Okra Kuzhambu – Okra in tamarind coconut sauce. Tangy south Indian curry with Okra. Vegan gluten-free soy-free Recipe. Allergen Information: Free of dairy, egg, corn, soy, gluten, nut, yeast. grain. It has coconut. Serve 3 or more as a side, 2 as main.
Okra is one moody vegetable and as you all already know I have a love hate or rather dislike-dislike relationship with it. However, okra is a frequent vegetable in quite some Indian regions and most Indian recipes make a great non sticky okra!
Okra can be stuffed with a ton of spices and fried, cooked with chickpea flour, roasted until dry and so on. This okra side has a delicious tamarind coconut sauce which is inspired by southern Indian Kuzhambu sauce.
The tangy, coconutty sauce pairs beautifully with Okra. You can also use any local vegetables like gourds, taro root, broccoli or use cooked chickpeas or beans! Adjust the cooking time accordingly. Tamarind is available as pods or paste(concentrate). I usually get the concentrate as it lasts longer in the refrigerator and does not need soak time. Tamarind will come in handy in thai, malay and other cuisines as well and also to make Worcestershire sauce.
Pictured on the post with Easy Chana Dal.
It is May 8 already! Hubb’s family is visiting from India May 11 onwards, so it is going to be a very active summer. I am hoping to learn some amazing Marwari (North Central Indian cuisine) food secrets from Bhabhi (sister in law) and make vegan versions of some of their favorites!
More Okra and other veggie sides with tamarind from the blog
- Bhindi Zunka – Okra crusted with chickpea flour and spices.
- Bisi Bele Bath Pressure Cooker Split Pea Brown Rice Soup
- South Indian Quinoa with Tamarind & Pumpkin
- Okra and Onion Stir fry
- Massaman Curry Vegetables
Okra Kuzhambu - Okra in tamarind coconut sauce
For the Okra:
- 2 tsp oil
- 12 to 14 okra chopped to 1/2 inch pieces, about 2 cups chopped
For the sauce:
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) mustard seeds
- 1/8 tsp (0.13 tsp) fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) black peppercorns
- 2 tsp split pigeon pea or chana dal or split yellow pea
- 8 to 10 curry leaves
- 1 cup (140 g) chopped red onion
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) turmeric
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 3 tbsp shredded coconut dry or fresh
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) sugar
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) salt or to taste
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add okra and pinch of salt and cook until the okra is golden on most edges. Stir every 5 to 7 minutes. 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the sauce: heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. when the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let them start to sizzle and pop. Add fenugreek seeds, black pepper, split peas and curry leaves. cook for half a minute or until the split peas change color. Add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. 5 to 6 minutes
- Add spices and mix well. Add shredded coconut, tomato, tamarind, salt, sugar and 1/4 cup water. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Cool slightly and blend with a cup of water.
- Add the blended sauce to the okra and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to preference and the okra is cooked to preference. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Serve with rice, dosa or flatbread
- Variation: Dry roast the split peas and fenugreek, grind them and add with coriander at step .
This recipe sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try it.
Vegan Richa Support
I can’t wait to hear what you think
Wonderful recipe! I tried it last night for dinner and was surprised how easy and tasty it was. I had no shredded coconut so added a little coconut milk and a bit of ground almond. Will have to try again with shredded coconut. Thanks!
Im cooking the coconut tamarind okra dish. The recipe calls for chana dhal or split pigeon pea. I’ve added the 2tsp of chana dhal, continued cooking, ought to be finished now but the chana dhal is hard. Did you mean add cooked chana dhal? Please advice,
The chana dal gets roasted and will soften when the sauce gets cooked. Is it still hard after all of the cooking time?
Yes, sadly..so I started the dish again. Won’t use the dhal this time. Added more tamarind and 3 tbs coconut cream. Tastes delicious.
loved it! a bit sweet but will try again with some slight alterations more to my taste. thanks for sharing~
yes coconut, tamarind, onnion all have sweeter notes, use lesser of those and add more salt or some lime juice
superb dish! im a south indian and love my coconut and tamarind so this was a great combination. i’ve always only made okra stir fry with onion, and ventured out to try this recipe since it had the word “kuzhambu” in it 🙂 and i was not disappointed!
thanks for sharing 🙂
Just made this tonight, it was excellent! I didnt have everything on hand – subbed horseradish for mustard seed, 2 bay leaves and a little rice vinegar for curry leaves, green split peas for chana dal, and upped some of the seasonings a little bit because of the split peas. It still was one of the best new recipes I’ve tried in a while. Thank you!
My sauce wasn’t at all creamy like yours. Let it simmer a while with no luck. Any thoughts what I might have done wrong?
hmm, maybe blend longer. Add more water for consistency. Sometimes the pan/stove can cause it to evaporate faster
Can I substitute the split pigeon pea or split yellow pea with normal red lentils?
yes, use red lentils the split kind.
Made this last night. I had some canned okra I had used in a recipe earlier this week and needed to use up the rest. I’m sure the canned quality was worse than fresh would’ve been, but the sauce was amazing!
I can’t imagine how canned okra must be. Its a tricky vegetable even when fresh 🙂
I had an hour before Iftar so i decided to make this… I’m so glad I did!
My brother and Dad (both extremely fussy eaters) loved it.
Thank you so much!
Okra couldnt have tasted better in this coconutty sauce! I like that it doesnt get slimy when cooked.
Curry leaves – if I leave it out it will change it right? No Indian grocer around… love okra.
yes, leave them out.
This looks so satisfying. I’ve loved okra ever since I first ate it in bhindi masala, but I have rarely cooked with it at home. I’ll have to give this recipe a try sometime!
When I saw Okra, I was like RUNNN! :p 😉 My grandmother always makes okra and I have never liked it. But maybe, I say MAYBE, I am going to try this recipe. Or maybe I’ll first try Bhindi Zunka. Your recipes have not once been a disappointment. I don’t even know if I can get okra here in Germany. I know I can get tamarind. I wish you could see how big the bottle of tamarind paste is that I found here :’)… It is not even big enough to fit in a teaspoon lol 🙂
Yay! try the zunka. it has a less chance of making slimy okra as the cooking time and chickpea flour takes care of it. 🙂
Looks delicious. Bhindi is the fav veggie in my house, and this looks delicious..
Aren’t the okra going to be sticky? What do you do to remove the sliminess?
roasting the okra with a little oil reduces the slimyness by drying it out a bit and seals it in as well, so that when you cook it in any sauce or stew, it stays sturdy and non slimy.
This is amazing!!
Christine (The Raw Project)
Looks wonderful, yum! Adore the flavors in this dish. And exciting about visiting family, hope you have a great time!
This looks so delicious!! I love south Indian food. I was exposed to Indian food through my partner’s culture, & instantly loved the cuisine. We’re not really together anymore, but I will always love these kind of dishes ( & love making them at home!). I hope you learn more dishes during the family visit!!