Roast | Varuval is a most popular side dish amongst the South Indians. For those not familiar with the term, it is nothing but veggies shallow fried in oil until it becomes crisp. At home we make roasts with 5 kinds of veggies viz., Vazhakai (raw banana), Urulaikizhangu (Potato), Sepankizhangu (Arbi), Vendakai (Okra) and Dondakkai (tindora) and all are our favourites. Amongst these veggies, okra is a bit tricky. All of us know that Okra is known for its gooey and slimy nature. There are more haters than lovers. As per this "The Kitchn" article, this veggie is more popular among Asians, especially Indians, southern USA, Mediterranean and Japan. It has some tips on how to reduce the slime.
To prevent the sliminess, there should not be any water or moisture while cooking. So there are two things to do. Do not cover the pan while cooking and do not sprinkle water so that it does not steam cook. You can cover it for few minutes, in the beginning, to aid in the cooking but do not keep it fully covered. Without the lid, I do not have to worry about it. The second thing is we add salt at the end since salt alt as you know brings out the moisture content from the veggies. Also, you have to keep stirring it so that it gets cooked evenly.
I have also seen people marinating the chopped veggies in curd before frying it. Or add curd while cooking to prevent it from getting slimy. I have also seen my cousin making the amazing roast with the lid on throughout, but I have never tried. I am used to seeing my mom and aunts cook this way and I am very comfortable with that as it gives me the result every time. So this is how I do.
- Wash the okra and pat dry them completely with a towel. Then chop them. When you are just starting, do not chop them very thin. It can easily break when you are constantly stirring them.
- Then add the okra in hot oil. You will need an extra amount of oil than you normally would while sautéing other veggies. After giving it a few stir, reduce the flame and keep it in medium-low heat. Toss it every now and then to ensure even cooking. As you keep stirring you can see that the sliminess reduces and eventually it becomes dry.
- At this point, add the salt and chilli powder. If needed you can add few drops of oil. Also, you can add a little of rice flour to get the extra crispiness.
- Keep it on the flame until it the veggies are roasted as much as you need.
- 6 Cups chopped Vendakkai | Okra
- 4 tablespoon Oil
- ¼ teaspoon Mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon Ulutham Parupu | Urad dahl
- 2 tablespoon Verkadalai | peanuts optional
- Few Curry leaves
- 2 Red chillies
- A pinch of Turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon Red chilli powder
- Salt as needed
- Heat oil in a kadai. Once hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the curry leaves, red chillies and urad dahl.
- Once the dahl turns golden brown, add a pinch of turmeric. Then immediately add the chopped vendakai.
- Cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes so that it softens a little bit. Remove the lid , reduce the flame to medium-low and cook uncovered. Keep stirring it in few minutes intervals.
- Once the sliminess reduces completely, add salt and chilli powder.
- At this stage, add oil and / or rice flour to get extra crispiness.
- Keep cooking until it reches the desired level of roast you need.
Generally if we are making any veggies, it is usual to sprinkle some water to cook them. But for lady's finger you should not. If you want to get a crispy vendakkai roast there are two things to follow. First do not add water and then add salt only at the end. Please refer above for preventing slime. Also the okra will reduce in quantity when you fry it. So keep that in mind while preparation.
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i tried your okra recipe it was delicious but can you give me a suggestion how to fry it without burning the bottom of the pan.i continuously stirred it in every 3 min but it still bottom of pan got burned so please any advice me?
Hi Chinnu, thank you and am glad you liked the dish. To keep it from not getting burned, you can try out a couple of things - keep the gas flame on minimum and use a heavy bottomed pan - a thick kadai. Let me know if this helps.
Chef Mireille says
okra is one of my fave veggies - slimy or not - this would be delicious for sure
Sandhya Ramakrishnan says
I like the addition of peanuts to the okra roast. My kids love okra and this is the only way they like to eat it 🙂
Pavani N says
LOVE okra fry and your clicks are tempting me to find some fresh okra and make this curry 🙂
Smruti Shah says
Adding peanuts to okra gives them a really good texture. That is how I make it too. Your props look super!!
Amara Annapaneni says
I make okra this way too, love it:)
Harini-Jaya R says
I make this the same way and we love it.
Srividhya Gopalakrishnan says
Your roast by iteself looks crunchy and adding peanuts adds more crunhiness. wonderful.
Gayathri Kumar says
This is my daughter's fav roast and I do it often. Addition of peanuts should give it a nice flavour. Will try it next time..
Nisha, those okra are so beautifully presented..so lovely..
vaishali sabnani says
Good tips Nisha ! I am a great fan of these and always try to find new recipes for Okra , excellent one .
Suma Gandlur says
Yummy roast. We too love all those roasts you mentioned but however I have shifted to baking, especially the okra.
Okra fry is one of the favorites in my house. Your okra fry is tempting. I never add rice flour, that must really give a nice crunchiness to okra.
Looks delicious, I love roasted and fried veg! ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com
Sapana Behl says
Okra fry with peanuts looks too delicious .Lovely.
Priya Suresh says
I can finish that plate of okra fry just like that, simply irresistible and love the addition of peanuts here.