Okra/Bhindi Fry – South Indian Style

Vendakkai fry – Bhindi Fry – Okra Fry

The Okra/vendakkai/bhindi can be a vegetable that is either absolutely liked or completely disliked. The slime that they emit when chopping and cooking can be a bit challenging to deal with and if not cooked well, can result in a messy curry. Due to that, it is an underrated vegetable in many homes.

The okra has its origin in African and Asian cuisine predominantly, probably because it thrives in warmer climates. The Indian cuisine uses it extensively due to the abundance in availability. It pairs really well with many other vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, etc and is a good ingredient to add in gravies/curries like the Kadi (a buttermilk based curry), Sambar or even the basic onion tomato curry paste. Better option would be to fry it separately and add it to any curry. That way one can preserve the texture one desires and not make the whole curry slimy.

Use the following technique , sans the South indian seasoning for the okra and add it to any Indian curry of your choice.

The key lies in cooking it right. I will leave a few pointers here:

  1. Pick tender okra, they cook well and are more palatable. Wash fresh okra well and dry them before chopping.
  2. Chop them however you like, but when cooking, cook on medium high, uncovered for the most part.
  3. Adding a teaspoon of yogurt when you throw them in a pan for cooking, helps deal with the slime.
  4. Patience is key.
  5. Adding pink Himalayan salt somehow enhances the taste of the okra fry.
  6. If using frozen chopped okra, do not thaw the orka, add it to the pan on medium heat and let it sit until all the water evaporates before seasoning it.
We ate it with a typical South Indian style lunch that included Toor Dal, Potato roast, Tomato Garlic rasam, Raw mango chutney and steamed white rice.

Recipe : Okra Fry

Prep time : 15 minutesCook time : 20 minutes
Spice Level : 🌶🌶Ease level : 😃
Serves : 4Dry Curry/Side

Ingredients :

  1. Okra – 1 lb – chopped into bite sized cubes
  2. Plain yogurt – 1 teaspoon
  3. Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  4. Chili powder – to taste
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Oil to stir fry
  7. Rice flour – 1 teaspoon to help crisp it up

For South Indian tempering :

  1. Oil – 1 teaspoon
  2. Black mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  3. Curry leaves – 4 or 5
  4. Split urad dal – 1 teaspoon (optional)
  5. Asafetida – 1/8 teaspoon

How to :

  1. Wash the okra well, dry it on a kitchen towel, once dried, chop them into 1/2 or 1 inch thick slices.
  2. In a non stick or well seasoned cast iron skillet, heat oil on medium high, once it heats up, add the tempering ingredients.
  3. The mustard seeds must crackle and the urad dal must turn slightly brown.
  4. Then add the okra and a teaspoon of yogurt and turmeric powder, mix well and let it sit covered for not more than 2 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and let it cook on medium high heat, the color of the okra will change to a darker green. Takes at least 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Keep stirring it every minute for a uniform browning. Drizzle in extra oil if you need a good, well done fry. 1/2 teaspoon at a time so as that we don’t make it soggy.
  7. Then add the chili powder and the rice flour. Mix well and let it coat the okra well, the rice flour gives it that slight crisp and helps keep them separate.
  8. Now add salt, that way one can reduce the amount of salt intake. Saute it for 30 seconds and if you are happy with how much it has fried, remove from the heat to a serving bowl.
  9. Serve with any carbohydrates of your choice, it will accompany any meal well.

A simple dry curry that is very easy to make and can be pretty much flavored with any spices of your choice. Just follow the cooking technique and make it you own. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you will like this as much as we do !!

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