Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vendakka Pachadi - Stir fried Okra in yoghurt sauce

Okra is a vegetable that I would steer clear of as a child. My dad used to say that his mother would prepare okra curry like beef curry during the lent season. And nobody would miss eating meat, coz it has a meaty texture. I never liked the slimy gooey texture, but after being married to someone who loves this vegetable, I had to prepare it to keep him happy. The okra stir fry is one of his favorites and my mother-in-law gave me the easiest recipe for it.
For a change, I tried this pachadi (South Indian gravy made with yoghurt). Its definitely healthy for you.
Okra is high in fibre and also high levels of antioxidants and vitamin A.
The key to making a good okra recipe, is to slice it in thin circles, about 1/4 inch thick, and to sauté it in a wide pan so that it can spread out, stirring regularly, until most of the moisture dries up and its slime free. If the pan is overcrowded, the okra will release a lot of moisture and become a slimy mass.

Okra - 2 cups, sliced
Red pearl onions - 5, sliced (can use 1/2 red onion as substitute)
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Green chilli - 2 (or to taste)
Turmeric - a pinch (optional)
Oil - 1 tbsp
Plain yoghurt - 1 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

Whisk yoghurt with water, salt and roasted cumin seeds in a bowl, and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Sauté pearl onions and green chillies till they turn brown. Add a pinch of turmeric, if using. Now add sliced okra pieces and fry till okra is cooked to a good crisp (takes about 15 to 20 mins). When done, take it off the heat and allow it to cool.
Dunk the okra mixture into the bowl of whisked yoghurt.
Serve with steamed rice.

Inspiration from Edible Garden.