Friday, November 2, 2007

Vendaikkai Puli Kuzhambu (Okra in tamarind sauce)

November 3rd 2007, National Day of Climate Action - Visit Step it Up 2007 for more information and events planned in your area.

Growing Greens
I am absolutely glad I planted Swiss Chard, every week they have provided us with their bounty, just a few pots with about 10 plants. A quick green addition to any dal. So if you want greens make sure you plant a few come spring :)

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Lady's Finger aka Okra
I would consider Okra to be a perfect vegetable! Why and what exactly is a perfect Vegetable? Well in my humble opinion a vegetable that can be cooked in several different forms and tastes absolutely delicious without loosing its form. Well now we are cooking. Be it in a stir fry, sambhar, Puli Kuzhambu, Kaara Kuzhambu it still maitains its crunchiness and taste. When it is fresh it can even be eaten raw like a carrot.

The older the vegetable the slimier it gets. The slime is directly proportional to the number of days it sat in the fridge. Slime is perhaps the only thing that I don't like about the vegetable. We can't have it all can we?

Of all the different vegetables that taste good in a Puli Kuzhambu okra has to be my absolute favorite. Few precautions can help keep the slime at bay. If the okras are not fresh, wash them ahead of time and dry them in the sun a little bit. Trying to cut while still wet makes them slimier so make sure they are dry.

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1. 20 Okra ends removed and cut into about 1/2" pieces
2. 3 Green chilies slit
3. 1 -2 Red chilies slit
4. 1/2 medium red onion chopped
5. 1 -2 garlic cloves whole (optional)
6. 1 tsp sambhar powder (optional)
7. 1 tsp turmeric powder.
8. Seasonings - cumin, urad dal, methi seeds, curry leaves a few of each
9. 1 1/2 of tamarind pulp from a small lemon size ball.

1. In a wide mouthed pad heat a tsp of oil and fry the okra, saute till they turn black and brown and the slime is gone. Set aside
2. Add 2 tsp of oil to the same pan, add the seasonings, add ural dal first when slightly brown follow with the other seasonings.
3. Add the green chilies and red chilies and then the onions and saute till translucent
4. Add the garlic cloves and the okra pieces
5. Add the turmeric powder and sambhar powder, mix
6. Add the tamarind pulp, cover and cook till the okra is the required texture (about 8-10 minutes)
7. Add salt cook for a minute more and turn of the heat

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Serve with some keerai paruppu (dal with greens) and rice.


  1. Love the okra dish. I didn't know that the okra get slimier if u keep them longer in the fridge. Thankx ffor the info

  2. I am buying okra tomorrow :). Okra in tamarind sauce-my mouth is watering as i type this, dear! and the home grown Swiss-chard is looking really tempting!

  3. Really...the older the slimier? I guess I've always used only the old ones. Will try to cook it soon the next time. Puli kuzhambu looks yummy. Oru urandai saapidanum pola irukku.

  4. Okra is a perfect vegetable. I dint even realise it is slimy until I came here.

  5. I love okra. I love your magic sambhar powder (and yes, I am nearly out and will try to make that myself)! Keep your fingers crossed for me :) Great post and great recipe!

  6. Oh gosh girl, you know how much I love okra and you are torturing me with this dish. :)

  7. Your hom grown veggies are a delight. Was down by your are over the weekend. Didn't realize it would be so cold...brrrrr

  8. i like anything with okra...i do cook in ur way but a bit diff like i add tomatoes to it.urs look mouth watering..nice dish

  9. okra in tamrind yummmmmmm already i can taste it from your pic

  10. Happy Cook, yes that how it works from what seen, you are welcome, buy it cook it is how it should be.

    musy, yes it is the best combo ever. Do Tell how it turned out in your kitchen. If you have a pot and a sunny spot you should try growing them.

    Kribha, yes! here most often we get old ones atleast a week old (they are travelling from Mexico remember) but if you have a farmer's market close by try there and you will see the difference.

    Suganya, definitely. True, come to think of it never saw the slime.

    Linda, yes this dish does not require sambhar powder but I add it for the aroma. Sure will do, tell me how you fared :)

    Cynthia, good torture right? Do give it a try.

    Sandeepa, the frost killed most of the plants but Swiss Chard survived. I was wondering why it turned cold all of a sudden, you brought it with you from up North right?

    Shanti Bhanu, yes adding tomatoes might be good I do with brinjal but not okra.

    Sagari give it a try and thanks for stopping by.

  11. Hi Indo, How have you been? That Vendaikai Puli kuzhambu is making me miss back-home even more.


  12. Kay, great to have you back. How was the trip? Did you have fun and how about little M. I know you would love this.

    But home veggies are special :)

  13. ISG, I have been using Swiss Chard from farmers'market and have been using it in dal. Okra looks great! Happy Diwali to you and your family :)

  14. Indo, we had loads of fun.... except for M who had li'l trouble adjusting with the 'bacteria' out there. She's on antibiotics now.. but other than that, she had an awesome trip and almost said 'byyyyye' to me from the comfort of her grandpa's arms. Felt so bad to take her away from all that love.

    Happy diwali! :) Made anything special for Diwali? We are celebrating a make-do diwali with store bought stuff that we lugged back.

  15. I never ate much okra as a kid but I'm trying to incorporate it into my diet for more calcium.

  16. This sounds as an interesting dish. I will give it a try for sure.

  17. Hi ISG,
    Pakkave romba nalla irukku...


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