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Vendakka Mappas (Hearty Okra Stew)

Kerala cuisine is known for its use of coconut in all forms - coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut meat. Stew is a very common dish from Kerala which has many different versions, varying from the north of the state to the south of the state, with most versions having coconut milk as the common ingredient. Mappas is a variation of the stew, mostly made with fish (Fish Mappas) and is a common cuisine in the christian belt of kerala and has its likely origin based on portuguese influence. What I am doing today is the vegetarian/vegan version. 

Vendakka mappas (Okra stew), it is an hearty stew made of okra (or ladies finger as it is known in many parts of the globe) and simmered in a mildly spiced tangy coconut-milk gravy. Addition of okra will give an interesting texture, and is a very good choice because okra is a diabetic friendly and heart healthy vegetable which everyone is trying include in their meals these days. 


  • Okra  - 30-40 (small medium)
  • Red onion  - 1  
  • Tomato - 5-6 (small Campari tomato)  
  • Green chilly -2-3 
  • Fresh ginger - 2 inches
  • Coconut oil - 3 Tbs 
  • Cinnamon - 2-3 thin strips 
  • Cardamom - 1-2
  • Cloves - 2-3 
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp 
  • Red chilly powder - 1-2 tsp  (adjust as per spice level)
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/4 tsp (optional) 
  • Sea salt - 1 tsp (plus add as per taste) 
  • Homemade coconut milk - 3 cups ** 
  • Wash and trip okra and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Cut into1 inch long pieces. 
  • Heat 1 Tbs of coconut oil in a cast iron pan and saute okra on medium heat till roasted well. Keep turning frequently taking care not to burn the okra. 
  • Meanwhile slice red onion thin, julienne ginger, slice tomatoes thin and slit green chillies.
  • Heat 1 Tbs of coconut oil in another cast iron pan and roast onion slices on medium heat till roasted well. Keep turning frequently taking care not to burn.
  • Heat remaining coconut oil in a soup pot or deep bottom sauce pan, add the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and saute for a couple of minutes. 
  • Add tomato slices, green chillies and all the spices. Cook on medium heat till tomatoes are soft and mushy. 
  • Add coconut milk, add the roasted okra and onion. Simmer over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Adjust seasoning and switch off.
  • Let is rest for at least an hour  before serving.
  • Serve warm with rice, rice pan cakes or just as is as a hearty stew/soup.
  • Enjoy!!

**Home made coconut milk recipe is here: While quicknhealthy do not recommend using canned coconut milk, if you must use it, please do your research and buy the best possible brand. Also note that if you are using store bought coconut milk, you might need to adjust consistency by diluting it. 


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