Okra curry

Okra curry

Sri Lankan Flavours
Craig Wood

This was one of my mum’s favourite dishes and has consequently become one of mine – she loved the fresh flavours in okra and snake bean curries and said okra was good for your brain cells. She always cooked vegetable curries quickly, leaving a crunch in the vegetables.

To most of her curries she also added Maldive fish – dried tuna flakes – for extra flavour. This is optional, and obviously not appropriate for vegetarians.


Quantity Ingredient
500g okra, trimmed and cut into 4 cm pieces
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons oil
10 curry leaves
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried red chilli flakes
10 cm piece rampe, (optional)
1 green chilli
1 teaspoon ground chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped or canned
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon maldive fish flakes, (optional)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice


  1. Wash okra and place in a bowl. Toss with turmeric and salt and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, onion, dried chilli and rampe. Sauté for about 3 minutes but don’t let the mustard seeds burn.
  3. Add okra to the pan, then add green chilli, ground chilli powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric and tomato. Cook until lightly brown, tossing all the time so the dry ingredients don’t burn. Add salt to taste and Maldive fish flakes for extra flavour.
  4. Add coconut milk, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until okra is cooked – about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon or lime juice and stir through.
  5. Don’t overcook this dish: the okra should still have a light crunch – vegetable curries are always best slightly undercooked.
Sri Lankan Flavours
South East Asian
Southeast Asian
Sri Lankan
South-East Asian
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