Okra with Sambal and Coconut Rice

Another dish from Ottolenghi, this one was inspired by one of his trips to Malaysia. It is a loose take on Nasi Lemak, definitely the country’s most popular breakfast. But be warned: it is quite spicy. You can make the spice paste with far fewer chillies than Ottolenghi prescribes – feel free to just use half a fresh chilli and half a dried chilli if that is to your taste. In actual fact, we make this recipe with the sambals and sambal style chilli mixes that we have on hand (quite a few) rather than make his, and I have included both his recipe and links to our other pastes, purees and sambals that are suitable.

We like this variation on typical okra recipes. In this one the okra is simmered for a few moments only and then served mixed with the chilli-onion sambal on coconut rice. Use the freshest and best quality okra, because it is cooked so briefly.

Don’t omit the crispy fried shallots (available from Indian and Asian grocers) or the coriander. They add some texture and flavour to the dish that is essential to the overall impact.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Malaysian Lemak Style VegetablesSri Lankan Okra Curry, and Goan Okra with Chilli-Spice Paste.

Try these different Coconut Rice recipes too. South Indian Coconut Rice, and Balinese Coconut Rice.

Or browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Malaysian recipes. All of our Ottolenghi recipes are here. Or take some time and browse our Early Winter dishes.

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Stuffed Okra | Bharwan Bhindi

There are a number of stuffed okra dishes, and each is so good and so worthy of being made. Use fat okra for this dish – they can be long or short, but they do need some body.

This is a beautiful stuffing made from coconut (use frozen if you don’t have fresh), coriander leaves and spices. The recipe calls for Goda Masala, and you can make your own or purchase it from your Indian grocers. If you can’t find this lovely spice powder, use Garam Masala instead.

This recipe’s inspiration comes from the beautiful and well-known book Sukham Ayu: Cooking at Home with Ayurveda Insights, by Jigyasa Giri. I love this gentle book which builds Ayurvedic wisdom, sattvic approaches and down-to-earth Indian dishes.

Are you after other Okra dishes? Try Okra with Sambal and Coconut Rice, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, and Okra with Race Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, recipes from Jigyasa Giri and Ayurvedic dishes. All of our Indian Recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Early Winter dishes.

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Vendakkai Poriyal | Stir Fried Okra

It’s been more than 18 months since I began a crush on okra, and developed a project to explore this incredible vegetable which is available here all year round via Asian and Middle Eastern shops. In that time, we’ve made 60 or more Okra dishes, and,totally fallen in love with the long tapered “fingers” known cutely in India as Lady’s Fingers. Many of those recipe posts are in the queue to be published over the coming months.

Okra has become an important part of our life, but perhaps it is time to release the obsession and cook it less often. Admittedly, there are still quite a few recipes in the okra pile to tinker with, so there might be more….

One of the greatest finds of this project has been the number of ways that the Middle Eastern countries and India uses Okra. We have boiled, steamed, fried, deep fried, sauteed, baked and dehydrated Okra. Each dish has been a revelation. We have pared, chopped, slit and diced okra. We have learned to control the sliminess. We have battered okra. We have hand dried dozens of the tapered Lady’s Fingers over the course of a year.

Today’s dish is a very simple, but gorgeous, South Indian treatment of Okra. It is a remarkable, fresh dish. Another stir fried recipe, just with a few simple spices. The wonder of Tamil cooking is how simple easy dishes can taste amazing. There are variation upon variation of stir fried okra dishes – see here and here – but each is different and delightful.

Similar recipes include Stuffed Okra, Crispy Okra in Yoghurt, Lady Finger Masala, and Bhindi Subzi.

Browse all of our Okra dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Baked Okra in Dukkah

Are you looking for a TV snack – something to eat while you are curled up binge watching the latest series, or watching Eurovision, or Tour de France, or Master Chef, or The Voice, or any other favourite program?

Well here it is. Forget the bag of crisps or corn chips. Go for okra rolled in dukkah and baked. A few minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook, and you are right for the evening. You can make your own dukkah beforehand, or purchase from any providore or shop that sells Middle Eastern ingredients.

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Dried Turmeric Okra | Vendaikai Vathal

Ah Fryums. Dried vegetables that are then fried and served in sambar or kuzhambu, with yoghurt as a pachadi or raita, or as an accompaniment to rice.

To make these Okra Fryums they are soaked in yoghurt for 2 days and then dried. Traditionally they would be dried on rooftops in the hot sun, but as that is not possible here, a dehydrator will substitute. I used Vidhyas Home Cooking as a guide for making these.

Are you after other Vathal? Read this article about them and then try Mango Vathal and this other recipe for Okra Vathal. We also have Dried Mung Dal Nuggets.

Or perhaps other Okra dishes? Try Stir Fried Okra, Baked Okra in Dukkah, Spicy Dried Okra Snack, Pickled Okra, and Goan Fried Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Vathal. Have a look at our Autumn Preserving article. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Uppadam | Okra Kuzhambu with Sundakkai Vatral

Uppadam is an older recipe, one which people recall their Grandmothers or perhaps Mothers making, but which seems to have lost favour in the current generations. It is generally made with okra, and, as Uppadam means something that is preserved, with vatral, sun-dried vegetables, as well. Manathakkali vatral is traditionally used, and I searched high and low for it. It is difficult to obtain here, it seems, so Sundakkai is the recommended alternative. Sundakkai is sun-dried Turkey Berry/Pea Eggplants.

There are a few ways of making Kuzhambu style dishes with okra, but I particularly like this way. It has that sense of connecting one with past generations of women cooking in the kitchens of South India, or directing the making of similar dishes with a specialist’s hand. The okra is cooked with spices and the vatral, before tamarind and a paste of toasted rice, fenugreek, and chillies is added. This thickens the dish, so it is half way between a Rasam and a Sambar. Meenakshi Ammal has a similar recipe, and I will share that one too, in due course.

Roasting the rice will interest you. It releases more moisture that you thought possible, and the grain itself therefore changes somewhat. Roast until it is aromatic.

Similar dishes include Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and all of our Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu | Okra in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce

Mor (or Moar or More) Kuzhambu is a yoghurt based dish of South India, forming a wonderful spiced yoghurt gravy that is delicious served over rice. In this recipe, ladyfingers (okra) are sauteed until crisp and then added to the yoghurt sauce. It is a flavoursome use of okra, and the crispiness contrasts beautifully with the silkiness of the yoghurt sauce.

The yoghurt is flavoured with a coconut flavoured spice paste which also contains rice flour. The rice flour helps to stabilise the yoghurt so it doesn’t split, and will slightly thicken the yoghurt sauce.

Find out what Kuzhambu is here.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Mor Kuzhambu with Lentil Dumplings, Moar Kuzhambu with Vatral or Vegetables, and another version of Mor Kuzhambu with Lentil Dumplings.

Similar Okra dishes include Sri Lankan Okra Curry.

Or browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. All of our Okra dishes are here, and our Yoghurt recipes are here. Or spend some time browsing our Mid Winter collection of dishes.

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Aloo Bhindi | Aloo Bhindi Subzi | Okra and Potatoes

Okra and Potatoes go well together – what doesn’t go well with potatoes? Today’s recipe is a vegetable fry style dish, or dry Subzi, where potatoes and okra are sautéed together with a range of spices until tender.

Dhana jiru is a spice mix used in this dish. Coriander and cumin seeds for the basis of this masala, and other spices can be added. Recipes for dhana jiru vary considerably – the ratios of coriander seed to cumin seed varies, some recipes add cinnamon, or pepper, for example, and others add up to 5 more spices for a complex spice mix. If you don’t have dhana jiru in your spice collection, simply dry roast 2 tspns coriander seed with 1 tspn cumin seed until a nice aroma arises, and then grind to a fine powder. Otherwise, use the mix that you have at hand.

Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Read more about Okra here. And try Stir Fried Okra, Baked Okra in Dukkah, Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, Tomato and Preserved Lemon, and Pickled Okra.

Would you like more Potato dishes? Try Indian Toasties with Potatoes and Peas, Sago with Potato and Peanuts, and Aloo Palak Subzi.

Or perhaps you are looking for Vegetable Fry dishes? Try Cauliflower Fry with Ginger, Garlic and Green Chillies, Potato Sabzi, Beetroot Fry and Brinjal (Eggplant) Fry.

Browse all of our Okra recipes, all Potato recipes, and all of our Vegetable Fry dishes. Our Indian Recipes are here. Or explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Vegetables with Indian Flavours

How quirky the British can be at times, especially when it comes to all things Indian. British Indian cuisine is a food genre all to itself, with little relationship to the food of India. The famous Chicken Tikka Masala, for example, is British, not Indian. Vindaloo is a term used for any hot curry in England, not the specific and terrifyingly hot pork curry of Goa on the coast of West India, with its roots in the Portuguese occupation.

And there is another dish – Indian Ratatouille. Yes, my friends, it is a thing. Throw a few spices at a ratatouille and you have Indian Ratatouille. The French food masters must be turning in their graves.

And then Ottolenghi takes this (perhaps somewhat arrogant) British invention and makes it even more Indian – throwing out some of the the traditional vegetables, adding potatoes and okra, beans and tomatoes, and incorporating Bengali spices, tamarind and curry leaves. Has he insulted the French, the Indians and the British? Probably not, because the result is divine – let the food speak for itself, despite its name.

“A great ratatouille is one in which the vegetables interact with each other, but are still discernible from each other. The trick is to cook them just right: not over, not under.”

I cannot bring myself to call this dish Indian Ratatouille, so for me it is Vegetables with Indian Flavours. Panch Phoran is an Indian whole seed mix – it is available at Indian groceries, or you can make it yourself by mixing equal amounts of fenugreek, fennel, black mustard, nigella and cumin.

This Ottolenghi dish is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Okra with Sambal and Coconut Rice, Caponata and Chargrilled Pumpkin Salad with Labneh and Walnut Salsa.

All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes. Browse all of our Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Vendakkai Khichdi | Okra in a Coconut Yoghurt Sauce | Ladyfinger Pachadi

Vendakka Khichdi is a delicious and common side-dish from Kerala. It is crispy fried okra in yoghurt flavoured with a green chilli-cumin-coconut sauce. It is often included as a part of Onam or Vishu Sadya. Otherwise, it is often served with Sambar and beautiful Indian pickles.

The okra is sliced and fried and then mixed into a yoghurt base flavoured with mustard seeds, cumin, green chill and coconut. It is one delicious dish, served warm.

This dish, which is a Khichdi, should not be confused with Kitchari – the Indian dish of rice and lentils. Khichdi is a Kerala yoghurt-based style of dish, similar to a Pachadi or a Raita.

Similar recipes include Tomato Pachadi, Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, Bhindi Raita, and Okra in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce (you can use okra in place of pineapple).

Or browse all of our Okra dishes here, and all of our Indian recipes too. And explore our Mid Winter series of recipes.

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