Okra Pachadi


Okra Pachadi

Most of the recipes on this blog are my own, but sometimes I want to share others I’ve stumbled across, or those that people have sent to me. This pachadi recipe comes from Sharmila, a local food blogger who does Very Good Things with yoghurt and okra.

In my limited experience, a pachadi appears to be a base of yoghurt and vegetables, topped with a mixture of tempered spices; like pouring a tarka over a dahl. It’s clearly South Indian, as mustard seeds and curry leaves feature heavily in many recipes. My first chapadi experience came via Flickr when one of my contacts posted a recipe so unusual to my eyes that I had to have it. Mustard seeds, dried chilli and curry leaves are fried briefly in coconut oil until the seeds pop then mixed with yoghurt and cucumber. It’s hard to resist bombing a hot chapatti into the still-sizzling spiced oil. The flavours will have you on the edge of your seat.



Sharmila’s version is made using okra slices, fried until crisp; a beautiful contrast against the chilled yoghurt. It takes minutes to make and I can particularly recommend it as part of a  ‘curry day’ extravaganza; nargisi kofta curry, chicken tikka and this excellent spinach and paneer dish from Das Sreedharan’s hugely under-rated book, ‘Indian’*. Yes, I know I go on about that book all the time.

Okra Pachadi

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
10 or so curry leaves
2-3 green chillies, chopped into a few pieces
Chilli powder
Lemon juice
Coriander leaves
Two large handfuls of okra, chopped up into smallish (2cm pieces)
Natural yoghurt
Salt to taste
Groundnut oil

Fry the okra in a few tablespoons of groundnut oil until nice and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

Combine the okra with the yoghurt (about 200g) and a bit of chilli powder (but not too much – this isn’t a spicy dish). Fry the mustard seeds in a small pan in a tablespoon or so of oil. When they start to pop, add the green chilli and curry leaves. When they are nicely sizzling, pour over the yoghurt mixture. Stir to combine, add salt and lemon juice to taste and then add the coriander leaves.

* The edition of Das’ book that I have doesn’t seem to be available any more but this looks very similar and I imagine will have a lot of the same recipes. It’s one of those books you actually cook from rather than just flick through.

Thanks again to Sharmila for the chapadi recipe.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Rachel November 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Yum! I love okra (not many people do for some reason), but my experience of it has always been in West Indian dishes. I’ll definitely be trying this soon.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie November 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    DROOL. I love okra.

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    Reply Joshua November 5, 2010 at 11:34 am

    It’s all about the southern Indian food at the minute, although as yoghurt is one of the few things I’m not too fond of this one isn’t for me. I’m going to give dosai a go this weekend though.

    I do love a bit of Das Sreedharan although in the book of his I have (Easy Indian) some of the liquid quantities are well off. I made a dal and some pakora from it recently and both needed way less than half the water he stated.

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    Reply Helen November 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    That’s such a shame to hear that about his book Josh. The one I have always seems to be spot on. Don’t do this to us Das!

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    Reply Maunika November 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Love pachadi of all sorts. Helen I could get totally addicted to your curry posts. Please make ‘curry day’ extravaganza a monthly affair:)

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    Reply KSalty November 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Stunning – the opening pic alone might’ve caused me to do a u-turn on the ol’ ladies’ fingers. Wait, that sounds really wrong…

  • Avatar
    Reply Dani November 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Have you seen this book… drool worthy design and contents, mmm.

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    Reply shayma November 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    gorgeous-love the tarka on top. x shayma

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    Reply Sharmila November 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Glad you liked it Helen! Definitely a favourite childhood dish, especially with rice and spinach and coconut on the side.

    I have the other Das book, Easy Indian and it does seem many recipes are same. Also managed to pick it up for £2 in Sainsburys which was an added bonus.

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