Okra is a favourite vegetable in India, it is cooked using multiple methods based on the region and the spices used. Indian cooking has adapted to cook this vegetable until it is no longer sticky, usually stir-frying until it is crisp.
I have adapted the cooking of this vegetable, from the traditional stir-fry to a roasted version for a new look to a standard dish, but also to cut down on the oil used. The recipe is still the same and the flavours are still very traditional, but the look is completely new.
The roasted okra is crisp and wonderfully spiced. The spices bloom during the roasting process and saturate the okra pods. The dish can be served as a traditional side, but I also like to serve this dish as an appetizer or as finger food. No matter how you serve it, your guests will love this dish.
As a chef that tries to strive towards zero waste, I do not remove the tips and stems of the okra. As long as the stems are tender and soft, they are edible, but it takes Indians a whole new mindset to pick up one and eat the stem.
Yamuna Devi's cookbook is probably the first cookbook I bought when I moved to the US 30 years ago for my PhD. Over the years, I have cooked almost half the recipes, it is the cookbook that taught me technique, and flavour profiles and always gave me a wonderful meal. This vegetarian cookbook is essential on any shelf, it is the bible of Indian vegetarian cuisine.
For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.
1 lb okra, pick the most tender ones, they should be soft and supple
3-4 tablespoons ghee or peanut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin sees
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
Salt, to taste
Cilantro, minced, for garnish
Mix the ghee/oil with the spices to make a runny paste.
Wipe the okra down with a damp paper towel. Cut each okra pod into half longitudinally. Toss them in the ghee spice paste till they are well coated.
Heat the oven to 375 ° F.
Line a baking sheet with foil and layer the coated okra in a single layer cut side up. Roast for 30-35 minutes until the okra is cooked and crisp. It should not be sticky anymore.
Serve immediately garnished with cilantro. If you do not serve immediately they will tend to get soggy.