Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Okra Curry With Roasted Coconut & Tamarind (Vendakkai Thenga Kuzhambu)

Okra Curry With Roasted Coconut & Tamarind (Vendakkai Thenga Kuzhambu) is a delicious stew typically served with rice for lunch or dinner.  Delicious over plain rice, roti or yogurt rice.

Frozen okra work very well in this recipe if fresh ones are not available. Dried unsweetened coconut maybe used instead of the fresh or frozen.

Sometimes I like to add cooked toor dal to make it hearty; half a cup of dal should work very well. When adding the dal, increase the amount of spices, salt, and tamarind.

4 Servings


½ tsp whole Black pepper
2-3 Dried Red Chiles
2 tsp Chana Dal
2 tsp Coriander seeds
¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds
⅓ cup shredded Coconut, fresh/frozen

1 lb Okra
1 Onion, slivered thickly or diced large (optional)
1 Ripe Tomato, chopped (optional)
1 tsp Oil (preferably Indian Sesame oil)
½ tsp Mustard seeds
1-2 dried Red Chiles
1 pinch Asafetida
2 stems Curry leaves, finely sliced
½ tsp Turmeric 
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1-2 tsp Tamarind concentrate


Dry roast all the spices and dal listed under "masala" together except coconut on low heat until fragrant. Add the fresh shredded coconut, fry for a couple of minutes until slightly golden. Let cool and grind the roasted masala with ½ a cup of water to a smooth paste. Set aside.

Wash, dry and remove excess stems; it is not necessary to discard the caps. Cut okra into two if they are long; short ones may be left whole. Prepare onion and tomato if using.

Heat oil in a saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, and the dried red chillies. When the mustard seeds pop, carefully add curry leaves and cook until they change color. Stir in the asafetida.

Tip in the onion, cook for a couple of minutes or until they are slightly softened; add the okra, tomatoes if using, turmeric, and salt. 

Add the tamarind paste, one cup of hot water, and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Pour in the ground masala and sluice the blender with a half cup of water to gather all spice mixture and add to the stew/kuzhambu. Bring to a boil again and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve hot with rice.


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