Crisp Okra in Yogurt Sauce (Kichadi)

Makes6 servings (as part of a large meal)
  • Active time: 30 min
    Total time: 45 min
This coconut curry adds a tangy note to a South Indian menu. This recipe is part of our menu for Sadhya, a South Indian feast.
Published in Gourmet Live 01.18.12


  • 7 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound okra, trimmed and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 cup grated dried unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small fresh green chile, such as serrano, Thai, or jalapeño, stemmed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup water
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (not Greek-style)
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  • Heat 6 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry okra, stirring occasionally, until well browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Purée coconut, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and chile in a blender or food processor with enough water (1/2 cup to 1 cup) to form a fine paste.
  • Bring coconut paste and yogurt to a bare simmer in cleaned skillet, stirring, then remove from heat.
  • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook remaining 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds and red pepper flakes until mustard seeds begin to pop and/or turn gray. Add curry leaves (if using), covering skillet immediately as the leaves crackle for a few seconds. Stir spice mixture into coconut mixture in skillet, then stir in fried okra, then lemon juice. Season with salt.


  • Indian ingredients can be mail-ordered from
  • Okra can be fried up to 3 hours ahead and kept on paper towels, uncovered, at room temperature.
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