Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vendakkai Masala (Stir Fried Okra With Onions & Spices)

Vendakkai (Okra) Masala

Delicious Okra stir-fry is easy and delicious. The key to cooking this okra dish is to make sure they are wiped dry thoroughly before cutting. The freshly pounded cumin seeds with the red chili, a classic spice combination in Kerala cuisine, add a wonderful nutty and earthy flavor which perfectly compliments the sweet green okra.

Okra was one of our favorite veggies from early childhood. Amma told us it was good for our brains and made it quite often - we believed her and ate it up!

4 Servings


1 lb Fresh Okra
1 onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 green chilies, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 sprig Fresh Curry leaves
2 Tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Whole Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Jeera Masala: grind or pound together coarsely - 1/2 tsp cumin seeds + 1 dry red chili
1/4 cup Cilantro Leaves for garnish
1/2 fresh Lime (Optional)


Wash the okra and drain thoroughly; spread them on a thick towel to dry completely. Simply cut off the stem ends and cut them into two or three pieces.

Heat the oil in a kadai or skillet and cook the 1/4 tsp cumin seeds until fragrant.

Stir in green chilies, curry leaves, onion, salt, and turmeric. Cook stirring until the onion pieces brown lightly.

Add the okra and cook stirring often for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the jeera masala and mix well to coat.

Cover and cook the veggies for 2 to 3 minutes; remove the cover to allow steam to escape and stir well. Allowing the steam to escape helps keep the veggies dry and also retains their green color.

Repeat the above step two or three times depending on how soft you would like the okra to be.

Cook uncovered for a couple of minutes to evaporate any accumulated moisture.

Stir in the chopped cilantro and the juice from the lime just before serving.

Serve hot with rice/chapati and any lentil/bean dish for a complete meal.

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