Okra and Tomato Curry

Okra and Tomato Curry

Okra and Tomato Curry

Okra is quite popular in the American South, but still hasn’t made significant inroads elsewhere on the continent. It is, however widely enjoyed in India and features in many different dishes where it’s unique, slightly mucilaginous nature contributes to the body of a sauce or curry. If you haven’t experimented with it yet, you may very much enjoy it in this tangy, Tomato-based Curry.

Ingredient Notes

Okra, for those unfamiliar is the seed pod of a plant whose origins are disputed, but is cultivated in Africa, North America and Asia. In shape it resembles the Indian vegetable Saijan (also known as ‘Drumsticks’), although it is significantly smaller. Because of its small size and long slender shape, it is sometimes known in English as ‘Lady Fingers’. It is quite fibrous and, as noted above, the product is mucilaginous, meaning it can introduce a somewhat slimy substance into a dish. If that doesn’t sound too appealing, then you can always cook them with something acidic, like the Tomatoes in this dish, as that breaks down the mucilage.

The Recipe Card below calls for a Madras Curry Powder. There are many of these available commercially, or you may, if you prefer, try my Homemade Madras Curry Powder Recipe. Alternatively, you can choose any other sort of Curry Powder or Paste that suits your taste.

The Method

Frying Chili with Mustard Seed
Frying Chili with Mustard Seed

Heat a pan over a medium flame and pour in 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil. When the oil id hot, add the mustard seeds and, just as they start to pop, throw in the chilies. Let the chilies darken slightly, but don’t let them turn black.

Frying Onion with a Spice Blend
Frying Onion with a Spice Blend

Add the onion and ginger and when the onion gets soft and takes on a little color, stir in the curry powder and the salt.

Making a Tomato-based Curry Sauce
Making a Tomato-based Curry Sauce

Let the powder cook for a few seconds to get rid of the raw taste and then add the tomatoes. Cook for five minutes or so until the tomatoes are bubbling nicely and just beginning to break down a little.

Finishing an Okra and Tomato Curry
Finishing an Okra and Tomato Curry

Decrease the heat and add the okra. Cook for about 20 – 25 minutes or so until the okra is tender and serve immediately.

Your Recipe Card:

Okra and Tomato Curry

This Okra and Tomato Curry Recipe pairs Okra and Onion in a tangy Curry Sauce based on Tomatoes, Chili, and a traditional Madras spice blend.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Servings: 4 as part of an Indian Meal
Author: John Thompson


  • 1 ½ cups Okra cut into 1 to 2-inch sections
  • 1 540 ml can Diced Tomatoes
  • ½ small Onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Madras Curry Powder or any blend you prefer.
  • 1 tbsp. Black Mustard Seed
  • 1 tsp. minced Ginger
  • 6 small dried Chilies
  • Pinch Salt


  • Heat 2 – 3 Tablespoons of Oil in a Pan over a moderate flame and add the Mustard Seeds.
  • When the seeds begin to pop, add the Chilies and stir-fry until the darken.
  • Add the Onions and the Ginger and, when the onion is soft, stir in the Curry Powder and the Salt.
  • Cook for a few seconds longer and add the Tomatoes. Cook until all is bubbling and the Tomatoes have started to break down a little.
  • Add the Okra, decrease the heat to a low-medium, and cook until the Okra are tender.
  • Serve while hot.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!