Braised Okra and Tomatoes

Masala Bhindi Tamatar

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

660 Curries

By Raghavan Iyer

Published 2008

  • About

One day I selected all my students who weren’t familiar with okra and had them execute this recipe. Hesitant bites gave in to “I can’t eat fast enough”—proving yet again that the right recipe can change the ways of the most doubtful doubting Thomas.


  • 1 pound fresh okra, rinsed and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground
  • teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 large tomato, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems for garnishing


  1. Trim the caps off the okra, being careful not to cut into the pods. Cut the pods into 1-inch lengths.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle and turn reddish brown, 5 to 10 seconds. Then stir in the chiles and cook until they blacken slightly and smell pungent, about 5 seconds.
  3. Immediately add the okra and stir-fry until the pieces blister in spots and acquire a light brown coloration on their ridged skin, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Stir in the coriander, salt, cayenne, and turmeric, and continue to stir-fry to cook the spices, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the tomato and ½ cup water, stirring once or twice. Once the sauce starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the okra is fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve.