Okra is a vegetable
Okra is a long, green, pod like vegetable with ridges down it’s sides and a small stalk at one end. Okra is also known as known as ladies fingers, bhindi, bamia, ochro or gumbo. The word okra though is West African in origin. Okra is used as a dish in it’s own right in Indian, Pakistani, Emirati, Iranian, African and some Southern American cuisines.
Availability of Okra
Okra is available all year round and very easy to find in most Dubai supermarkets in the fresh vegetables section. Ask for the Bhindi if you’re not sure.
Selection of Okra
Okra is best bought whilst it is firm and bright green in colour. Avoid pods that are limp and with brown marks on them. The bigger they are the tougher they are likely to be so an ideal size would be around 7 -10cm. If they don’t snap in half at the pointy bit at one end leave this pod and choose another.
Storage of Okra
Okra can stay for 3 or 4 days in a plastic bag in the fridge. But as with most food, the fresher it is when you cook it, the better it will be.
Preparation of Okra
Rinse under the tap whilst whole (not after slicing) and then dry thoroughly in a kitchen towel. Do not first cut and then wash your okra. It will become slimy and sticky. For this recipe then slice your okra into 2 or 4 pieces lengthways after chopping off and discarding the stalk. There are pictures for reference in my gallery below.
Crispy Okra Recipe
INGREDIENTS for Crispy Okra
Fresh okra : 300 g costs about Dhs 5 from most supermarkets
Vegetable oil for frying (I use Sunflower)
Cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon
Gram flour or Chick pea flour 1 heaped tablespoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
fresh black pepper 1/4 teaspoon
Red chilli powder 1/4 teaspoon
METHOD to make the Crispy Okra
- Wash and dry okra
- Chop off and discard the stalks
- Slice dried okra pods into 2 or 4 depending on size
- Place in a large bowl
- Add all the dry ingredients (spices and flour) to the bowl and mix well
- Leave to rest for 30 minutes or so in the fridge
- Heat up oil in a wok and prepare some kitchen paper on a plate
- Fry the okra slices in oil for about 3 minutes, use a kitchen timer
- Fry in batches till all the okra is fried then drain on kitchen paper
- You can add a small squeeze of lemon juice if you like. Serve with your favourite dip or with rice and curry as part of an Indian meal.
It takes about 1 hour 15 minutes altogether, allowing for 30 minutes marinading time. Would serve 4 people as a snack or side dish to have with curry and rice
Top Tip for this okra recipe or any Indian cooking
Get an Indian Spice box with a lid, easily available from places like Lulus, it’s much easier to use your spices with one of these. I suggest you add salt, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, red chilly powder and some mustard seeds. But that’s my suggestion, everyone’s will be a bit different, especially if you’re from the South of India!
Do you have a favourite Okra Recipe? Please let me know how you cook your okra in a comment. Also please tell me if this recipe worked for you.
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