This salad (also converted as a quick curry), is from South India, from my father’s family. Crisp okra and cool yoghurt with a slight zing from fresh green chili, makes a good accompaniment to curry and rice. I could just eat a large bowlful mixed with my rice. The same recipe is used to fry small cubes of aubergine in place of Okra, and added to the yoghurt. You can also convert this into a curry, see TIP and instructions at the end of the recipe.

1tl=5ml /1 El=15ml /1 kop=225 ml


200 grams Okra / 1 Aubergine
Oil for deep frying + a shallow pan or wok
Dressing for salad/ same for curry + see TIP at end of recipe
1 ½ cupful of slightly sour yoghurt + ¼ cup water. (add 1 tbsp lemon juice if yoghurt is not sour)
2 green chilies
1/2 tsp coarse sea-salt or to taste
2 tsp sugar
¼ tsp each black pepper & cumin powder
1 tablespoon roughly chopped coriander leaves


1.Wipe each Okra clean with a wet cloth. Slice off the top & tails. Then cut horizontally in 1 cm thick slices.
2.For aubergines: Cut aubergines in small cubes. Sprinkle with salt and let them drain in a sieve. Rinse quickly under water & place them between 2 tea towels to dry off.
3.Heat enough oil in a wok or a small flat pan, for deep frying the okra/ aubergine. (test the heat by putting one slice in, it should sizzle & rise immediately)
4.Add a handful of pieces at a time & fry till Okra is crisp & golden/ aubergine becomes a bit golden
5.Put in just enough pieces to be able to remove them in one go when fried, to avoid burning those remaining. Fry all batch by batch.
6.Remove & keep them then in a dish lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
7.Chop the green chilies roughly & with the salt, in a pestle & mortar pound to a rough paste . Add it to the yoghurt+ water.
8.Add also the sugar, pepper and cumin powder. Add 1 tbsp of the left-over frying oil. Whisk all together lightly. Taste to see if you need to increase any salt or spices.
9.Just before serving, mix in the okra/ aubergine with the yoghurt dressing. Sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves as garnish.
10.TIP: To convert this recipe into a curry- Cut Okra in 2 cm lengths & fry / Aubergine 3 x3 cm cubes +fry.
11.Whisk the yoghurt mix with ½ - ¾ cup water, add to it 2 tsp of Cornflour (Maizena) or arrowroot powder mixed with 2 tbsp water.
12.Whisk again. Make it spicier by adding ½ tsp red chili powder.
13.Cook the yoghurt mix on a low heat stirring off and on to prevent splitting. The curry will come to a simmer & thicken. Do not boil.
14.Then add in the fried vegetable of your choice and simmer for just a minute more.
15.Heat 1 tbsp of the frying oil in a small pan.
16.Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds and curry leaves if you have them. Pour over the curry.