Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bhindi Masala - Okra Curry

I have to thank my lovely friend Sarah Ashley, a native Texan, for introducing me to okra. If you've never cooked with okra, go buy some now! Okra is indigenous to West Africa but has become a staple in traditional cooking all over the world, including northern India where it's called bhindi. Okra is delicious, easy to prepare, low in fat, cholesterol and sodium, and packed with fiber, vitamins A, C, K, B6, thiamin, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron.... the list goes on! It's soft and crunchy and works perfectly in this richly spiced tomato coconut curry.

These little pods are also responsible for gumbo. Etymology love fest warning: the word gumbo comes from quillobo, okra's name in parts of eastern Africa. The word was adapted into Portuguese as quingombo, which ultimately became gumbo! (I had to include the word for okra in Tamil just because it's so incredibly beautiful: வெண்டை ).

1 small yellow onion
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root
2 large garlic cloves
2 cups okra

1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch of cinnamon
1 dried chili pepper
2 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods

1 can light coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes or 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped

1. Slice the onion into thin half moons and saute in olive oil until the onion begins to brown.

2. Mince the ginger and garlic and slice the okra into disks. Add the ginger and garlic to the onions and saute for another minute or two. Add the okra.

3. Add the cumin, garam masala, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Cook for a minute to toast the spices.

4. Add the coconut milk and diced tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the tomato and coconut has created a thick, dark curry.

I served this over some farmers' market arugula but you could serve it with basmati rice, coconut rice, or even quinoa.



  1. I have always wanted to try okra...and i already know I love curry!! So I might have to give this one a whirl~

  2. Simple Daisy, Thanks for the comment! Let us know how it goes. It was my first okra experience too and I loved it! Thanks for visiting Two Blue Lemons!


  3. Hi girls! Just stumbled on your blog randomly and glad I did. I'm going to add you to my reader stat. You have many lovely recipes that are just my taste -- i hope to try this one and the quinoa maki very soon.

  4. Okay, okay! I'll try okra again! The only two ways I ever had it when I was a kid was pickled (hated it!) and fried (which tastes good, but is no longer in my repertoire). I think I had some in a meal when I was in India, but I've never really TRIED it. I'm adding this recipe to my menu plan for this week. :)

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