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Okra Theeyal

Do you miss curry leaves? I know you can get a pack of curry leaves for a dollar at any Indian grocery store nearby, but I am talking about the freshly picked tender curry leaves right off the plant. I dearly miss them and for some dishes, curry leaves elevates the dish to a different level. I am sure my Malayali friends and readers will agree with me. How do you get them though when you live in New England, especially when you do not have the green thumb to grow a plant yourself? That is what dear friends are for. I get my fresh supply of curry leaves whenever I visit this close friend who definitely has a green thumb and most importantly has a good heart to share these precious little leaves with me ;-). She takes so much care with the plant even nurturing it through the harsh winters.

Here is a dish that is very common in south Kerala, it can be made with a variety of vegetables like okra, eggplant, pearl onion, Indian yam or shrimp. It can be made without curry leaves and will still taste good, but curry leaves will transform the whole dish and your kitchen, and your heart will thank you!!

  • Okra - 25-30 (small)
  • Red pearl onion -sliced -1/2 cup (can be substituted with red onion)
  • Curry leaves - few leaves 
  • Fenugreek seeds -1/2 tsp
  • Coconut oil - 2 Tbs
  • Turmeric powder  - 1/2 tsp

  • Tamarind -1 Tbs (skin and seeds removed)
  • Warm water - 1/2 cup 

  • Coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Coriander seeds - 2 Tbs
  • Red chilly - 3-4
  • Curry leaves - few leaves
  • Red pearl onion - 2 Tbs sliced (can be substituted with red onion)
  • Soak the tamarind in warm water for about 30 minutes. 
  • Wash the okra, trim edges and slice them lengthwise thru the middle - spread them on a clean kitchen towel to dry them.
  • Add coriander seeds, red chilly, onion slices and curry leaves to a pan and dry roast till raw onion is slightly red and nice aroma comes from roasted coriander seeds. Add coconut and continue till coconut is slightly red as well. Grind the this along with 1 1/2 - 2 cups of water. 
  • Mash the tamarind well into the soaking water and squeeze out the juice. Strain the tamarind juice thru a strainer or just pass thru your fingers.
  • Heat coconut oil on medium heat and add fenugreek seeds. Once they are slightly red, add okra, onion and curry leaves and saute till onion is slightly red and nice aroma comes out of curry leaves, for about 8-10 minutes. Okra should be 3/4th done by now. 
  • Add the ground coconut mixture, and tamarind juice. Simmer over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or till okra is cooked just enough.
  • Serve warm with rice, preferably cooked parboiled red rice.  
  • Enjoy!! 

    Allergy Free Wednesday@TessaDomesticDiva


  1. Vendakka theeyal looks delicious. Yes plucking leaves from the curry leaf plant for curry is always best thing.

    1. Thanks Swathi, and yes you can't beat fresh curry leaves, I am sure you might be able to grow a plant in your part of the country.

  2. Yes I have curry leaves plant in my backyard. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

  3. Hi Mini,
    I love okra however I have never had it prepared in this amazing way. This recipes elevates okra to a whole different level. The blend of tamarind, coriander seeds, red chilly, onion slices and curry leaves is simply amazing so thank you so much for sharing this delectable recipe for Okra Theeyal with us at the Plant-Based Potluck Party Blog Hop! We will enjoy it!

    1. Thanks Deborah, and thanks for the highlight as well :-)


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