As a kid I hated the taste and texture of okra (ochro) but I can safely say that it’s now one of my favorite vegetables to use in cooking. Soups and stews is not complete without a few okras in there, but pan frying them is still my choice. Our mom probably gets a good laugh these days when I request fried okra when we visit her and my dad.. back in the day we (my brother and sisters) all refused to partake in anything okra related. Poor woman always had to cook something different for us.
When most people hear the word ‘vegetarian’ attached to a dish they automatically think it’s something bland and just plain ole flavorless. Nothing could be further from the truth with this vegetarian curry okra.
1 lb okra
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves garlic
2 bird pepper aka birds eye (or 1/4 scotch bonnet)
1 pimento pepper (aka seasoning pepper)
2 tablespoon veg oil
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
Note: Fried okra is notorious for needing a lot of oil (absorbs it) so I recommend using a non stick pan if you can, to eliminate the use for more oil.
Tip: To make sure the cooked okra is not slimy (as it can be) wash, pat dry then remove the stems and cut into desired thickness. Place the cut okra on a cookie sheet in a single layer and allow to air dry for a couple hours. Place in direct sun for even better results.
Dice the onion, garlic, hot pepper and pimento pepper (optional) . Then heat the vegetable oil on medium heat and toss in the diced onion and garlic. Turn the heat down to low and let that cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Now it’s time to add the curry powder and some fresh ground black pepper. The heat should still be on low as we want to toast the curry powder to release it’s flavors and not burn the curry. Let that go for 3 minutes.. be sure to stir. You should start getting that lovely curry aroma.
Add the diced peppers and stir. Turn up the heat to medium and start adding the cut okra to the pot. The idea is to stir-fry the okra in the curry base and here is where you’ll need to personalize this dish a bit. Depending on how ‘cooked’ you like okra, you will have to adjust your cooking time. Do NOT cover the pan as we don’t want steam/moisture to develop as this is another factor for making okra slimy.
I let it cook for about 15 minutes before it was to my liking. At this point I salted the dish (always try to salt okra near the end of cooking so it does not develop moisture.. a tip I got from Cynthia @ http://www.tasteslikehome.org/) and gave it a final stir. You’ll notice how the okra maintained most of it’s brilliant green color, with tasty caramelized edges and the curry base with just delightful.
You’ll love sharing this vegetarian curry okra with your family and friends and there’s enough here for 4-5 people as a side dish. I love having this curry okra with sada roti (sada roti recipe), but it’s also works well as an accompaniment to rice or as any typical vegetable side dish.