Tender, young okra are roasted and then combined with a spicy Indian masala for an excellent vegan side dish.
Next to vine-ripened tomatoes, the vegetable I look most forward to in the summer is okra, small, tender okra pods that are impossible to get during the winter. Frozen okra is fine for gumbos and stews, but only fresh okra will do for my favorite way to prepare it, roasted. It’s as simple as putting it in a hot oven and letting it cook, but the flavor and texture belies the easiness of the preparation. Even people who don’t usually like okra will eat it like French fries when it’s roasted and seasoned.
So the other day, I was fixing Dal Tadka for dinner and needed a side dish. I’d just bought some okra that I’d planned on roasting, and I briefly considered using it to make my old Bhindi Masala recipe.
But these okra were young and tender, perfect for roasting, and I couldn’t bring myself to cut them up. So I sort of combined the recipes. I roasted the okra while I prepared the masala, or onion-spice mixture, and then added the okra once it was done. The results were sublime: the smokiness of roasted okra with the flavor of onion, ginger, cumin, and pepper.
Roasted Okra Masala
- 1 pound small tender okra
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 pinch baking soda optional
- 1 teaspoon ginger root minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 teaspoon Maldon or kosher salt optional
Preheat oven to 450. Trim the stems of the okra if they’re longer than a quarter inch. Place okra on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Okra should be beginning to brown in places but not burned.
When the okra is almost finished cooking, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and a pinch of baking soda, if you want to speed up the cooking. Cook until onion begins to soften and then add the ginger root, garlic, and cumin and cook for another minute. Add turmeric and garam masala and cook for another minute, adding a tablespoon of water if the spices start to stick. Add the roasted okra and salt, if you use it, stir well, and cook for another minute or two.
More Okra Recipes
- The original Roasted Okra recipe–don’t miss it!
- Okra and Lima Bean Masala
- Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
- Pickled Okra from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan
- Cajun Spiced Okra at My Vegan Cookbook
- 30 Minute Curried Okra, Tomatoes and Chickpeas by Melomeals