I know several friends who cannot stand this vegetable. I guess most often it has to do with the slimy texture that okra comes with. I am definitely not one of them and am very glad that none of my family members are too. In fact okra is the vegetable that brings us together :)
Although is not readily available in the local supermarkets where I currently live, I have to travel quite a bit to an Indian store to procure them. But I dont mind going that extra mile at all. They are definitely worth it. Canned ones, frozen ones..I tried them all..but nothing can come close to the fresh variety of okra. This recipe works best with tender small sized okra.
I serve them with chapatis, but I could imagine them to make excellent appetisers as well.
Yeild – for about 2
250 gms okra, washed, thoroughly dried and stem cut off
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil *
For the stuffing -
half cup grated coconut, optional
1 tsp chilli powder
half tsp turmeric
1 tbsp lemon juice ( half tbsp if not using coconut)**
half tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt or as per taste
1.Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing in a bowl and keep aside.
2. Gently slit the okras length wise making a ‘cross’ or ‘T’, leaving about 1 cm from the tail end ensuring not to cut the okra in half.
3. Stuff the mixture into each of the okras. Its best to use your hands to do this.
4. Heat oil in a wide non stick pan on medium-high heat. Once the oil starts to fume, place the stuffed okra into the pan. After a minute lower the heat to medium-low. *
5. After about 3-5 mins once the bottom of the okra turns brown, turn them to the other side using a spoon or pair of tongs. Continue to do this until the okra is cooked on all sides. It took me about 10-15 mins.
6. Sprinkle/adjust salt if required.
The heat needs to be watched and regulated to avoid burning the spices and the coconut, so watch it like a hawk!
*You might need to more oil mid way through cooking the okra if you find them sticking to the pan.
**Another variation could be to use desiccated coconut instead of fresh coconut or leave coconut out completely.