Okra is also called vendakkai or bhindi in India. It is considered a delicacy in southern cuisine too. But this is a slimy vegetable, that’s why people are hesitant to buy and make anything with it. I make this dish in a special way so that they are slime free and taste absolutely delicious.
Eating okra has so many health benefits. It reduces stress and enhances brain function. So in India, children who are taking tests are given okra so that they can focus better on their tests. But my kids do not like to eat okra just because it’s slimy.
This Okra recipe is so versatile it can be sautéed, roasted or deep fried to make it slime free. This vegetable is very bland so I sauté it with shallots, coriander and chili powder to spice it up. Sautéing makes it cook so quickly, it gets soft and yet it has a nice crunch which makes it so appetizing.
- Okra (tender and small) – 4 cups (sliced)
- Shallots / small onions – 10 (sliced) (or) Big onion – 1
- Turmeric powder – 2 teaspoons
- Chili powder – 2 teaspoons
- Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – 11/2 teaspoons
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Black mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Curry leaves – few
- Fenugreek powder – 1/4 teaspoon (or) Dried methi leaves – 1/2 teaspoon
4 cups seem like a lot but it cooks down. This recipe serves 4
Tips to buying okra
When you buy okra, make sure they are small and tender. Big mature okra is hard to bend, chewy and takes longer time to cook.
I’m sharing an easy way to find out if they are tender, just bend the tip with your finger, if it bends without breaking then it’s good.
Don’t buy okra which is already pre packed in a tray, always buy it from the loose pile so you get to pick the right ones.
How to make it slime free?
Wash and drain them nicely, then put them on a kitchen towel or paper towel and pat them dry.
Okra is also know as ladies finger in many countries, because it resembles the tender and soft fingers of a lady! 😀
I particularly like to slice them instead of using them as whole because the spices doesn’t stick to it at all. Slicing them actually helps the spices blend very well with it.
Cut the top off, it’s little hard to chew. You can either slice them vertically in thin strips or horizontally in circles.
If you are making this for young kids, slice them into thin circles. The star shaped okra makes it so appealing and easy for them to eat.
If you are deep frying or roasting them you can keep them as whole, make sure you make a tiny slit so that the spices get into it.
If you’re roasting them, spread them in a sheet pan add oil, salt and the spices mix it well and roast them until it gets crispy. Don’t add the seasoning spices mentioned above.
If you want to deep fry them, take 1/2 cup of chickpea flour or corn flour add the spices, salt and water and bring it to a pancake batter consistency. Coat the whole okra with some flour first then dip them in the batter so that it coats them very nicely. Heat the oil and deep fry them until it gets crispy and golden. No need to add the seasoning spices mentioned above.
I really like to sauté them because it’s quick and easy.
- Heat oil in a broad pan
- Add the sliced shallots or onions and sauté them until it gets a slight golden color, it adds much flavor to this dish.
- Now add the sliced okra and sauté it for sometime.
- Add turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder and salt
- Mix it well, keep it in a low flame and cover it with the lid.
- The salt helps keep the green color and brings out the natural water and cooks the okra so quickly, it doesn’t take more than 2 to 3 minutes.
- Now take the lid off and keep it in the pan in a low flame to get rid of the slime created by the steam and to slightly crisp up.
It might look like I have added so much spice and salt, but trust me, this vegetable does need this much spice otherwise it’s going to taste bland. Since we are adding lots of shallots/ onions, it adds a little sweetness and balances the taste very well.
Look how nicely it’s sautéed, it’s still green yet soft and palatable.
This is a typical South Indian seasoning. This really adds an extra depth of flavor to the dish
Just heat up a teaspoon of oil in a pan add the mustard seeds, once it pops, switch off the stove and add the curry leaves and the fenugreek powder or crushed methi leaves and mix it well. Pour it on top of the sautéed Okra.
Fenugreek/ methi is very potent, don’t exceed the recommended amount otherwise it gives a bitter taste.
If you are not familiar with this type of seasoning just leave it out. It tastes good without it too.
I recommend you to keep it warm in the pan until you serve it. This is one awesome side dish which can be eaten with rice, curry and flatbreads. It goes so well with our south Indian rice and curries like rasam, sambar etc…
Vendakkai Poriyal – Southindian style
If you have never tasted this vegetable before, do try it! Now you know exactly how to buy it, cook it and make it slime free. It is such an easy and healthy side dish or a snack which can be made in a matter of 15 minutes, it tastes so delicious you will never say no to it once you taste this dish. Enjoy !