This coconut okra is a harmony between textures and flavors coming together to make this irresistible dish
It’s so delicious that even my otherwise non-okra-loving husband digs right into this Okra with a spoon. Although you can have it with chapati or paratha too. Or as a side to daal chawal. Add some yogurt on the side too, and you will be in food haven.
Okra (bhindi) is sold in abundance, especially in summers in India. That is the season for okra. As there is a rather limited selection of vegetables that are seasonal in India during summers, okra would be a repetitive occurrence on the table during that season. There were 2 ways that my mother would cook okra: simple everyday okra and achaari okra. Both were good, but being the experimental kid I was, I wanted to try cooking it in a different way. So, I looked up different recipes and came up with this version of my own. Everyone in my family loved it, because it was different from the usual one. And that’s how this coconut okra was born and adopted by my family lovingly.
Where to find Okra in Germany?
Since Okra grows in warm climate, Germany and surrounding areas aren’t suitable for its cultivation. Hence it is not easily available at the standard German grocery stores.
I ordered mine from Jamoona.com . It was nicely packed in paper bag and came out very fresh and firm. They have a variety of exotic fresh items to choose from. Click on this link to have a look at their online store.
The Do’s and Dont’s of Okra
Okra is naturally mucilaginous, which results in it’s slimy characteristic. When not cooked right you may end up with a very mucus-ey, slimy dish which is not attractive for many. To avoid that, there are certain tips that you may follow.
- Thoroughly drying the Okra: After washing the okra, make sure to thoroughly dry it. Put it onto a dry and absorbent kitchen towel and tap dry. Then wrap it into the towel and keep away for a few minutes to let the towel soak all of the excess liquid. If there is any water residue, it will result in activating the mucus, which not only makes it hard to cut the okra but also make your dish slimy.
- Adding salt after sautéing: Adding salt to vegetables causes them to release moisture, which in the case for okra would result in producing slime. That’s why we sauté okra first to get rid of the excess moisture, and then add salt afterwards. This hinders the production of slime.
- Do not add water: Water and okra do not go well together. Although it is a personal preference wether you like it somewhat slimy and saucy or prefer it dry. I personally stay away from adding water to my okra because I prefer it totally dry and non-slimy.
- Adding citrusy elements: Ingredients like yogurt, tomatoes or lemon also helps remove slime from the okra. They also compliment the flavor of okra really well.
- Creating texture: This one isn’t a hard and fast rule but I really like to play with textures in my okra. Okra in itself is tender, when cooked. So I like to add some ingredients to bring more texture into my dish. In this recipe for example, I add onion and coconut for extra texture.
How to serve Coconut Okra
You can totally dig into this coconut okra straight with a spoon (like my husband does) and eat it on its own. But if you are looking for accompaniments, here are some suggestions:
- Multigrain Chapati
- As a side to Plain Brown Rice and Simple Masoor Daal
- Cauliflower rice (as a low carb option)
Coconut Okra (An Unusual Style of Cooking Okra)
- 250 grams fresh Okra
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 green chilies (adjust quantity according to spice preference)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 whole dried red chilies (remove stems)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 15-20 fresh curry leaves
- ¼ cup (60 grams) yogurt (preferably sour)
- 1 tsp himalayan salt
- 2 Tbsp (10 grams) shredded coconut (dry)
- ½ tsp roasted coriander powder (substitute: roasted cumin powder)
- ½ tsp fennel seeds powder (saunf powder)
- juice of ½ lemon
- Wash okra and dry thoroughly by tapping with a dry kitchen towel. Then wrap into the kitchen towel and put aside to let it soak the excess water until needed.
- Peel and thinly slice the onion. Slice the green chilies into small pieces.
- Unwrap the okra and tap dry to get rid of any water that might have left on the surface. Remove the heads and tips, and then slice into small pieces (around 3 cm in size).
- Heat a big pan/skillet on medium heat. Add the coconut oil and let it melt. Once hot, add the whole dried red chilies and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the mustard seeds and saute until they start to crackle (about 1 minute).
- Add the fresh curry leaves and sliced green chilies and saute for another minute.
- Add the sliced okra and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the sliced onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, until it turns glossy.
- Add the yogurt and salt. Mix and saute for 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low. Put a lid on and let cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, uncover and add the shredded coconut, roasted coriander powder and fennel seed powder. Mix well to combine and then turn off heat.
- Squeeze lemon juice and mix again before serving.