Sri Lanka has a wonderful cuisine, layered of course by the cultural backgrounds of the inhabitants. The South Indian influence is strong, and many dishes are similar to the cuisines of Tamil Nadu, but with a twist bought about by local ingredients. This is an Okra Curry, a simple one with only green chillies to spice it, and the okra are simmered in coconut milk. Easy to make and beautiful to eat.
In this okra dish, the okra are slit and stuffed with an onion-based spice mixture before being quickly sautéed and then steamed until tender. It is a delicious dish that does not pack a chilli heat punch. The spices used are gentle and warming, and it is a good dish for convincing your friends that okra is a special and wonderful vegetable.
This is a Madhur Jaffrey okra dish. She seems to have a special affinity to okra, and loves them with onions.
This dish represents the way that Okra is served in many parts of Delhi and also in the Punjab, Bengal and other parts of North India. Okra are cooked with a caramelised onion paste, and the success of the dish depends on the onion paste being cooked to the right depth and consistency. Then tomato puree is added with spices to make a delicious sauce.
This dish comes via inspiration from Madhur Jaffrey, and like all of her dishes, it is very successful. The okra are meltingly tender, and the sauce coats them beautifully.
Or perhaps other Okra recipes. Read more about Okra here. Then try okra in Sambar, and in Moar Kuzhambu. And make Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Okra Stuffed with Onions, Mustard Okra Fry, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, and Spicy Dried Okra.
Browse the Madhur Jaffrey dishes we have made, all of our Subzi dishes, and all of our Okra dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Early Winter dishes.
Some time ago, one of my social media connections, dee, suggested that I cook okra with mustard oil. This is her recipe. We were discussing mustard oil and okra – there is such a natural affinity. When we are drying okra, for example, we mix the okra halves with mustard oil and spices before drying.
You’ll love this recipe – simple, quick, easy and deliciously flavoured.
Okra and Orzo Rice go so well together. Some time ago, we made Orzo Pasta Rice, a version of Vermicelli Rice, and the mixture of the two (rice with either orzo pasta or vermicelli) is utterly delicious. Today, we are pairing it with some simply cooked but oh so delicious okra, cooked on the stove top.
The okra, with Middle Eastern Flavours, is cooked with tamarind, dried apricots, prunes and spices, for that special Middle Eastern sweet-sour taste.
Once upon a time when I was spending a few weeks in Kerala, I had some cooking classes with a chef from the Leela. What a joy these classes were, with me madly taking notes and taking photos while my beautiful chef cooked and explained, cooked and explained. One of the dishes we cooked was this Okra Masala.
Every now and again I come across some of the notes from those recipes, and, just as I needed it, the scribbled notes on this ladyfinger (okra) curry came to my attention once again. It brought back memories of that beautiful time in Kerala and the amazing food to be found in the Leela, the vegetarian restaurant just up the road, all through Trivanderam and in the other homes and cafes where I ate. Each trip to India has been memorable and this one no less so than any other.
Are you looking for more Okra recipes? Try Okra in Tamarind with Prunes and Apricots, Pickled Okra, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Cooking Okra for Sambar, and Spicy Stuffed Fried Okra.
This is another recipe from my cooking session in Kovalam in Kerala. My scribbled notes have recently come to light again – Chef cooked and I helped and observed and tried desperately to copy down the recipes.
This recipe can be made with okra, Indian cucumber, green mango and plantain (green banana), but today we use pineapple. It is easy to make, and so very delicious – I am sure that you will love it.
Pineapple Pulissery is a delicate dish with aromatic flavours of mustard seed, cumin seed and curry leaves with chilli and black pepper. It is from Kerala, that beautiful tropical state on the West Coast of India. Pineapple curry is also a traditional dish from the Sri Lankan cuisine, and there it is also a delightful sweet and spicy curry.
Are you looking for other Pineapple dishes? We don’t cook with it very often so don’t have anything to offer you right now. But check back here in the future – I am sure there will be more.
Oh the joy of Okra, and in this dish they are quickly cooked so remain crisp and crunchy. They say that okra is good for your brain cells, so eat as many as you can! We have focused on okra recently, so there will be an ever increasing set of recipes for you to choose from.
You can also make this dish with asparagus or broccoli.
Look for okra in your local Asian and Indian shops, even Asian-owned green grocers. You will get them more cost-effectively there – about 25% of the price you might pay elsewhere.
Are you looking for other Okra dishes? Read more about Okra here. Then try Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Okra with Onions Subzi, Ladyfingers Masala, Okra Stuffed with Onions, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, and Okra with Mustard Oil.
This is an Andhra style dish, a poriyal that is deliciously sesame flavoured using powdered sesame seeds (Nuvala Podi). The dish is also called Bendaikaya Nuvvala Podi, and Lady Fingers Fry. You may also see it under different names.
Firstly, the Sesame Seed Podi is made by toasting and powdering sesame seeds with spices. Then the okra is fried with more spices and optionally onions, and finally the sesame podi is added to the dish. It is served hot as a side dish. It goes well with sambar, rasam and dal. It is also good as a tiffin brunch or lunch.
I love this recipe – it is so versatile, and the sort of recipe you can pre-prepare the ingredients, charring the okra and tossing it with the other ingredients at the last moment. The preserved lemon and fresh lemon juice contrast so wonderfully with the charred but still crunchy okra. This dish is GOOD.
The okra can also be charred on the BBQ (grill), tossing them on the hot plate as you sip wine and talk to friends. Then throw them into a pan and toss them with the other ingredients and place on the table for your guests to munch on (try with some flat bread) while you get on with BBQing the rest of the meal. I use a kadhai (Indian wok, flatter than a Chinese one) to make this dish, it is perfect for it.
It is an Ottolenghi recipe, of course, born of the Israeli and Palestinian roots of Sammy and Yotham. Okra features well in these cuisines, from the sun dried okra hanging from strings, to being served in dishes heavy with tamarind syrup. What a divine thought!
For this dish, use short, young, fresh, crisp okra only.
Are you looking for other Okra dishes? Read more about Okra here. And try Crispy Okra (Kurkuri Bhindi), Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Okra Stuffed with Onions, Goan Fried Okra, and Lemak-Style Vegetables.
Perhaps try some other Middle Eastern dishes: Okra in Tamarind with Prunes and Apricots, Babaganoush, Falafel, Parsley and Barley Salad with Spiced Marinated Feta and Chickpea “Tabbouleh”.
We have a wealth of Ottolenghi recipes that we have tried. Or have a look at all of our Okra recipes and all of our Salad recipes. Our Middle Eastern Dishes are here. Or spend some time browsing our Mid Autumn dishes.
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.
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.
All through the Mediterranean, okra is cooked in a thick tomato sauce, and in Greece they are also liberal with the olive oil. Its a delicious dish that can be eaten as part of a table laden with Mediterranean vegetable dishes, or serve with fresh crusty break and feta. It also goes so well with rice, burghul, polenta, quinoa or any grain pilaf.
Vinegar helps to reduce the sliminess of the okra, and there are various ways of using it. Some sprinkle it on the okra and leave to rest for an hour (or don’t rest it), others soak in acidulated water from 1 – 12 hours. Take you pick – I soaked these for some hours as I was pottering around the kitchen doing other things. When I was ready, they were drained, rinsed and used in the dish.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.