Sauteed Indian Okra with Spicy Onion, Bell Pepper & Cumin & Homemade Masala

I feel like okra (or ladyfingers) is a really underrated vegetable. I also feel like okra is primarily used in the south (in gumbo, fried up, etc), but not so much in the northeast. I almost feel like people don’t really know what to do with okra. Okra is extremely versatile. There are SO many ways to prepare okra in Indian cuisine- and I love them all. Sauteed, stuffed, fried- you name it, it exists.
Sorry for the awful picture!
I came home from work one evening and wanted to whip up something quickly using the okra that I had. So, I basically combined a whole bunch of ingredients from my pantry and fridge, and whipped up a really yummy okra dish that can be eaten with rice, naan, chappathi or any other bread. It’s also really healthy, as I used a minimal amount of oil (per usual) and cooking spray. Okra also has a good amount of protein, which is important to keep in mind as a vegetarian. So you can take as many servings as you like without feeling guilty (or fat).
Also, if you’re wondering why my picture is awful, its because I made this dish when I had just moved into my apartment and I didn’t have my camera 😦
Indian Okra: 
  • 1 bunch okra (about 20-25 okras cut into 1/2 circles)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 white onion- chopped in 1/2 squares
  • 1 yellow/red/green bell pepper chopped into 1/2 squares
  • 1 jalapeno (or to taste)- cut into half moons
  • 1 clove garlic- chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch cumin powder
  • a little less than 1 tbsp homemade masala powder (Recipe Below)
  • salt
  • coarse black pepper
  • lemon juice (from half a lemon)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • handful of cilantro- washed and finely chopped
  • PAM Original Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

1. In a medium pan/heavyweight pot spray with PAM and pour oil, heat over medium flame. Add the cumin seeds and let cook for about 30 seconds until popping and fragrant. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until halfway cooked and a bit charred. Add the chopped jalapenos and saute. Add the chopped okra and saute for a few minutes- okra will appear slimy, but it just needs to be cooked out.

2. Add the homemade masala powder, turmeric, cumin powder and salt and pepper. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, making sure to stir so none of the okra pieces get burned. Add the juice from half a lemon and stir. Sprinkle in the sugar. Saute the okra and vegetables until tender and all the sliminess has dissipated. Taste for salt, spice and lemon juice- it should taste spicy but have a little tang to it. I add the sugar to balance out the spice and bitterness from the lemon juice.

3. Once thoroughly cooked, place on a serving dish and top with a generous amount of chopped cilantro. Serve with rice and/or chappathi.

Serves about 2

Homemade Masala Powder:

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1-2 cloves garlic- finely chopped
  • pinch hing (Asafoetida powder)- optional, but if you can find hing, it adds an aromatic and smooth flavor
  • salt
  • black pepper

1. In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Masala will be a little chunky and moist in texture. Taste for salt and spice- should taste very spicy and have a balanced level of salt. Store in a ziplock bag or air-tight container in the fridge.

Like Vegan Vegetable Dishes? Try These:

  Sweet n’ Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  Italian Broccoli with Caramelized Onions & Balsamic Glaze

Indian Corn & Cranberry Succotash


8 thoughts on “Sauteed Indian Okra with Spicy Onion, Bell Pepper & Cumin & Homemade Masala

  1. Love finding new vegetarian dishes. I am one of those that cringe at okra but I would try it this way it sounds tasty plus it would also work with other veggies too. Thanks and have a great day.

  2. this looks great. cumin is my favorite spice by far.. think I might try this with maybe just a bit more than a pinch. nice job!

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