okra are easy to grow too, and drying okra is a great way to preserve an abundant crop. It also avoids the slimy nature of okra, definitely a plus. I have to be truthful and say that this is not a pretty item. But is it a light and crunchy snack with an amazing taste. They say it tastes of the garden and it is definitely more-ish. You have a great combination with some Dried Capsicum and Dried Okra.

In this recipe the okra is tossed with mustard or olive oil, salt and a little cayenne for a hint of spice. Select pods that are small – no larger than 6 – 8 cm. Larger okra can be stringy and tough.

Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Try Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.

Or perhaps you are looking for dried items? Have a look at these: Dried Capsicum, Dried Mung Bean Nuggets, and Dried Mango.

You might like to browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Dried Vegetables. We have a guide to preserving Summer and Autumn fruits and vegetables for Winter. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Tomato Bharta | Roast Tomato Side Dish or Chutney

Bharta are North Indian (Punjabi) dishes where the main ingredient is roasted and then pureed with spices. The flavours are intensified by the roasting and the resulting dish is spicy and tangy. A commonly known bharta is Baingan Bharta (Eggplant Bharta).

This recipe uses tomatoes and it is amazing. It is great as a dip, served over rice, used as a sauce, or as an accompaniment to any curry. It can be served with dal-rice, kitchari or stuffed parathas. It also goes well with Chapatti, Roti. It has the best taste!

Looking for Bharta recipes? Try Baingan ka Bharta. 

Perhaps you are looking for other Punjabi dishes. Try Kohlrabi Subzi, Potato and Eggplant Curry, and Urad Dal with Tomatoes.

It is Tomato recipes that you are after. Try Potatoes Baked with Cumin and Tomatoes, Greek-Indian Tomato Pakoras, and Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce.

See all of our Bharta recipes here. Read all about Indian Chutneys here, and feel free to browse other Indian Chutneys recipes. See Tomato recipes here. Or simply explore all of our Punjabi dishes, our Indian dishes and our Early Autumn recipes.

This recipe can be frozen without the tadka – browse other Autumnal ways of preserving for Winter here.

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Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad

For a change, this is a cooked salad. Mushrooms are sautéed with shallots, and then spinach is wilted in their heat. Blue cheese is added and it softens and melts, forming a dressing for the salad. It is an incredibly delicious salad that can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Use a good quality blue cheese for the best results.

This is another salad from the Bittman Salads, and I am on a journey to make all of the vegetarian ones (and adapt as many of the non-vegetarian ones that I can). Focusing on salads in the warmer weather months has changed my diet considerably, and for the better. I encourage you to make a salad per day – often it can form the basis for your packed lunch (sometimes your whole lunch), or have it as a salad course at dinner time. In this salad, we were fortunate enough to pick the spinach from the garden.

Try some other Salads – for example, Pomegranate Salad with Green Coriander and Lime, Nashi Pear, Celery and Fennel Salad with Mustard Dressing and Panch Phoron Crunch or Tomato and Peach Salad.

Are you looking for other Mushroom dishes? Try Adzuki Beans with Red or Brown Rice and Shiitake Mushrooms, Mushroom Curry, or Mushrooms for Toast.

Have a look at our Bittman Salads, or explore all of Salad recipes. Browse all of the Mushroom dishes, or simply take some time to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Bami Titvash | Armenian Pickled Okra

We like to keep some pickles on our shelves – usually in the fridge for longer storage. Given our current focus on Okra, it was wonderful to realise that these can be pickled as well as our usual ones – carrots, jicama, cumquats, quinces, onions, ginger – pickles feature big here.

This is an Armenian Pickle, from Arto Der Haroutunian’s Middle Eastern Vegetarian Dishes – my old copy that I bought at a second hand stall in about 1985. I love this book.

The recipe would be quite tweak-able, and I am quite excited about it. As the jars lined up on the shelf, I imagined it with various other spices included. This will stay on our list of often-repeated dishes for some time. It is surely a nice way to use up an over-abundant crop from the kitchen garden.

It’s a long wait though. Between the easy part – placing them in the jar with spices and vinegar – an eating them is the difficult part, that of waiting 8 weeks. Oh well, just imagine, in early Winter we will have pickled Okra with our meals. A nice thought.

Are you after other Okra Recipes? Try Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.

Or perhaps you are wanting other pickles? Try Pickled Jicama, Pickled Lemon Slices, and Quince Pickle.

We have one other Armenian dish – Green Peppers in Yoghurt.

If you are keen for more information, browse all of our Pickles and all of our Okra recipes. Our Middle Eastern Recipes are here. Take a look at Arto’s dishes that we have made. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Salad of Marinated Zucchini and Tomatoes

Zucchini takes extremely well to marination, particularly with Mediterranean flavours such as garlic, olive oil, oregano. Mix them up and leave for 30 mins – 1 hour, then serve. You can mix them with Bocconcini, for example, or, like this recipe, with some beautiful tomatoes. Fresh, young zucchini has the most glorious texture.

I have used small cherry tomatoes here, but use any tomatoes you have – halving or slicing them depending on the size. I like to mix green, semi ripe and ripe tomatoes as it gives variation in flavours, but this is probably only possible if you or your best friend grow your own tomatoes. Green tomatoes are difficult to find these days, yet I love them.

Throw in a small zucchini flower or two if you have them.

Are you looking for other Tomato Salads? Try Artichoke Hearts with Tomatoes Salad, My Mother’s Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Creamy Dressing, and the very red Tomato and Pomegranate Salad.

Or are Zucchini dishes your preference? Try Zucchini Rice, Zucchini Fry, and Poached with Other Vegetables in Wine.

All of our Salads are here for you to browse. Or just our Tomato Salads. All Tomato Recipes can be seen here. Browse our Zucchini Recipes or trawl through our Late Summer collection of dishes.

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South Indian Beetroot Soup

The concept of soup in South India is unusual but not unknown. Even Meenakshi Ammal and Priya Ramkumar covered them in the classic books Cook and See. I have not been able to trace the origins of South Indian Soups – perhaps the British occupation – and many people that I ask deny their existence. But no, they are part of the cuisine, albeit a limited part, and I have been served them in India on several occasions.

Indian soups are basically un-spiced thin but flavoursome broths, with perhaps the addition of some cubed vegetables. This one is from Priya Ramkumar herself, in Vol 4 of Cook and See, and is a beetroot soup that extracts the flavour and colour of beetroot for the soup without including the vegetable. It is surprisingly delicious! I was quite amazed by the flavour of this soup and it has become a favourite. And why would you make soups any differently in a country that produces so many thick, nourishing, soupy, spicy dishes that are eaten as an accompaniment to rice?

Are you after Beetroot Soups? Try Chilled Beetroot Soup. Or some Beetroot recipes include Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing, Roast Beetroot with Cumin, and Warm Beetroot and Carrot Salad.

Or perhaps some Indian Soups. Look at South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Light Summery Tomato Soup, and Amaranth and Tamarind Soup.

Are you looking for more? Check out our Beetroot Soups, and then for more Indian Soups, browse here. You might like to have a look at our range of Soups here. Or explore all of our Indian dishes. Or cook seasonally with our easy, Mid Spring dishes. Enjoy!

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Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans | Roasted Red Capsicum Salad

Another beautifully coloured salad for Autumn, beautiful reds of the roasted capsicums. Here we toss them with white beans, fresh mozzarella and a little shallot.

Don’t you just love roasted peppers? While you are roasting them for this salad, add another 1 or 2 or 12, so that you can used them throughout the week. I find it easiest to roast peppers and eggplants on my covered BBQ, but you can also do it over a gas flame on your stove, under a grill or in the oven.

Would you like to try other Red Pepper/ Capsicum Salads? Try Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, Peperoni in Padella – Roasted Red Peppers Salad, and Sweet Red Pepper Salads. There is a Roast Pepper Relish too.

Or try other Capsicum Dishes – Green Peppers in Yoghurt, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and Stuffed Capsicums with Kidney Beans and Feta. Also see How to Dry Red Capsicums.

Otherwise, have a look at all of our Capsicum Salads and all of our Salads. You can have a look at all of the other Capsicum recipes too. Or browse our Early Autumn dishes.

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Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing and Za’atar

Beetroot is back on the menu, our earthy flavoured friend. In this salad, the beets are grated and mixed with a classic yoghurt and tahini dressing. To keep up the Middle Eastern theme, we add some za’atar.

This is a perfect Autumn Salad, although it does work really well in all other seasons. I love it in Autumn because we are moving from the cool blue colours of Summer into the oranges, golds, reds and crimsons of Autumn. It seems to fit well somehow.

If you are interested in other Beetroot Salads, try Beetroot, Orange and Olive Salad, Beetroot with Honey Dressing, and Warm Beetroot and Carrot Salad with Indian Spices.

Or try other Beetroot Recipes – Beetroot Risotto, Beetroot Fry and Beetroot Halwa.

Otherwise, have a look at all of our Beetroot Salads and all of our Salads. You can have a look at all of the other Beetroot recipes too. Or browse our Early Autumn dishes.

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Kurkuri Bhindi | Crispy Okra | Crispy Ladyfingers

Okra, or Ladyfingers, are best when cooked fresh. They can be stuffed with a tangy masala, deepfried to crisp (great with peanuts), made into raita, cooked in coconut milk or a spicy gravy, or batter-fried as pakoras.  They are even great when dried and served with spices as a snack. Okra pairs well with sour tastes – for example, lemon juice or amchur, dry mango powder. Always buy young, bright green, crisp pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and definitely not if they are wilting. There are a range of varieties – long and thin, short and fat, even red and orange varieties.

Kurkuri means crisp and Bhindi (or Bindi) is Okra. This recipe is very common in parts of North India, especially in Rajasthan from Jaipur to Udaipur and beyond. They are definitely a great snack served with drinks, and are also served as an accompaniment to rice and curries. The spices used with the okra are varied – here we have used chilli powder, cumin, chaat masala and amchur – but more complex, or simpler combinations can be used.

The okra can be cooked on its own, as we do here. But you can also tart them up somewhat by including slivers of onion (yum), ginger (tangy) and red peppers.

Are you interested in Okra recipes? Try Ladyfingers Recheio, Avial, and Whole Fried Okra.

Or are you looking for Rajasthani recipes? Try Urad Tomatar Dal. We have more recipes planned, so check here for more.

Why not browse all of our Okra recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Have a look at our range of snacks. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Tomato Salad with Green Olives

The Autumn glut of tomatoes sees me finding ways to use them, as well as popping as many as I can into the freezer. Although the weather is cooler in the mornings and evenings, salads are still on our home menu each day. Sometimes they are snacks, perhaps with some flatbread, sometimes they accompany a meal, sometimes they are the meal.

A quick salad this morning with sweet vine-ripened tomatoes fresh from the garden, tossed together with some green olives. Divine, the tang of the olives against the sweet tomatoes.

Are you after other Tomato Salads? Try Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, Bok Choy with Tomatoes and Capers, and Warm Tomato Salad.

Why not browse all of our Tomato Salads, indeed, all of our MANY Salads. I am sure you will find inspiration. Or have a look at our general Tomato recipes and our Olive recipes. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto

Using up the amount of zucchini from our garden takes some creativity. But having made Parsley Pesto, the thought of pasta, pesto and char grilled zucchini had me grilling tiny zucchini slices early one morning. A pasta lunch was in the making.

Its very easy, and any pasta can be used – spaghetti is great, but I chose to use pasta from the local Adelaide makers L’Abruzzese. I love this olive leaf pasta, tasty and slightly chewy, it has 3 colours – spinach, beetroot and regular.

If you are looking for more pasta recipes try Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato, and Elegant Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach and Pine Nuts.

Or perhaps some zucchini recipes – try Zucchini Rice, Zucchini Fry, and Poached with Other Vegetables in Wine.

Our pesto recipes include this Parsley Pesto as well as Asparagus Pesto, Coriander Pesto, and a mix and match approach.

Or browse all of our Zucchini Recipes, all of our Pasta Dishes, all of the Pesto recipes. Our Italian Recipes are here, or simply browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Green Salad with Raspberries, Walnuts and Blue Cheese

I’ve been longing for a green salad. Having made (and eaten) too many ANZAC Biscuits, we needed something to counterbalance that wonderful sweetness of the biscuits. This salad did it. It combines greens from the garden (use what you have at hand) with some soft raspberries, crunchy crushed walnuts and tangy blue cheese.

This is another wonderful salad from Bittman. I am over half way through the journey of making his 101 salads (at least, the vegetarian ones). Each one has been wonderful and this one is too.

Why not try other Bittman Salads? Try Green Salad with Chickpeas, Preserved Lemon and Feta, Cucumber Salad with Capers and Ricotta and Watermelon and Peach Salad with Basil.

All of the Bittman Salads that we have tried are here. Or explore all of our Salads. Maybe your would like to explore our easy Early Autumn recipes.

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Ayran | Middle Eastern Yoghurt Drink

A Summer-time salty yoghurt cooling drink from the Middle East.

I am keen on yoghurt drinks in warmer weather. Somehow they keep me feeling well and balanced. Lassi drinks – India’s contribution to the world of yoghurt drinks – are diverse and wonderful. Smoothies, made with yoghurt, encapsulate the modern trend of blending ingredients together. And the Middle East has much to offer.

This recipe is Ayran/Airyan, a drink claimed by both Turkey and Bulgaria. But it is popular across all of the Middle East. Syrians and Lebanese call it Laban Ayran. In Iraq and Jordan it’s called Shenina. And if you add a little crushed or dried mint to the drink, you’ll have Doogh, the Iranian version of Aryan.

Ayran is a mixture of yogurt, cold water and salt, but there are variations. What makes its Ayran special is that it is quite frothy. For example, one variation, the Susurluk Ayran, comes from a small town, Susurluk, in Turkey. The ingredients are the same, but in Susurluk restaurants cirulate the Ayran through a faucet, using high speed pumps, and this creates a foamy texture with a heavy creamy top. It is very famous, and eaten with a cheese panini-like dish called tost.

Are you after Yoghurt Drinks? Try our Lassis, we recommend Strawberry and Peach Lassi with Basil, Jeera (Cumin) Lassi, and Mango Lassi.

You can find all of our Yoghurt Drinks here – please browse. Also browse our Middle Eastern recipes here, and all of our Yoghurt recipes here. Or explore our easy Early Spring recipes.

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Ladyfingers Recheio | Okra with Chilli-Spice Paste | A Recipe from Goa

Okra is a much maligned vegetable, which, badly cooked, falls into the same category as Brussel Sprouts. But cooked well, it is undeniably wonderful. It is the mucilaginous substance inside okra that gives the favourite okra dish of North America, Gumbo, its characteristic silky, gelatinous texture. It is an essential ingredient of Jambalaya, and a favourite of the Greek kitchen where it is served with fresh tomato and onion.

Okra also form the basis of many a good Indian curry, snack and side dish. In curries, they are often used whole, trimmed only of stalk, but keeping the conical top which is discarded at time of eating. The soft, slightly moist texture of the interior is part of its appeal.

These green-ribbed seed pods are a good supply of Vitamin A and C, calcium and iron. Eat them weekly! At the time of writing, we are conducting an #okracheck each month to track availability and price of okra in different cities.

Okra are slippery little suckers. But this recipe from the gorgeous beaches of Goa overcomes that problem by pre salting and then stuffing the okra with the Goan spicy mix called Rechad Masala. These are great little snacks or side dish to an Indian meal.

Enjoy okra? Try our Goa Fried Okra, Race Kuzhambu and Avial. Or have a look at other Goan recipes – Kidney Bean Feijoada, Potato and Sweet Potato Curry, and Sweet Surnoli Dosa.

Feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006 in the Retro Recipes series. You might also like all of our Okra recipes here and here. Explore our Indian recipes here. Or take some time to go through our easy Early Autumn recipes here.

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Fried Ladyfingers | Fried Okra | Goa Style

How good is okra! Misunderstood by many, if cooked well it is amazing. This recipe is a crispy, spicy dish that is perfect for a snack. Gorgeous too.

In this recipe, the okra are first salted and drained, and then marinated in a simple spice paste before being drenched in semolina and fried. The semolina makes the okra quite crispy and the spices give them a little heat. It is a simpler version of this stuffed Okra recipe.

Enjoy okra? Try our Goan Ladyfinger Recheio, Race Kuzhambu and Avial.

Or have a look at other Goan recipes – Kidney Bean Feijoada, Potato and Sweet Potato Curry, and Sweet Surnoli Dosa.

You might also like read about Okra, and then browse all of our Okra recipes here. Have a look at all of our Goan recipes. Explore our Indian recipes too. Or take some time to go through our easy Early Autumn recipes. Feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006 in the Retro Recipes series.

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