We had some delicious food in Tamil Nadu and I fell in love with okra all over again. This is not quite how we had it, but we did eat poriyal a couple of times and this is easy because there’s no onion or garlic. I served it with my other discovery, Chettinad chicken. Poriyal btw is a simple dry stir fry of any kind of vegetable, based on the S Indian ‘tempering’ method of cooking, where you fry the mustard seeds, urud dal and curry leaves before adding the main ingredients. We had a delicious mixed vegetable one with asparagus, beans and fresh peas.
250 g okra
2 tbsp coconut oil or any oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp urud dal/split and husked black gram (optional, but available any indian shop)
8 to 10 curry leaves
1 to 2 green chilies, chopped or 1 to 2 dry red chilies, broken and deseeded
a pinch of asafoetida
⅛ tsp turmeric powder or 1/4 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
salt as required
Rinse and wipe dry all the okra with a clean kitchen towel. Then slice the okra into thin rounds of 0.25 to 0.5 inches. Set aside.
In a shallow frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Lower the flame and add ½ tsp mustard seeds & ½ tsp urad dal.
Fry till the mustard seeds crackle and the urad dal turns golden.
Then add the curry leaves, chopped green chilies or 1 to 2 dry red chilies (broken & deseeded) a pinch of asafoetida and turmeric. Stir.
Add all of the sliced okra. Stir well.
Season with salt. Stir well again and fry the poriyal on a low flame without covering the pan with a lid. This takes about 12 to 14 minutes on a low flame. Keep on stirring at intervals of 3 to 4 minutes for uniform cooking. Do not cover the pan.
Lastly sprinkle 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves. At this stage you can also add 2 to 3 tbsp of grated fresh coconut if you want.
Stir and then serve poriyal as a side dish.