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Okra Stir Fry (Bendekayi palya)

Okra is one vegetable that can be turned into a number of delicious sides. Top okra curries that I can remember are : okra with potato, okra with peppers, okra with tomato gravy, okra in a traditional south Indian gravy with coconut or with lentils! That is really not an exhaustive list 🙂 But I think any okra dish tastes good only if it is not too sticky! Some tricks that I have used are adding in some lemon, tamarind pulp or tomatoes in the dish. All of this helps get rid of the stickiness. (The other method is to fry it with a lot of oil!! Tastes yum but definitely not my first choice for cooking this veggie 🙂 )

In this dish, I have added in onions and okra. Whenever I have been to this south Indian place near my house, I would order a similar okra stir-fry. It tasted yummy but had lots of coconut and oil. I just wanted to try it out myself so that it would be a lot less expensive and healthier :). To avoid cooking the okra with a whole bunch of oil, I just popped it in the oven! I had seen one of my friends doing it. Cooking it this way adds a wonderful crunch to the veggie and you don’t really have to keep stirring it on the stove!

Ingredients

  1. 400 grams okra
  2. 1/2 medium onion
  3. 2 thai green chillies
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp oil
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. 1 tsp chana dal
  8. 1 tsp urad dal
  9. 1 1/2 tbsp grated coconut
  10. 10 – 15 curry leaves

Preparation Time: 15 min                   
Cooking Time: 30 min
Servings: 3

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F for 10 min.
  2. If you are using fresh okra, wash it thoroughly and dry it completely using a paper towel. Chop the okra into bite-sized pieces. If you are using cut frozen okra, you can just skip this step! Chop the onions too.
  3. Take a baking tray and line it with baking paper. Spread the cut okra evenly on the sheet and just sprinkle a little salt.
  4. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake it till the veggies get lightly roasted. This might take around 15-20 min. Keep a close watch, because depending on the size of the okra pieces and the type of oven, it might take a little longer or lesser. I have used frozen okra several times and usually that would take close to 20 min,
  5. While the okra is getting baked, place a saucepan on the stove. Add a tsp of oil, and the chana dal. Once the chana dal changes color lightly, add the urad dal. Again wait for the urad dal to change color lightly, then add the mustard seeds and let it crackle. Break the dried red chillies into 2 or 3 pieces each and add it to the saucepan. Also add the curry leaves and saute for a few seconds.
  6. Add in the chopped onions and saute well till they change color. Add in some salt. (Adjust salt to your taste).
  7. Turn off the stove in case the okra is not yet done. Once the okra is done, switch on the gas stove and add the okra into the pan. Saute well till everything gets mixed. Garnish with grated coconut and serve hot!

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