• Bettina Applewhite

Indian Cumin Spiced Sauteed Okra

I'm a fan of okra. As a Southern girl, I grew up eating okra in gumbo, fried, and stewed with tomatoes. This cumin spiced okra is a new way to eat okra, and I quickly became a fan. This is supposed to be one of those classy dishes that you eat with a fork, ya know. I usually end of popping these little jewels into my mouth with my fingers right after they're done cooking. Then I have to be careful to stop eating them like popcorn and save some for others.



I've had some similar preparations of Indian based okra dishes but I got hooked on my last trip to India for a wedding. My Indian family invited my mom and I over for dinner and they served this okra dish. I promise I wanted to pull the platter in front of me and just eat from there. I was good. I shared... reluctantly.


A lot of Indian dishes will ask for you to toast your spices first. This recipe is not different. Toasting the spices brings a complexity to the flavors. It intensifies whatever is already there while everything is already fragrant. You know when someone is cooking Indian food because those smells permeate the air and leads you towards its luring aromas.



Indian Cumin Spiced Sauteed Okra

Serves 4 as a side dish


1 lb fresh okra, rinsed, cut into 1/2 inch rounds

4 Tbsp Ghee, divided

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

2 Serrano peppers, sliced and seeded

1 Yellow onion, diced

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 tsp Ginger paste

1/2 tsp Turmeric root powder

Salt, to taste


1. In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp ghee over medium heat. Once heated, add cumin. Warm until it becomes fragrant and the cumin seeds start to sputter.

2. Once cumin is ready, add in diced onion. Saute until onions start to brown, about 10 minutes.

3. Add in the last 2 Tbsp of ghee to the pan. Once melted, add in ginger, garlic, peppers, and turmeric.

4. Add in okra and saute for 15 minutes until okra is crispy and browned.

5. Serve with basmati rice and paratha.

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