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Semi-dry okra curry (Bhendi Sagale)

Okra is loved across India and cooked as a stir-fry and curries. Indian okra is never slimy, as is seen in some Creole and African dishes. This is because of the frying technique used in Indian cooking that cooks off the sliminess.

This is a robust dish, full of flavours from the region. It is spicy from the local Bydagi chillies, sweet from the jaggery and scented with coastal coconut. This is the perfect side dish that pops with flavour.

This is a very distinctive cookbook on Karwar cuisine that I adore. The food is intense and authentic, every recipe that I have cooked from here is absolutely delicious. I really have no memory of where and when I bought this cookbook, but I am so glad it sits on my shelf. I highly recommend this cookbook to those who want to master and enjoy this very unique cuisine.

For more recipes from the beautiful cookbook, click here.


For the spice mix:

3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 tsp split black gram (urad dal)

5-6 Bydagi chillies, or to taste

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons jaggery

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 lb okra, sliced on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces

Salt, to taste

1 cup water

Dry roast all the spice mix ingredients individually till they are lightly coloured and aromatic, except the turmeric and jaggery. Cool. Add to a spice mill and grind to a fine powder. Add the turmeric and jaggery and set aside.

Heat the oil in a small wok and fry the mustard seeds for 20 seconds till they begin to pop. Add the okra and cook on low heat till the okra is cooked through and soft, about 10 minutes. The longer you fry the okra the less slimy it will be in the curry.

Add the spice mix and cook for 1 minute coating the okra well. Add the salt and water and cook till you have a thick sauce, about 3-5 minutes. Taste for spice, salt and sweet. the flavours should be robust and well-balanced.

Serve hot.

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