Stewed Okra and Tomatoes


Peggy Markel saw okra (which in India is known as ladyfingers) at markets all over Rajasthan. To add complexity to a simple stewed okra-and-tomato dish, Soban Singh Bedla showed Markel how to cook whole cumin seeds, turmeric and chile powder in oil before adding the vegetables, which brings out the spices' depth of flavor.

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
Photo: © Kana Okada
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon pure chile powder, such as ancho

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 pound okra, stemmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick

  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup water

  • Salt


  1. In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the minced garlic and sliced red onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the chile powder, cayenne pepper, cumin seeds and turmeric and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add the okra and cook for 2 minutes, tossing. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until they release their juices, about 1 minute. Add the water, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the okra is just tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and serve.

Make Ahead

The stewed okra and tomatoes can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently before serving.

Serve With

Steamed basmati rice.

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