Sri Lankan Okrah curry, a way to make okrah edible. And when I say edible, I mean it. I have been around the Middle East for quite some time and had a ‘pleasure’ of indulging in the local slimey okrah stews. Many friends tried to convince me that it wasn’t so bad. I still disagree. I always knew that there were ways out there to make okrah tasty and that there were chefs who managed to get rid of the part I hate the most. I really enjoy Iraqi-Kurdish tomato okrah stew. My favorite variation though is Sri Lankan okrah curry cooked with coconut milk, garlic, curry leaves, turmeric, cinnamon and many more. It’s like a dream come true.
If you struggle with finding pandam leaves, leave them out. As for the curry leaves, you should be able to find them in Asian shops. In Amman, you can easily buy them in Asia market, just off the second circle (on Al-Buhtori street)!
2 inches fresh pandan leaves or 1 tsp dried (leave out if you don't have it)
1 tsp ground cinammon
10 curry leaves (fresh or dry)
1 tbsp of coconut milk for frying (you can also use 4 tsp of oil)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Sri Lankan dry mix* (see above)
1/2 tsp Sri Lankan curry mix* (See above)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 kg okrah
200 ml coconut milk
Grind curry paste ingredients using mortar and pestle until smooth.
Pre-heat a tbsp of coconut milk or oil in a thick-bottom skillet. If you're using coconut milk, wait until you can see small bubbles and then add the ready paste. If using oil, make sure not to overheat the oil, as it will burn the garlic.
Stir the paste while frying. Once it becomes fragrant add okrah and the remaining coconut milk (200 ml). Keep the heat high.
Add the spice mix and stir until okrah is tender, for about 10 minutes.