Vendakkai Kara Kulambu Recipe | Lady’s Finger Curry for Rice | TIPS on how to cook lady’s finger without stickiness | Simple Lunch Recipe
Vendakkai Kara Kulambu/Kuzhambu is a simple & delicious curry prepared in South Indian Household using Bhindi/Okra.
Today, I will show you how to:
1. identify the fresh lady’s finger (okra),
2. remove the stickiness (slime) texture from okra (vendakkai)
3. tips for maintaining the okra and,
4. the actual recipe – Okra Spicy Curry South Indian Style
Because of vendakkai’s nutritional value, this Kara Kulambu is a very common curry prepared for lunch along with steaming hot white rice.
Also, if you’re bored with the usual curry for rice like dal or poondu kulambu or sambar varieties etc, try this recipe and you will love it!
Other Names referring Okra/Lady’s Finger are:
- Vendakkai in Tamil,
- Bhindi in Hindi,
- Bendakaya/Vepudu in Telugu,
- Bendekai in Kannada,
- Vendakka in Malayalam.
What is Vendakkai Kara Kulambu (Okra Gravy)?
Vendakkai = Okra,
Kara = Spicy,
Kulambu = Gravy.
To make this recipe you will need Lady’s finger/okra/bhindi, mustard, cumin, fenugreek, onion, tomato, salt, kulambu podi (homemade masala powder), water and oil. Scroll down for the detailed procedure of the recipe.
New to Indian Cooking?
If you are a beginner or someone who is not sure on how to get started in Indian Cooking, please click on the below links for STEP By STEP GUIDE.
1. Essential Indian Cooking Tools – A Complete Guide for setting up basic Indian Equipment for cooking.
2. Essential Indian Spices – A Comprehensive Guide explaining the basics of Indian Spices which are Important for cooking Indian Foods.
3. How to Cook Rice Perfectly – Learn to Cook Indian Rice using 2 methods – Pot and Pressure Cooker
4. 6 Essential Indian Flours – Essential Guide to learn about most commonly used Indian Flours.
Another variation to this recipe – This curry can be prepared using tamarind juice as well. Also, it can be prepared with or without coconut (paste).
The curry served in hotels usually add in coconut paste to get a thicker consistency and quantity. But, it’s completely your choice to decide on the recipe.
This vendakkai kulambu has been my recent favorites, due to it’s simple and hassle-free procedure.
Adding Shallots (small onions/chinna vengayam) instead of onions is another healthy and taste enhancing option.
You may also add whole red chillies and curry leaves for some extra flavour.
Benefits of Lady’s Finger/Okra
- Very low-calorie vegetable.
- Rich in Vitamins A, B-6, C and K.
- Rich in Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese.
- Contains high amounts of anti-oxidants.
- Has blood clotting enzymes.
- Improves immune system.
- Strengthens bones.
- Good source of Folates.
How to choose/buy lady’s finger?
- It should NOT be shrunken or wrinkled.
- Snap the slender tip of lady’s finger – Easily Snaps/Breaks – Good to Buy; else, Don’t Buy.
- Look for bright coloured lady’s finger.
- Do NOT buy if it is dull, soft, blemished or bruised.
- Avoid buying frozen okra, as they could be sticky or slimy.
How do you store uncooked okra/lady’s finger?
- Buy fresh okra, wrap in a tissue or paper and store directly in refrigerators’ vegetable section.
- Do NOT wash and store – turns sticky or slimy.
- You can chop vendakkai/okra and store in a container to cook later.
- Do NOT store uncut okra for more than 2-3 days.
- Cut/chopped okra can be stored in a container for not more than 1 day.
Should Okra be washed before cooking?
Don’t forget to wash okra before cooking.
It will contain dirt, chemicals and germs – so washing it before chopping okra is important.
Do NOT wash just before cooking. Make sure to wash it 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking and let it dry completely on a towel or pat it dry with a tissue.
How to get rid of the slimy texture while cooking lady’s finger?
This is the first step to prepare any Okra/ Vendakkai/ Lady’s Finger/ Bhindi Recipe.
- Wash the okra/lady’s finger under the tap. Do NOT soak in water.
- Dry it completely on a towel under the fan or pat it dry with a tissue.
- Cut the lady’s finger into the desired size.
- If the lady’s finger/okra is hard or makes a creeky sound while cutting, then please don’t use it. If you continue to use it, then it will not get cooked and leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry the okra on high flame.
- Stir it occasionally – to avoid slimy texture.
- The slimy texture appears first and then slowly disappears as the okra gets fried.
- Once the slimy texture disappears, turn off the flame.
- Transfer to another plate or bowl.
Follow the above-mentioned steps to get rid of the slimy texture while cooking okra/ vendakkai/ lady’s finger/ bhindi recipes.
Video Recipe: Vendakkai Kara Kulambu
Step-by-step procedure to prepare Vendakkai Kara Kulambu
1. Firstly, wash, dry, chop and fry the okra or vendakkai before using it in the recipe. A detailed procedure of the first step is mentioned above under the heading “How to get rid of the slimy texture while cooking lady’s finger?”. Keep aside the fried okra for later use in the recipe.
2. Heat oil in a pan, preferably gingelly oil or groundnut oil. If you don’t have any of these, then go with refined sunflower oil. Add the spices such as mustard, cumin and fenugreek. Allow it to crackle.
3. Next, drop in some garlic cloves for that extra flavour in every kara kulambu or puli kulambu that you prepare. Saute for a few seconds. Add in the finely chopped onions and saute until it turns a golden colour.
4. Cook in medium to high flame. Make sure not to burn the onions. Add in the chopped tomatoes and required salt. Saute it and cook until tomatoes turn soft. Gently mash the tomatoes with the back of the spoon.
5. Add in the fried or sauteed okra or vendakkai. Mix well. Add in Homemade Kulambu Podi or curry powder and mix it well. In case you do not have kulambu podi handy, you can use 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp of chilly powder and 3 tsp of coriander powder instead.
6. Pour in water and combine well. Allow it to boil. Cook for 4-5 minutes on high flame.
7. You will notice the oil separating on the sides. Indicates the perfectly cooked masalas. Stir it well. you will see that a small gap is created as you scrap through the middle of the pan. Cooked to a perfect consistency. Turn off flame and transfer to a bowl.
8. Serve it with piping hot rice and some papad or appalams for a small and simple lunch meal.
- 2 tsp Gingelly Oil - for sauteing okra
- 200g Okra/Lady's Finger - cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp Gingelly Oil - for curry
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 4-5 Garlic cloves
- 1 Onion - finely chopped
- 1 Tomato - finely chopped
- 1.25 tsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Kulambu Podi - Homemade
- 300ml Water
- Heat Oil in a pan.
- Add the chopped lady's finger or okra or vendakkai or bhindi.
- Fry until the sticky texture disappears. [HIGH FLAME]
- Once it disappears, turn off the flame and transfer it to a bowl or plate.
- In another pan, add oil and heat it.
- Add the mustard, fenugreek and cumin and allow it to crackle.
- Next, add the garlic and onions and saute until onions turn golden.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Saute until tomatoes are soft and mushy.
- Add the fried or sauteed lady's finger into the pan and combine well.
- Next, add the kulambu podi and combine well.
- Pour in water and give it a good mix.
- Bring it to a boil.
- Cook on high for 4-5 mins.
- Oil separates on the sides.
- Continue cooking if desired consistency is not reached.
- Cooked well. Turn off flame.
- Serve with piping hot white rice with papad.
Variations to this recipe
- You can add the extracted juice of tamarind soaked in water (size of a small amla/gooseberry).
- You can add 2-3 tsp of coconut paste.
- Do NOT add any other vegetables along with lady’s finger for any recipe (due to its sticky nature).
Alternate vegetables that can be used to prepare kara kulambu instead of lady’s finger
- Dried Turkey Berry or Sunda vathal
- Black/Brown Chickpeas or Sundal or black channa
For more such interesting video recipes, check out my Three Whistles Kitchen YouTube Channel.
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