Ameeta’s Crunchy Grilled Okra

Ameeta’s Crunchy Grilled Okra
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

I have to apologize for this not-so-great shot which was taken on my iPhone at dusk, but this recipe is so good that I’m hoping you’re willing to overlook the bad photography. Ameeta is one of my mom’s close friends. Everyone covets invitations to her house because she is one of the best cooks around and always surprises you with her creations. She had us over last weekend for a last minute barbecue, and the spread, as usual, for incredible. She started us off with these crispy ladyfingers. I posted an Indian style okra recipe a while back, but I have never had them grilled whole. The idea wouldn’t have occurred to me, but Ameeta is a star with the unexpected. Since there is no chopping required, they take take less than five minutes to put together. The dish was wiped out within minutes of her putting it out, and I’m happy to say that I managed to snatch the last one!     ~Shivani


1 pound of okra, whole
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of olive oil


Heat barbecue or grill pan to high.

Wipe okra dry with cloth.

Mix together salt, sugar and all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add oil to okra in a large bowl and toss well to mix using hands to get the okra well oiled.

Add the spice mix to the bowl and toss well to get  the spices to adhere to the okra.

Using a vegetable grilling mesh or a cookie cooling rack (sprayed well with oil) spread the okra in a single layer onto the barbecue or directly onto the grill pan.

Using tongs turn a few times making sure okra is cooked and brown spots appear, about 10 minutes or so in total

Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions:

Try this dish with any type of grilled chicken, fish or meat. They would also be ideal with the Turkey Kebabs I wrote on a few weeks ago.

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Bhindi ki Subzi (Okra Indian Style)

Bhindi ki Subzi (Okra Indian Style)
Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish and 2 as a main course
Can Be Doubled| Can Be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers

Okra is one of the most overlooked vegetables. That’s too bad since this green produce is loaded with health benefits: its high fiber content helps stabilize blood sugar, is rich in Vitamin A and potassium, and, like most vegetables, is low in calories. A cup of raw okra comes in around 33 calories. It’s used in African cuisine, in Southern dishes and is also popular in Indian food. It’s available in the frozen vegetable aisle at many grocery stores. I admit that unless my mother or my mother-in-law in India made me okra subzi, I never ate it, but one day last week, I was walking by the vegetable and fruit stand on 59th and 2nd and noticed the vendor selling fresh okra. Once I saw it, I couldn’t stop craving it so I bought a pound and Tess and I experimented and came up with this delicious recipe. Give it a try!     ~Shivani


1 pound of okra, each piece cut into three pieces (frozen okra is usually precut)
1 tablespoon of punch pudan (a Bengali five-spice mix of mustard, nigella, fenugreek, fennel and cumin seeds. Make it yourself, buy it from any Indian store or online from Kalustyan’s).
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of canola oil
salt and pepper, to taste
one large handful of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)


Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet or pan set to medium.

Add spices and fry for one minute.

Add 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil.

Add okra and season with salt and pepper.

Cover pan and cook for five minutes. Turn off stove and let sit for an additional five minutes still covered.

Top with cilantro, if using.

Serving Suggestions:

Try with brown rice and lentils for a complete meal or alongside a whole-wheat pita and a simple piece of grilled tilapia with tandoori spice or salt and pepper.

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