Okra Masala Stir-Fry

by | May 17, 2016 | 15 comments

Okra Masala Stir-Fry - Vibrant, fresh, quick veggie meals!

One of our local market stalls is run by an Indian family. And because of that, they seem to have a never ending supply of okra most of which is depleted after I visit their stall every Thursday. You either love okra or hate it. Like Brussels Sprouts. Your affection or lack of for it can be chalked down to how it was prepared. If you were unfortunate enough to try a slimy version, you probably don't like okra very much unless you like slimy things. But if you had the good fortune of trying okra in its crispy charred glory or a fast flavourful stir-fry like the one I am about to share today, you will love it. Called bhindi in the Indian subcontinent, bhindi masala is a traditional dry curry made by sautéing okra with a range of spices.

So I make a dry okra curry (stir-fry to non-Indian households) at least once in a couple of weeks. Each time, it is different. Each time, it takes me less than 20 minutes to present a delicious veggie full meal brimming with spices. Each time, I get nostalgic about my 6 year old self writing my birthday request menu painstakingly for my mum with this okra curry at Number 2 on the list of at least 8 of my most favourite things to eat in the world. Mum always complied and the okra curry stayed on the list till I was in high school. And each time, I think about sharing what I cook at home in my kitchen with you lot. Not something I create with fancy ingredients, but much loved, much cooked recipes.

Okra Masala Stir-Fry - Vibrant, fresh, quick veggie meals! Okra Masala Stir-Fry - Vibrant, fresh, quick veggie meals! indian_okra_masala5

I am going to share a few okra secrets that I have learnt over the years either via mum or by trial and error. Always pick okra that is a bit supple. Not very hard and not wilted. In India when we went to the fresh markets (as they were called back then), people would always hold an okra between their index finger and thumb and gently flick the thumb to snap the bottom tip off. If it was too hard, it wouldn't come off cleanly. If it was too limp, it would just bend. But if the okra was right, it would snap cleanly and that went in the basket! Well, don't do that because you might get told off (as we did back then).

After you bring your okra pods home, wash them gently in running water and pat them dry with a tea towel. I like to roll them up in the tea towel after drying them so any excess moisture from the wash-up is absorbed. When cutting okra if your knife gets too slimy, just wipe it with a tea towel. Okra cooks quite quickly. In a wok at high heat, it will cook in just under 10 minutes with enough moisture. Cooked okra has a tendency to get slimy which is easily rectified by a generous squeeze of lemon juice at the tail end of the cooking process.

 

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This is simple Indian home cooking at its best. Fresh, flavourful and seasonal. This version is the simplest of all okra curries and a staple in many a work lunchbox during the week. We will usually have this as part of a full Indian thali which will include rotis, steamed rice, daal and chopped salad. Tell me, do you cook with okra? I look forward to your comments and interesting observations, don't forget to rate the recipe and share it with me on social media using #cookrepublic if you love it!

 

OKRA MASALA STIR-FRY

4.50 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Author: Sneh
Course // Dinner, Side
Cuisine // Gluten Free, Indian, Vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 500 g okra
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 small red onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried mango powder, amchoor
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • fresh coriander leaves, to serve

Instructions

  • Wash okra and dry by patting with a tea towel. Trim the top and bottom tips off. Slice each okra diagonally into 2-4 pieces.
  • Heat oil in a wok on high. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chilli, garlic and ginger. In a few seconds when it starts to sizzle and the mustard seeds start popping, gently add the tomato and onion. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for a few minutes until onion is caramelised and the tomato is soft. Add ground coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric. Sauté for another minute or so till the masala mix is tender and fragrant.
  • Add the okra and salt. Stir well to mix evenly. Add a quarter cup water to the pan. Cover and cook until water has evaporated.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in the mango powder and lemon juice. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with steamed rice or naan.

Notes

Dried mango powder is called amchoor and can be bought in Indian grocery stores and online. It is sour and pungent and works well with okra. If you can't find it, you could sub it with a dash of pomegranate molasses or tamarind pulp or even a little sprinkle of sumac.
Did you make my recipe?I'd love to hear how you went! Tag me on Instagram @cookrepublic

 

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SNEH

I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!

COMMENTS

15 Comments
  1. valentina | sweet kabocha

    I'm totally pinning this recipe, because I find okra at my local market but I have no idea how to prepare it. Thx!!!

    Reply
    • snehroy

      awesome Valentina! This is one of my favourite childhood recipes. x

      Reply
  2. Rosa

    That looks fantastic! Never cooked with okra, but I love this veggie...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply
  3. Josie Donaldson

    This looks and sounds so good, Sneh! I've only used okra once before in a slow cooked curry I found in a big Women's Weekly cookbook and while I personally loved how slimy the okra became, I was expecting it to be crunchy...or you know, not slimy. Thanks for taking the time to explain how to choose and prepare okra - I'll definitely be bookmarking this post for future use.

    Hope you and your family are well this week.
    x

    Reply
    • snehroy

      I have a great recipe for crunchy smoky okra with peanuts that I hope to share soon. That one is even more delicious than this one lol. x

      Reply
      • Phillip D

        Please do share this recipe. It sounds delicious. My mother is from South Georgia and grew up with lots of okra and peanuts grown there. I would love to share this recipe with her. She passed down a love of okra, which I grew to love even more when I discovered Indian okra.

        Reply
  4. Tori//Gringalicious

    Wow, SO hungry right now! I haven't had okra in ages and omg, these Indian flavors with it sound incredible!

    Reply
  5. Arthur in the Garden!

    5 stars
    Yummy!

    Reply
  6. shibani

    Love this simple Okra stir fry.... .

    Reply
  7. Liz

    4 stars
    Another great weeknight recipe perfect as the weather cools. Love the lemon juice tip. In your photo it looks as though the okra is added before the tomato/onion mix. Is that an alternative to get a charred flavour?

    Reply
    • snehroy

      you are right Liz. I do love a little (actually a lot of) char on my okra lol. The traditional method is to add the tomato mix first and then the okra (this is how I usually cook in a chef pan or a sauté pan) but once in a while when I use a wok (which is great to achieve a char), I reverse the order of the veggies added. x

      Reply
  8. Abby | Lace & Lilacs

    Oh, I haven't had okra in years... this recipe looks so delicious; I think I'll just have to pick up some okra soon. Love!

    Reply
  9. Mary

    This was fantastic. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Sneh

      Glad you loved it! x

      Reply
  10. Betty Saenz

    I love okra - fried, in gumbo, raw, as I am walking through a field picking it, stewed and yes stir fried Indian style. Thanks for sharing your version of this dish. I tried it years ago when an Austin Texas foodie Meet Up group I was in did an Indian meal. I loved it and knew it would work for okra "sissies". By the way, I also love cactus (nopales) which also have the "slime" issue as some people say. OK- I can go on, I love oysters too and no, they are not "slimy".

    Reply

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