Whole Okra with Onions

This is another popular North Indian okra recipe, provided by my wife, Jyotsna Kochhar. The okra must be fresh (not frozen), and must not be overgrown. Fresh okra is often available at Indian or Asian grocery stores. You may have to look there for the mango powder, too. The other ingredients are commonly available at any supermarket. This is best as a side dish, probably better with breads than with rice.


  • 1 (one) pound fresh Okra
  • 1 (one) medium to large onion
  • 1/2 (half) teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 (one-fourth) teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 (half) teaspoon mango powder
  • 1/2 (half) teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
  • 1 (one) clove garlic
  • 1/2 (half) inch piece fresh ginger
  • 4 (four) tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 (half) teaspoon salt (or to taste)
click to enlarge

Wash okra, let dry thoroughly, or pat dry with paper towels. Remove stems, slit lengthwise once or twice (do not cut through, each pod must remain as one piece).

Chop ginger and garlic into small pieces. Slice (do not chop) the onion and separate into long strips or rings.

On medium heat, place 2 tablespoons oil in medium size non-stick pan or frying pan. Add cumin seeds. After approx. 30 seconds add garlic and ginger. When garlic is slightly browned (less than a minute) add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes until onions are lightly browned. Stir occasionally, do not overcook.

Add turmeric, pepper and mango powder, and stir to mix well. Remove onion/spice mixture from pan and save in a small bowl or plate.

In the same pan as above, add 2 tablespoons oil and okra and salt. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Lower heat slightly, cover the pan, and let cook for about 10 more minutes. Remove lid, stir and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until moisture is gone and okra is tender. Do not overcook, the okra should remain separate and not become mushy.

Finally, add the onion/spice mixture back with the okra, stir and serve while still warm.

Serves four.

If you have any questions or comments about this recipe, please send them by e-mail to kochhar@physiology.wisc.edu

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This page last modified on : Mar. 27, 2006