I'm sure you must be enlightened enough by now to know what Coconut Milk is. It's become the most sought after milk on a Paleo/Vegan lifestyle. Coconut milk is the milk that you extract from the hardened fleshy white bits of a Coconut. But it isn't considered 'new age' from where I come from, it's just a way of life in Kerala. It's mainly used for cooking and very rarely does anyone actually drink the 'milk' as a refreshment. Coconut water on the other hand is what anyone on a coastline will drink plenty of. Needless to say, everything about a Coconut spells 'healthy', it's soft white flesh, almost colourless water and the oil that gets extracted from it. It's only now that the beauty industry has woken up to the multiple benefits of raw coconut oil.
Mom's Okra Curry is a childhood favourite. I always considered my food choices very strange from childhood, relishing veggies like Okra and Eggplant, while most kids would just push those aside. This particular curry I believe has been adapted by Mum from her Kerala Egg Curry. Do give it a try and let me know your feedback as well.
300 grams Okra/ Ladies Finger cleaned and cut into 1" size pieces
2 medium onions sliced thick
2 slit Green chillies
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger julienned
2-3 sprigs Curry leaves
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 medium sized chopped Tomato
Salt as per your taste
1 cup Freshly squeezed Thin Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Freshly squeezed Thick Coconut Milk
1-2 tbsps Cooking oil
Combine the below ingredients into a masala paste with a few drops of water
1 heaped tsp Garlic Paste
1 heaped tsp Ginger Paste
1/4 tsp. Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tsp Pepper Powder
1 tsp Garam masala
2 tbsps Coriander Powder
Coat the okra/ ladies finger well with the masala paste and keep it aside. Heat up oil in a wok with a high flame. Splutter the mustard seeds. To this add the sliced onions, green chilies, fresh ginger and curry leaves. Bring down the heat and saute the ingredients until golden brown. Now add the masala coated Okra and fry until the raw smell goes. Add the chopped tomato, salt and cover this until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Add the thin coconut milk and let it slowly come to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Once the Okra looks tender, add the thick coconut milk and adjust salt. Turn off the heat. The curry is done, but if you prefer a milder taste, feel free to add more coconut milk.
This is a hearty curry which pairs well with plain rice, Iddi appams (string hoppers), Pal Appams (hoppers), Rotis, Laccha Paratha or even Rice Noodles. I often add some boiled potatoes into the gravy if I have a smaller quantity of Ladies fingers or cater to guests who love a variety of veggies in their dishes.
Tip- Okra doesn't freeze well, so I would never suggest this as an option. But incase you wish to use this curry base idea, feel free to sub the Okra with Mushroom and Peas combo, Potato, Peas and Carrots Combo, Cauliflower or your regular mix of frozen veggies from the supermarket to save on time.
Here's the same Okra and Potato Curry served with Iddi Appams (string hoppers).
Here's what the Vegetable curry (carrots, potatoes and green peas in this one) looks like served with Iddi Appams (string hoppers), this curry is versatile enough to be eaten for breakfast, lunch, 4pm hunger pangs or dinner.