Ladies finger or Okra is an oft-used vegetable in South Indian homes. It is called ‘Vendakkai’ in Tamil. We tend to normally use this vegetable in Sambar, Morkuzhambu and Poriyal. I was told by my mom that eating Vendakkai makes you a Maths whiz although I haven’t really seen any specific, scientific evidence to prove it so far 🙂 Anyhow, that was enough convincing for someone like me who was terrified of Mathematics. Hence as a kid, I religiously consumed okra this, and okra that, during my exams :D. On a serious note, Okra has enough vitamins, minerals and fibre for you to be including it in your diet regularly. It is also really low in fat which is great if you’re watching your calories.This is one of my favorite curries – probably one of the few curries that everyone in the family likes equally. This is a simple curry that takes only about 10 minutes to cook.
- Ladies Finger/Okra – 250 gm , chopped
- Tomato – 1 ripe, chopped
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Red chilly powder – ½ tsp (I use Kashmiri)
- Curry powder/Sambar powder – ½ tsp
- Black mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Asafoetida/Hing – a pinch
- Salt to taste
- Oil – 4 tsp
- Wash the Okra under running water and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Chop the okra finely and set aside.
- Now heat the oil in a wide-bottomed pan.
- Okra is slimy by nature and chopping it releases the sticky slime. It is important to cook this in a wide bottomed pan as the heat gets distributed evenly and the hot oil seals the okra causing it to get cooked fast. You could also cook this with water, but I prefer oil as DH prefers this curry with the Okra crisp and dark.
- Add in the black mustard seeds and allow it to splutter.
- Add the hing and immediately add the chopped Okra.
- Saute on a medium-low flame for about a minute. Now sprinkle some water on top of the okra and close the lid of the pan for another 3 minutes.
- Once the Okra is soft , add the chopped tomatoes and sauté for a minute.
- Add salt, chilli powder,turmeric and curry/sambar powder. Mix well. Sprinkle some water on this.
- Let this mixture cook for about 2 minutes.
- Give it a good mix and switch off stove.
This can be served as a side for Rice, Rotis, Chapati etc. We mix this with rice and call it ‘Vendakkai Saadham’ which tastes delicious by itself. This is usually a lunch-time curry for us, where we have this with Sambar, Rasam or Curd Rice. I had this for lunch yesterday with plain Curd rice. This is one of the yummiest combinations with curd rice!
Anyhow, please try it and you will never say no to Okra again! 🙂