In a previous life, I was married to someone from Southern India. So, I have a whole shelf of Indian cookbooks and have tackled cooking some Indian dishes that the typical American maybe hasn’t. I don’t make a lot of them anymore, but I reached back to pull this recipe out when I recently bought some delicious-looking fresh okra. You can use frozen okra (not the breaded kind) and get the same results. If you’re making this for kids, then you may want to use less red chili.
Sweet and Sour Okra “kutchhi bindi”
(adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking)
Serves 4 – 6 as a side dish
- 1 1/2 lbs fresh tender okra pods (or 2 10-oz. packages frozen okra, defrosted)
- 7 garlic cloves, peeled (or about 2 Tbsp of chopped jarred garlic)
- 1 whole dried hot red chili (or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 Tbsp peanut or coconut oil
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp sea salt (adjust to your taste)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Rinse the raw okra and pat dry. Trim the ends off the pods and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Put the garlic, the chili and half the water into an electric blender and blend until you have a smooth paste. Empty the paste into a small bowl and mix in the ground cumin, ground coriander and ground turmeric.
- Heat the oil in a 9″ frying pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the whole cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle after a few seconds, turn down the heat and add the spice mixture from the small bowl.
- Stir and fry this mixture for about one minute and then add the raw okra, sea salt, sugar, lemon juice and the rest of the water. Bring this to a gentle simmer.
- Cover tightly and cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat until the okra is tender. Serve with rice and enjoy.
I am from Alabama, so do enjoy the breaded, southern-fried style of okra. But this is definitely a different and probably a lot healthier way to enjoy okra. It is also both vegetarian and vegan.