Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Okra Curry (BendaKaya Kura)

Bendakaya, Okra
Okra (Bendakaya in Telugu and Bendi in Hindi)

As a whole, okra looks handsome and wholesome.

Cut it open, you realise that you are dealing with one needy veggie. Like a toddler who hangs on to mother’s saree, okra clings to everything that is in sight. To the cutting board, to the knife, to the pot and it slips in your mouth too. No wonder it elicits strong reaction from people. I like okra and I don’t mind its clinginess because I know how to deal with it. I have few tricks and tips to make it less sticky. Keep in mind, I am talking about the fresh okra and not the frozen kind, which are hopeless to reform.

Cut Okra

Recipe and some tips:
(For two, for one serving)

20 to 25 fresh, whole okra – washed thoroughly, then rubbed in a clean cloth, to remove all the moisture. This small step alone reduces the clinginess by 50%. After making sure they are clean and dry, slice each one, crosswise into half centimeter thick pieces. By now you may notice, touch of knife brings out the thick, viscous substance in okra. So in between cutting, periodically, wipe the cutting board and knife with a paper towel to remove the sticky stuff that’s accumulated.

1 medium sized onion – finely chopped
6 green chillies and 1 tbs of coconut – made into smooth paste
Turmeric and salt to your taste
And the usual ingredients of popu or tadka


In a wide pan or in a well-seasoned iron skillet, heat one teaspoon of peanut oil. Do the popu or tadka (toasting 1 tsp of each, mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and chopped garlic).

Add and saute onions till soft and brown. Then add the cut okra slices. Sprinkle in turmeric, salt, and fine paste of greenchilli-coconut. Mix them all once, allow them to cook for 5 minutes, covered on medium heat.

After 5 minutes, remove the cover and stir them once. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let them saute or cook openly. This is the time to show restraint. Do not stir and mix at all, at this stage. The more you stir and the more okra breaksdown and oozes clingy stuff. So don’t stir. Let it cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. As a result, round okra slices will be intact in shape and tender, lightly browned in the bottom and crunchy – perfection. Serve hot.

Tastes good with rice-dal combination and also with chapatis/rotis.

Okra Curry with Rice
Okra curry and rice ~ Our Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Benda Kaaya(Okra),Indian Vegetables (Friday January 6, 2006 at 11:25 am- permalink)
Comments (31)

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31 comments for Okra Curry (BendaKaya Kura) »

  1. Indira:

    That looks good. I do have a recipe for frozen okra fry koora that is not clingy and easy to deal with. It is a little work but worth it for me as I like to have some veggies in the freezer for the days I don’t plan ahead.

    I am in the process of starting my own blog so I will post it on there, hopefully soon :).


    Comment by Sam — January 6, 2006 @ 12:02 pm

  2. Sam… Welcome to the food blogosphere. looking forward to reading and learning new tips and recipes from you. Don’t forget to send me the link of your new blog.

    Comment by Indira — January 6, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

  3. Never,let me say it agian NEVER has my okra curry come out this good 🙂 mine has always had the problem of being squishy..dont know what am missing but not in million trials have i got this beautiful looking okra curry..

    am going to try it out with ur tips this week end 🙂 yippiee thanks! and i remember my mom saying,

    “I, eat okra, improves your math knowledge” 🙂

    Indira says…
    Hey, believe it or not my mother also used to say the same thing about okra.:)
    Try it like this, I know you are going to like it. Thanks IBH.

    Comment by IBH — January 6, 2006 @ 12:28 pm

  4. Hi Indira,
    I like okra too but without the slime in sight. I make a similar dish and add some souring agent to reduce the ooze, such as lemon juice or kokum. Your end result looks great! I have just started my own food blog after being inspired by your’s and Nupur’s sites. Do visit and let a fresher know how she is doing. Btw I tried your capsicum subji with dalia powder and it was amazing. Thanks so much!

    Indira says…
    Hello Winie, I just left a comment on your blog and yours ‘food for thought’ looks fabulous.
    Yes, I also add sometimes just one or two teaspoons of yogurt to the curry. I don’t how it works but it also reduces the stickyness of okra. I didn’t know that you can use kokum. Thanks for the tip.

    Comment by Winie — January 6, 2006 @ 12:32 pm

  5. i have never tried this way of making okra. Should defintely try this. Iam so excited abt all the food blogs. U can actually learn so many variation in indian cooking. Thanx for the recipe indira.

    indira says…
    Do try and let me know Priya.
    Yes, lot of new food blogs, it’s bit overwhelming and but I am glad to find so many fabulous sites springup. I want to comment and try out recipes from every blog and but it seems there are not enough hours for me to surf the net, so the cooking etc., 🙂

    Comment by priya,ar — January 6, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

  6. This works in my house: After seasoning in hot oil, add masalas, salt and then microwave bhindi for 10 minutes or so, uncovered. Perfection, every time.

    Indira says…
    My style is so old world, I refuse to cook anything in microwave, Terri. I use it only to reheat stuff, sometimes to cook potatoes or edimame or some dried, soaked beans like chickpeas. That’s about it.
    But your tip is very useful and fast for time constained. Thanks for sharing it with us Terri.

    Comment by terri — January 6, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

  7. Showing restraint… thats what I don’t do when cooking okra. Thanks for this detailed description of the okra cooking process. Explains why many of my attempts have gone mush.

    Indira says..
    Self restraint solves all problems, didn’t you hear? 🙂
    I cook most of the curries without gravy like this. I don’t harass the veggies with continuous stirring and mixing, in return, they gave out tasty, good looking curries. 🙂
    All kidding aside, please do try and let me know how it turns out in your kitchen. Thanks GM.

    Comment by garammasala — January 6, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

  8. I must confess I’ve never had okra.

    I don’t think you could have found it in my hometown…it’s definitely more of a Southern US veg.

    And I can’t quite bring myself to try it, despite living in Tennessee!

    Indira says..
    I tried veggie okra gumbo in Houston. Here they cook it to death and make it so unappetising unless you grew up liking it.
    Try cooking this way Stephanie. Even without onions and coconut, it tastes great. You have to give it a try atleast once.:)

    Comment by Stephanie — January 6, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

  9. Hi Indira- great picture as usual. I too add some yogurt and it does reduce stickiness. Tried lemon juice also but lemon juice can become bitter if heated too long. So I try to avoid that.

    Comment by mika — January 6, 2006 @ 4:42 pm

  10. Sounds good! it’s made with a minimum of fuss!

    Comment by Lera — January 6, 2006 @ 10:14 pm

  11. hi indira, i’m also a vendakkai fan. i love it in all forms, notwithstanding the goo. this is the same way we make it at home (in kochi, kerala). its great even without the coconut.

    but, i haven’t forgotten the first time i tried this veggie, while setting up house alone for the first time. i dutifully sliced the vendakkai and put the slices in water for a thorough wash !!!! the rest you could guess !

    my hubby, a great cook himself, sometimes steam whole okras slit slightly and serve with rice. its also great.

    Comment by renu — January 7, 2006 @ 6:23 am

  12. hi indira
    thanks for sharing the secret tips. i like okra (vendakai) very much but did not know how to overcome the stickiness issues till i read your post!

    Comment by lulu — January 7, 2006 @ 6:27 am

  13. Thanks for the recipe, Indira. I drop a tsp (no more) of curd while cooking vendakkai and that seems to work. Also, I add a roughly chopped tomato right at the very end, give it a stir on high heat and remove from the hob. The crunchy tomato works nicely with the soft vendakkai.

    Comment by ammani — January 7, 2006 @ 6:31 am

  14. Once you cut the OKRA, if you place it in front of Fan for 5 to 10 minutes, the OKRA will become dry and it will not stick.

    All the BEST.

    Comment by Sri — March 16, 2006 @ 11:54 am

  15. hi i liked the(bendekai) receipe its good i wish to try it soon as my hubby always says i cannot make good bendekai.hope not to stir it too much thats the mistake i have been making thanks a lot indira.

    Comment by roopa murthy — April 5, 2006 @ 5:34 am

  16. I add the salt at the end so that the okra would be crisp.

    Comment by Mahesh — May 10, 2006 @ 6:57 pm

  17. Hi,

    Nice recipe. First time i visited this site and tried a recipe. Came out good (even without coconut!)..thanks.

    Indira replies:
    I am glad it turned out good and thanks for letting me know.

    Comment by Chandramouly — May 16, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

  18. I’m on my way to try this out, really curious to taste it! 🙂

    Indira replies:
    Great, let me know how you like it.:)

    Comment by Sigrid — May 19, 2006 @ 9:23 am

  19. I tried this recipe yesterday and it turned out GREAT! No squishy-ness, thanks to your tips. 🙂 I followed the recipe to the point except coconut/chillies paste.

    BTW, I have a question. When you do popu/tadka, do you heat the oil and then put mustard seeds etc. or you put those mustard seeds from the beginning when oil is not hot? I did popu in my pan after the oil was hot and once I threw in mustard seeds, they were flying all over! Am I doing it wrong?


    Indira replies:
    Hi JD: Glad the recipe worked out for you and thanks for letting me know.
    About popu/tadka: My method is – Keep the flame on medium. Add oil and when it is hot, first add urad dal, garlic, curry leaves etc., when they start to brown, add mustard seeds and cumin. Wait a second and add cut onions or veggies etc. The mustard seed spluttering is muted by onions and in this way by immediately adding onions, you can avoid and prevent mustard seeds out-of-control spluttering dance. Hope this helps.

    Comment by JD — June 14, 2006 @ 11:26 am

  20. Hi Indira,
    I am from Nandyal, where my mom used to do the things same as you do. I used to ask my mom every time I get some doubt. Being experienced my mom used to say so many things at a time. I tried to follow them. Some times I will get good recipe, at other times it gets messed up. I think now the problem of messing is gone with your website. Thanks.

    Comment by Madhavi — October 8, 2006 @ 4:29 am

  21. Indira,

    This preparation is so straight fowrard and absolutely delicious.

    I knew nothing about making dishes of the Asian subcontinent, preferring rather to find a good restaurant. I wanted to do something different with my okra, and so I went to the internet. I saw your recipe and knew I could end my search.

    This evening I learned something new, and my husband is well fed, all thanks to you.

    I have a question about two of your ingredient choices, Indira. On the onion, the photo seems to show a red onion. I used a yellow one and was satisfied. Am I missing out on something?
    Second, on the chilis, I used a Jalapeno. What variety do you prefer? Thanks again!

    Hi Gina,
    Glad to hear that you tried and liked this recipe. Thanks for letting me know.
    About your questions –
    I personally prefer red onions, mainly because they taste to similiar to what we get in Nandyala, India.
    On chillies – I use Indian variety chillies, here in US, they are sold as Thai chillies.
    Hope this helps.
    – Indira

    Comment by Gina — July 15, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

  22. Hi Indira, I just bought some okra. I was looking for a recipe and i came across your beautiful photo with okra and its recipe. I am definetly going make this. Thank you.

    Comment by vijayalakshmi — July 16, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

  23. Bende kayi palya (kannada) Tasted wonderful!

    Comment by Nidhi — July 16, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

  24. Jeedipappulu kuda add chesa, adirindi. 🙂

    Comment by Ravi — August 21, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  25. Thats a good recipe.but do you know how you could get rid of the slime (not the right word though),off okra.I love okra but the slime makes me so not want to do it.
    I use frozen okra and really miss the good ones you get in India.but the slime is soo urgh!!
    Any suggestion on how to get rid of it will be appreciated.

    Comment by Anu — September 3, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

  26. Your tips are very useful. They are so important for indian cooking.
    My mom grinds coriander along with the chillies and I love that taste. I am going to try cocunut+chillies+coriander.

    Comment by Vandana — December 4, 2008 @ 1:35 am

  27. Your recipe is nice i am going to try it today ……Can any one of you post how to do breaded okra curry pls…. i love that…
    Thanks in advane…

    Comment by Banu — March 11, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  28. I tried this recipe today….it came out very good.
    Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe..

    Comment by siri — June 23, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

  29. Hey,
    At my house we love okhra. i am always collecting newer recipes for the same old veggies. i am going to try ur okhra recipe next time.
    And yes, eating the gooey or gummy version doesn’t feel right. I tried a different version and have got great results every time. Dry the okhra before cutting. During tadka, add rai, hing, onion and all masalas to the cooked onion. also add the necessary amount of salt to the cooked onions before adding the okhra. Also just 2-3 mins before u turn off the gas, add half a tomato (cut into chunks). this gives the necessary sour taste and also prevents the gummy okhra.


    Comment by Prajakta — July 15, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

  30. Hey Indira!Absolutely divine,enjoyed your Okra recipe.

    Comment by Mike — September 24, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  31. I’m sorry if someone already suggested this, but whenever I make okra, I cut it one day ahead and let it dry before cooking it. Takes some planning, but my bendakai kura always comes out crunchy!

    Comment by Sudha — May 1, 2011 @ 11:04 am

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