A fresh and light recipe for okra curry adapted from an authentic Sri Lankan recipe. Flavoured with roasted Sri Lankan curry powder and coconut this recipe has to be tried.
If you've had okra before and thought it was slimy, soggy, chewy or just generally disgusting then please, I beg you, try this recipe.
That person was me - I really couldn't imagine how anyone could actually like okra!
But since making this recipe for Sri Lankan okra curry I am a total okra convert.
This okra curry:
- is delicately spiced
- has a hint of coconut
- is easy to make
- comes from Sri Lanka - it's adapted from a recipe given to me by a friend's father.
What is okra?
Okra is a green vegetable with a pointy end commonly found in the Indian subcontinent. It is sometimes known as bhindi or ladies fingers.
It's readily available to buy in London where I live. I would recommend trying your nearest large supermarket or Asian supermarket if you can't find it.
This recipe was given to me by Shem, the same person who gave me the Sri Lankan roasted curry powder recipe.
This okra curry is the perfect use for that curry powder. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Ingredients for okra curry
You will need the following ingredients to make okra curry:
- Coconut oil
Look for the crispest, freshest okra you can find. You can make this recipe with frozen okra but the texture is much nicer if you use fresh.
A small fresh tomato is best but 100g tinned chopped tomatoes can be used if needed.
- Red onion
- Curry leaves
Using fresh curry leaves gives this dish its unique flavour. Dried curry leaves aren't as flavoursome but can be used or if you can't find either you can leave them out.
- Sri Lankan curry powder
I make my own curry powder for this recipe but you can use shop bought if you prefer.
- Black pepper
- Ground cumin
- Coconut milk
Just 2 tablespoons are needed. Freeze the remainder or add to a dal or green bean curry.
- Lime juice
There are a few things you can do differently with this recipe.
- The original recipe, which Shem got from her Dad, calls for 1 tsp coconut powder or grated creamed coconut. I find coconut milk is much easier to get hold of in the UK so I decided to use this.
- The recipe also calls for curry leaves. As with the okra you should be able to get hold of these in a large supermarket or Asian store but if not you can leave them out.
- Here is the recipe for roasted Sri Lankan curry powder if you'd like to make your own. You can also use a shop bought curry powder for example garam masala to make this recipe.
This dish is delicious served on its own with rice.
Try using red rice for an authentic side.
If you prefer to serve bread with your curry you might like this coconut roti.
This dish is best eaten fresh.
If you do have leftovers, allow them to cool completely and then store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
Okra curry can be frozen safely but personally I don't like the texture as much once it's been defrosted.
How to make Sri Lankan okra curry
- Trim the okra and cut in half lengthways.
- Reserve the coconut oil, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, the curry leaves and the lime juice. Place everything else in a large mixing bowl and mix to combine.
- Heat the coconut oil in a medium-sized saucepan until melted.
- Add 1 tablespoon of chopped red onion and 10 curry leaves. Fry until the onion is turning brown.
- Add the remaining ingredients (apart from the lime).
- Stir well, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the okra is soft but still has a little bite.
- Squeeze over the lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
If you have made this recipe and loved it please consider leaving a comment and rating below.
Please do not reproduce this recipe without permission.
Sri Lankan okra curry
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 350 g okra look for okra that is crisp and cresh
- 1 small tomato or 100g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 10 fresh curry leaves
- 1 heaped teaspoon roasted Sri Lankan curry powder*
- ½ heaped teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Prepare the okra. Trim the stem end and cut in half lengthways.
- Reserve 1 tablespoon diced onion, the coconut oil, the curry leaves and the lime juice.
- Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a medium saucepan until melted. Add 10 curry leaves and the reserved tablespoon of diced onion. Fry until sizzling and slightly brown, stirring often.
- Add all the other ingredients to the saucepan. Swill a dash of water around the now empty bowl to get out any last traces of spice.
- Heat on a medium heat for 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes. The okra should still have a bit of bite.
- Turn off the heat and squeeze in 1 teaspoon lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serve immediately with rice.
- Make your own Sri Lankan curry powder. Alternatively you can use garam masala or another curry powder of your choice.
- Nutritional information is approximate and intended as a guide only.
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