Okra or Lady’s finger is a generally loved vegetable. Known as Bhindi in Hindi, I have had only specific Okra items while growing up, like Bhindi stir fried with curry leaves and pepper, bhindi sambhar and bhindi raita. That is it. Bhindi masala made quite a late entry in my house; you know like the gravy style. My mom explored this masala only when she had it in her office canteen and she loved it and went ahead to have a conversation with the person who made it! All of us at home simply loved this recipe when she recreated it at home. Naturally, I craved for it after marriage and started making it myself. This Okra curry is a South Karnataka or Mangalorean style masala and hence you get no reward for guessing that it has coconut 😄 Neer dosa is another of my popular Kudla (Mangalore) recipe.
Okra has a slimy texture when cooked, which not everyone enjoys – for this set of people, okra fry works best! Though the slight slime is one of the reasons why I have a liking towards okra. For everyone else, this slime can be reduced or removed by cooking okra with a tangy item which is either Tamarind or Tomatoes. Here we will use tomatoes. The original recipe does not have onions. I like to add onions for some substance and so that the dish lasts at least for two meals!! We do not like to live in the kitchen cooking whole meals day through night, do we? I appreciate leftovers! 🙊
Okra – 10 chopped into half inch pieces
Onion – 1 large sliced
Tomato – 1 chopped
Oil – 1 tsp + 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 6-7
Coriander leaves – 6-7 sprigs
To roast and Grind:
Sesame seeds – 1.5 tsp (black preferably)
Urad dal/Split black gram – 1.5 tsp
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Dry red chilli – 2 normal and 1 Kashmiri for the color
How I prepare:
- Heat one tsp oil and add urad dal. After few seconds, add the sesame seeds and break the dry red chillies into it.
- Mix till the urad dal slightly changes colour. Sesame seeds will start popping too (I have a stock of white sesame, however black sesame gives a good colour to the gravy). Next add the grated coconut, mix for few minutes and turn off the heat. Coconut need not brown.
- When this cools, grind to a paste with water.
- In the same pan/kadai, add 2 tbsp oil and mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle, add okra, onions and curry leaves (add green chillies now if you like). Add turmeric powder. Cook for a few minutes.
- When the onions look translucent, add the tomatoes and mix well with okra & onions. By the time tomatoes turn mushy, the okra would have cooked too.
- Next add the ground coconut paste, mix and add water for desired consistency. Add salt.
- Boil for few minutes, taste test. Finish off with coriander leaves.
Whenever and wherever (potlucks!) I have served this okra curry, it has been loved by everyone. People get inquisitive of the ingredients too, since it is quite a regional, local recipe. The best part is that it has no garam masala and hence feels light yet flavorful of the sesame and coconut. It goes well with chapati as well as rice. With my measurements, the heat level may be low, please go ahead with more chillies!!