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How to Make Eggplant and Okra Curry

Eggplant and Okra Curry with Rice

Continuing with my series “Husband Alone with the CSA“, this recipe was critical to using up the ingredients that the CSA gave me. I don’t like eggplant. I don’t like okra. I don’t like their taste. I really don’t like their texture. There. I said it.

Luckily, Lindsay and I have made this recipe before, and not only do I love curry, and not only does it reheat well (important because I was cooking for one for a few weeks), but it completely disguised the taste and texture of the eggplant and okra!

I know that the picture above isn’t super-appealing. That’s one thing about curries. It turns all the color into a muted yellow-reddish-brown (or a brownish-yellow-red?). It’s all the turmeric and other spices. Look how much more vibrant it looks in the pan! In any case, cook it. Eat it. Love it. Use up the CSA vegetables that I hate most :) . Another thing about curries is the enormous quantity of spices involved and the sometimes quick timing that things need to be added back-to-back. For this reason I added a new column to the ingredients list called “Group”. Everything in “Group 1″ goes in at the same time, and so on. Before I added the “Group” notations to our curry recipes I would use like 10 extra prep bowls, or accidentally mix ingredients that need to go in at different times.

This recipe did make me reorganize and label our spices because they were such a mess, but that’s a different blog post…

Eggplant and Okra Curry

Makes 4 servings

Group Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
1 2 TBsp Olive oil
1 3 Garlic cloves Minced
1 2 Yellow onions Finely chopped
1 0.5 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 0.5 tsp Fennel seeds
1 3 Cardamom pods Leave whole
1 0.5 Cinnamon stick About a 1 inch; leave whole
1 1 Bay leaf Leave whole
2 0.5 tsp Turmeric (ground)
2 0.5 tsp Chili powder
2 1 tsp Coriander (ground)
2 1 TBsp Tomato paste
3 2 Tomatoes Finely chopped
3 2 cups Water
4 6 oz Okra Cut into 0.5-inch rounds 10-15 pods
5 6 oz Eggplant Chopped into half-inch cubes 5-10 “fairytale” or 1 medium to large
5 1 tsp Kosher salt
6 2 TBsp Cilantro Finely chopped About 6 sprigs (and optional)


  1. Preparation: it’s important to be prepared for this dish. Some of the prep can wait (such as chopping the eggplant and okra), but the first three “Groups” need to be read because that part will move fast. Measure out the spices for “Group 1″ into one bowl, and those for “Group 2″ into a separate bowl. Chop the onions and mince the garlic; these can go into the same bowl. Chop the tomatoes and put them in a separate bowl. Measure out the water.

    Curry Spices - Group 1Curry Spices - Groups 1 and 2

  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet that has a cover, preferably cast iron. Once the oil is hot, add everything from “Group 1″ (spices, onions, garlic). Stir occassionally, and cook until the onions caramelize to a golden brown. (Don’t confuse this with the fact that they are covered with brown spices!)

    Garlic, Onions, and Initial Spices Cooking

  3. Add the ingredients from “Group 2″ (spices, tomato paste) and stir well. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in “Group 3″ (tomatoes and water). Turn the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil.
  4. While waiting for the sauce to boil, chop “Group 4″ (okra) and “Group 5″ (eggplant). Once the sauce is boiling, add “Group 4″ (okra) and cook for about 3 minutes on high heat. This cooking at high-heat will evaporate out most of the gelatinous goo that is associated with okra. Turn the heat back down to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has started to thicken. If your okra is a bit past its prime and extra slimy, increase the time on high heat and sample the okra until the goo has evaporated out, then reduce the heat and simmer.

    Eggplant and Okra - All In

  5. Add “Group 5″ (eggplant, salt) and lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the okra and eggplant are tender, but not mushy.
  6. Fish out the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods if you can find them (otherwise be sure to watch out for them!). Let it sit to cool and thicken for 5 minutes. If desired, plate over rice. Garnish with the cilantro.

    Eggplant and Okra Curry with Rice

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