Okra, South Indian Style

This recipe was given to me by a dear college friend, a Malaysian woman smarter than just about anyone I know. I think she was engineering student by day and master chef by night.

She’s the one who introduced me to cooking with things like coconut milk, peanut oil and lots of cilantro. And wok cooking.

I was fascinated by her worldiness, book smarts, and cooking skills. Then I learned about her grandmother through the stories she told while cooking, and realized what a blessing it was to have the wisdom of the kitchen passed down from one generation to the other. And how blessed I was to have someone who would share those same things with me. She said her grandmother always told her that eating okra would make her good at math. hmm… I think that worked out for her.

Needless to say, I learned a lot about cooking from her during our college years, and this recipe was something new to me. Heck, okra was new to me at the time!

Most importantly, she says this method of preparation gets rid of sliminess. Okra is pretty slimy. I’ll take any suggestions I can get to solve that problem.

Okra, South Indian Style


1 lb. tender okra, washed and pat very dry.

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon canola oil

Indian mustard seeds

cayenne pepper, ground

1 jalapeño pepper, sliced lengthwise

1 teaspoon turmeric, ground

salt, to taste

freshly squeezed lime


  1. Remove tops of the okra and slice into about ¼ inch thick slices.
  2. Heat the canola in a saucepan. When hot, put in 1 tsp. Indian mustard seeds. Mustard seeds will start popping. Add onions at this point and stir fry until soft. Add the okra, fresh cayenne or jalapeño and a couple dashes of turmeric.
  3. Stir fry on medium-high until the onons are browned, the okra is soft and a bit browned and has lost most of its sliminiess, about 10 minutes.
  4. Finish off with salt and a dash of fresh lime. Serve as a side dish.

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  1. What was the name of your Malaysian friend? I had a Malaysian friend who was a Ph.D. candidate and went back to Malaysia to open a restaurant with her husband!

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