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Masala Stuffed Okra – South Indian Style

Masala Stuffed Okra is really perfect with rice and Sambhar, Mor kuzhambhu or Rasam. The interior stuffed with masala powder holds up well the flavors and the outside is pan-fried with more masala powder and chickpeas flour. As for the prep work tip, it’s a bit cumbersome but well worth the time spent.

If you have leftover masala powder, save it for later. It keeps in the fridge for at least a month, probably more.



Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

Ingredients you will need:

To roast and grind:
4-6 red chilies (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp Bengal gram
1 tbsp Split Black gram
1 tsp cumin seed
1″ Cinnamon stick
4 Peppercorns
5 – 6 Curry Leaves
1 Tbsp Desiccated coconut
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp of Salt

½ lb fresh, small and tender Okra (about 20)
3 tablespoons oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/8 tsp Asafoetida
Curry Leaves (few)
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1/1.5 tsp chickpeas flour

The above ingredients for masala powder when roasted and ground will yield little more than required for this recipe but retains fresh aroma when refrigerated in air tight container.


Dry Roasting the Masala: In a small skillet, on medium heat, dry roast all the ingredients except the desiccated coconut, turmeric and salt. Fry on low heat till the spices turn color and get fragrant. Remove the pan off heat, add the desiccated coconut and let it get roasted in the pan’s heat. Keep stirring to avoid the coconut from getting brunt. Add turmeric and Salt, mix and once completely cooled grind the spices coarsely. (I generally pick the cinnamon stick and chillies and grind them first).

Wash and lay the okra in a single layer and let them dry or use a kitchen towel and wipe dry. Cut the tops off. Using a sharp knife, make an incision in the side of okra. Do not cut all the way through the orka, it has to be one whole piece. Also if  cut too deep, there are chances that the okra will be split in halves while cooking.

Place okra on a plate, gently try open the okra at the slit and stuff a little masala into the slit and pack it down. Repeat for all okra pieces.

In a large, shallow skillet (preferably non stick), heat the oil on medium heat. Add Mustard Seeds, Asafoetia and curry leaves.

Immediately start adding the stuffed okra, one at a time, in a single layer. Sprinkle salt all over. Cook on medium heat till the bottom sides of the okra are light brown. Flip them gently till the other side too is cooked and okra is tender. Do not cover and cook. Sprinkle some more freshly ground masala powder and chickpea flour, the flour will absorb excess oil as well give a great coating and taste. Serve hot with rice and dhal, Morekuzhambhu or rasam.

Happy Cooking

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January 2018
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