sweet and sour okra

This okra recipe is taken from my first ever Madhur Jaffrey cookbook my then boyfriend was given by someone he worked with because he loved curries and he loved cooking. We often used to argue about who cooked the dinner because we both loved to cook so much. Which led me to realise that theres’s room for only one domestic goddess in a relationship. The book has inspired me ever since then although I change the recipes to contain much less oil, and I use coconut oil instead of ghee. It is one of the most delicious ways to eat okra because it’s full of flavours which are sweet and fragrant and it has the gentle perfume of cumin and coriander. I also replace the sugar in her recipes with maple syrup, but you can use sugar if you prefer. I often serve it with other Indian dishes like dhal or just with plain basmati rice and an Indian pickle. One of reasons Indian food lends itself to vegetarian and vegan cooking so well is because it’s very, very tasty and has great textures and colours. I usually cook Indian food if I’m having my friends over for a vegetarian feast as I know everyone loves it.


Serves 4-6.

400g of fresh young okra washed and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
7 cloves of garlic
Half a red chilli, finely chopped
7 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin seeds
4 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup


Put the garlic, chilli and half a cup of water in a blender and blend till you have a smooth paste.
Put in a bowl with the ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Heat the oil in a largish sauté pan over a medium flame.
When hot, add the whole cumin seeds. When they start sizzling, turn the heat down and add the spice paste mixture.
Stir fry for about a minute then add the okra, salt, maple syrup, lemon juice and four tablespoons of water.
Stir, cover with a lid and then simmer gently for about ten minutes or until tender.

Lastly… If you want something crunchy with this dish I suggest serving it with poppadoms, I love the combination of crunchy food with soft food as I like all my taste senses to be catered to, as they are with sweet and sour as well.


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