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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.

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Okra Kuzhambu - Okra in tamarind coconut sauce | Vegan Richa

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.

Okra Kuzhambu - Okra in tamarind coconut sauce | Vegan Richa

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 

Okra Kuzhambu - Okra in tamarind coconut sauce | Vegan Richa


Okra Kuzhambu - Okra in tamarind coconut sauce

4.86 from 7 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 3
Course: Side
Cuisine: Indian
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.
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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 mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp split pigeon pea , or chana dal or split yellow pea
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 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 sugar
  • 1/2 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 .


Nutritional values based on one serving


Calories: 123kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 414mg, Potassium: 304mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 850IU, Vitamin C: 72.4mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 0.8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Okra Kuzhambu - Okra in tamarind coconut sauce | Vegan Richa

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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4.86 from 7 votes

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  1. Martha says:

    5 stars
    This recipe sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      I can’t wait to hear what you think

  2. Esther says:

    5 stars
    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!

  3. Emilia says:


    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,


    1. Richa says:

      The chana dal gets roasted and will soften when the sauce gets cooked. Is it still hard after all of the cooking time?

      1. Emilia Salgado says:

        Yes, I started the dish again. Won’t use the dhal this time. Added more tamarind and 3 tbs coconut cream. Tastes delicious.

  4. Nikki says:

    4 stars
    loved it! a bit sweet but will try again with some slight alterations more to my taste. thanks for sharing~

    1. Richa says:

      yes coconut, tamarind, onnion all have sweeter notes, use lesser of those and add more salt or some lime juice

  5. Divya says:

    5 stars
    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 🙂

  6. Clara says:

    5 stars
    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!

  7. Kim says:

    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?

    1. Richa says:

      hmm, maybe blend longer. Add more water for consistency. Sometimes the pan/stove can cause it to evaporate faster

  8. Wim says:

    Can I substitute the split pigeon pea or split yellow pea with normal red lentils?

    1. Richa says:

      yes, use red lentils the split kind.

  9. Sarah says:

    5 stars
    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!

    1. Richa says:

      I can’t imagine how canned okra must be. Its a tricky vegetable even when fresh 🙂