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Jan 10, 2009 12:02 PM

Dry-fried Indian okra recipe?

At Sultan, one of my favorite Indian restaurants here in SF, there is a dish of stir fried okra. It has lots of spices, so it's very flavorful, but it's not at all wet or slimy - it's pretty dry.

Does anyone know of any recipe for an okra dish like this? I just bought some okra at the farmer's market. I guess I'm looking for more technique than for a real should I cook the okra so it comes out tender and fully cooked, but not at all slimy (and not covered in sauce either)

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Dave MP

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  1. I like this crispy okra recipe (Bhindi Kurkure) from Gourmet Indian in Minutes. Simply coat okra slices in a chickpea flour and spice mix, then deep fry. Add or subtract spices to your liking, but the amchur is important, I think, because it gives some tartness. I usually add cumin, too.

    1 1/4 lbs okra sliced diagonally (2 1/2 cups)
    1 tsp red chilli powder (to taste)
    1 tsp turmeric
    1/2 tsp amchur (mango powder)
    Salt to taste
    3 Tbl chickpea flour (besan)
    Small pinch sugar

    Slice the okra diagonally so you have larger surfaces. Mix ingreds through salt, add okra, and mix. Deep fry in batches til crispy. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of sugar.

    For an easy stir-fried okra dish that is dry and not slimy, try this method, and adjust to your taste:

    1. you can pan fry sliced okra and it doesn't come out slimy. I slice into wheels, maybe 1/2 inch thick, and toss with corn meal. Then pan fry a few minutes per side till crispy. Then drain and salt immediately. Let cool for a few minutes, the insides are like lava right out of the pan. I usually top with just salt and chile powder but I'm sure you can find the right seasoning mix for an indian style flavor. Probably stuff like coriander, cumin, tumeric, chile powder

      1. NOT deep fried: Toss a bit of oil and your spices and aromatics and chile into a wok and let integrate, toss in diagonal sliced okra and stir/toss fry until done. Toss in a shot of whitre wine if things get too dry. Easy and good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Cool, this idea (and Channa's recipe at the bottom of the post) sound good. Deep frying and breading/frying also sound good, but I'm definitely looking for a stir-fry type dish, more like the foodwithapinchoflove recipe or what Sam F. describes.

          I'll let you all know how it turns out!

          Dave MP

          1. re: jen kalb

            This idea of slicing lengthwise seems good. The book Mangoes and Curry Leaves is gorgeous; I'll paraphrase their okra (bindi) recipe that I've made a few times.

            1/2 lb okra (2 cups)
            3 T raw sesame oil or veg oil
            1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
            1/2 tsp ground coriander
            1/2 tsp tumeric
            1/2 c finely chopped onion
            1 T minced garlic
            1 T minced ginger
            1/2 tsp garam masala
            1/2 tsp salt
            1 green cayenne chile, minced (I used a serrano)

            The recipe says to wash the okra but I don't do that, want to avoid slime. Cut off stems. Set aside.

            Heat wok or heavy skillet over med-high heat. When hot, add oil. Add mustard seeds, then cover briefly while they pop. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and stir into oil. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until onion softens, about 5 min.

            Add the okra, garam masala and salt and stir-fry 6-8 min (I like it undercooked a bit) Add minced chile and fry another 2 min.

            1. re: walker

              That does sound good! How much cumin would that be?

              1. re: Channa

                Sorry I missed that: it says: 1 tsp whole or ground cumin seeds (I think ground is better; you can grind it yourself.)

              2. re: walker

                I have frozen, sliced okra. Can I use that? Is there something I should do differently if using frozen?

                1. re: piccola

                  I just sizzle whole cumin seeds in oil and dump in the frozen okra. It isn't optimal I suppose but it's good. Cover to get the defrost going then uncover and cook in one layer. I like it cooked way down to little crispy brown nubbins, it takes a good long while on medium/medium low. It's also fine before that stage. I used to defrost on paper towels, that went a bit quicker but I'm lazy.

                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                    Recently I tried starting on stovetop in heavy skillet, spreading frozen okra in a layer, sticking in hot oven. Works great, why has it taken me decades years to think of it?

            2. You should wash the okra, just let it air dry and it should be well dried before cooking. I usually air dry it on top of paper towels about an hour before I am ready to cook. The cut it in halves or thirds, slice diagonally for "looks."

              You could really season this anyway you like. A simple stir fry would be:

              2-3 tbs oil
              1 tsp cumin seeds
              2-3 dried red chilie pods
              1 tsp red chili powder
              1 tsp cumin
              1 tsp aamchoor

              salt to taste AFTER cooking

              garnish with crisp fried garlic slivers.

              When your okra is good and dry, heat oil add cumin seeds and red chili pods, allow to sizzle, then cook add in okra on and cook still on high heat for about 5 mins, lower heat and cover for 5 minutes, then remove the cover, add in the red chili powder and cumin powder, stir fry for 5-7 minutes more on high heat until your okra is just tender. Turn off heat, add salt and aamchoor. You could also add a squirt of lemon juice (1 tsp).

              For stir fry, the trick to prevent slime is that it should be well dried and first cooked on high heat, and to prevent a mushy texture, it shouldn't be cooked covered for too long.

              There are also okra recipes in which the okra is deep fried to crisp them up. That actually works best. My favorites are recipes in which the okra is shredded as finely as hair (floss) or cut into nickel thin rounds, and then deep fried and seasoned afterwords with chaat masala, chili powder, and lime juice.

              2 Replies
              1. re: luckyfatima

                How sour does the bhindi masala get with the amchur? I usually use a good splash of lemon juice and a touch of sugar in my spice mixture, but would be interested in switching it up.

                1. re: JungMann

                  Aamchur has a duller sourness than lemon juice. It is a different flavor altogether, just as tamarind is different than lemon juice. You only need a sprinkle to do the trick. I actually usually use an aamchoor laden chaat masala for a dry deep fried bhindi, and use straight aamchoor (plus cumin, coriader, and red chili powder) for stir fried bhindi stuffed with masala.