Curried Okra and Eggplant with Chick Peas

Warm Indian spices give farm-fresh vegetables an exotic flavor in this quick and healthy dish! Curried Okra and Eggplant with Chick Peas incorporates approachable Indian curry cooking methods with farm-fresh veggies and protein and fiber rich chick peas for a healthy vegetarian meal served with rice or a tasty side dish with your favorite main.

Curried Okra and Eggplant in a cast iron skillet with lemon wedges and chopped cilantro.

Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.

~~ H.G. Wells, English writer in many genres

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Fresh Okra and Eggplant

Perhaps this is a bit melodramatic when speaking of one’s preferred cooking appliance, but cooking on a fancy glass cooktop has been more than a challenge for this girl! I’ve yet to run into a serious cook/chef that was satisfied with the experience of cooking on an electric cooktop. The lack of control (and fire) brings an element of risk to even a simple dish like Curried Okra and Eggplant!

Alas, natural gas is not available in the newer subdivisions of McAllen, Texas, so I am resigned to adapting to my new “normal.” So, I am cooking stir-fried Indian-style curried vegetables trying to find the “sweet spot” on my Bosch electric glass cooktop… The line is very fine between smoking hot and just a simmer it seems. 😉

A cast iron skillet with coconut oil before the tomatoes, okra, and eggplant are added.
Farmers market bounty in a white bowl - tomatoes, baby eggplants, and fresh okra still on the vine.

The Rio Grande Valley produces an amazing bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh okra is one of my favorite vegetables, and rarely could I get it in New Mexico. It seems to be a “regular” item at our wonderful farmers’ markets and even the north McAllen HEB (which is beyond fabulous!). Curried Okra and Eggplant combines fresh okra with eggplant, tiny tomatoes, and chick peas (garbanzo beans).

The recipe probably doesn’t qualify as “authentic” Indian, but the flavors are definitely Indian. I rarely use generic curry powder in a recipe, rather I combine spices, and sometimes toast and grind them myself. For more on what “curry” is and isn’t see Chana Dal with Spinach, and for a summary of the Indian cuisine flavor profile see Flavor Profiles

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  • onion
  • fresh ginger
  • garlic
  • coconut or vegetable oil
  • black mustard seeds
  • tiny tomatoes, grape, pear, Little Cherub
  • fresh okra
  • eggplant
  • broth
  • chick peas
  • garam masala
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper
  • cilantro (garnish)
  1. Sauté the aromatics – Pulse the onion, ginger, and garlic together in the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Heat coconut oil in a wok or saute pan, almost to the smoking point. Add the onion puree and black mustard seeds to the pan. Stir-fry until seeds begin to pop and onion mixture gives up its liquid and begins to brown. It will be a little pasty.
  2. Cook the vegetables – Add tomatoes to the pan. Cook until they begin to burst, stirring occasionally to keep from scorching. Add okra and eggplant. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Finish the dish – De-glaze the pan with broth, adding enough to keep the vegetables quite moist but not soupy. Add chick peas and garam masala. Stir well to combine. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes to heat through. Garnish with fresh cilantro just before serving.

💭 Tips

Fresh okra benefits from a few minutes in a very hot pan. The mucilaginous substance will evaporate fairly quickly.

What is garam masala?

This recipe uses garam (hot) masala (a mixture of spices). The ground spice mixture varies from region to region, and none is considered more authentic than any other. Typically, garam masala includes cardamom, black pepper, cloves, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I usually add garam masala near the end of the cooking process, and this recipe is no exception.

Do I have to use tiny tomatoes?

No. I like the way they blister and sometimes burst, but you can use chopped tomatoes as well.

Is this okra stir fry good leftover?

We like it reheated for lunch the next day, but I’d not keep it longer. It’s really amazing as a fresh out of the skillet meal!

Curried Okra and Eggplant Plated over white rice with a dollop of plain yogurt and garnished with cilantro and lemon wedges.

🍷 Pairing Suggestions

This quick and healthy vegetarian dish makes a tasty vegetarian meal when served with rice and yogurt. If you’re keeping it vegan, of course, you can skip the yogurt.

I have also paired it with my Seared Tuna with Dragon Fruit Salsa (the spices provide a lovely counterpoint to the tropical flavors of the salsa) and zesty lemon fried calamari rings (future post?)…

Last night, I served it as a side dish with lamb patties topped with yogurt. It would complement a grilled chicken breast marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic as well.

It comes together in less than 30 minutes, so what’s stopping you? Give it a try… you won’t be disappointed!

Looking for another awesome Indian okra (bhindi) dish? You’ll love Bharwaa Bhindi, Tawa Fry from my friend Sonal at Simply Vegetarian 777!

🍚 More Indian Style Curry Recipes

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes.

Curried Okra and Eggplant

Warm Indian spices give farm-fresh vegetables an exotic flavor in this quick and healthy dish!
4.45 from 29 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 214 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small onion - cut in small chunks
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger - minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 8 ounces tiny tomatoes - grape, pear, Little Cherub
  • 2 cups okra - about 1/2 pound, 1″ slices
  • 2 cups eggplant - about 1/2 pound, 3/4″ cubes
  • ½ to ¾ cup broth
  • 1 can chick peas - garbanzos, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ cup cilantro - to garnish, chopped

Instructions

  • Sauté the aromatics – Pulse the onion, ginger, and garlic together in the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Heat coconut oil in a wok or saute pan, almost to the smoking point. Add the onion puree and black mustard seeds to the pan. Stir-fry until seeds begin to pop and onion mixture gives up its liquid and begins to brown. It will be a little pasty.
  • Cook the vegetables – Add tomatoes to the pan. Cook until they begin to burst, stirring occasionally to keep from scorching. Add okra and eggplant. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Finish the dish – De-glaze the pan with broth, adding enough to keep the vegetables quite moist but not soupy. Add chick peas and garam masala. Stir well to combine. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes to heat through. Garnish with fresh cilantro just before serving.

Notes

Coconut oil is my preference in this dish as it handles the hot pan fairly well, and the fragrance and flavor it adds are nice. You have to watch the smoke point (the point at which the oil breaks down). You can substitute canola or vegetable oil.
Garam masala can be found commercially in most markets in the spice section, and in the ethnic foods section of many markets. If you can’t find it, you can make your own and store it in a jar as most of the ingredients are readily available.
Macros do not include rice.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 214 calories; 8 g protein; 32 g carbohydrates; 9 g fat.

Nutrition

Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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27 Comments

    1. Hi Nes! Yes. I would let it thaw completely and dry it thoroughly with paper towels before proceeding… Let me know how it works? Good luck!

  1. Had this for breakfast this morning. I really loved it. I had some left over pico de Gallo I made and used that along with minced ginger as my purée, I also omitted the chickpeas and mustard seeds because I couldn’t find my can opener and nowhere near me has the seeds but it was still really tasty. Looking forward to trying to making it again with all of the listed ingredients.

  2. I was wondering if you could be more specific in your recipe regarding measurements? Also am I missing something? Is there a way to print the recipe (minus photos)?

    1. Good morning Audrey! I do have specific measurements. All I can figure out is that you didn’t scroll all the way to the bottom. The recipe itself is at the very end. I typically have a “jump to recipe” button at the top of my posts, and managed to omit it for this recipe. Oops! It probably would have made this easier for you. I did add it at the top in the usual position. Also, on the recipe card, you will find a “print” button that will give you the recipe with no photos. I hope this helps!

  3. Can I make this a day ahead of time and serve warmed over in a pan? Going to a steak cook out and think this could be an easy reheat.

    1. I think it would work quite well Sara! We reheat it on the stove (I’m not a fan of microwaves) for lunch the next day. A dry non-stick pan should work great. Let me know if you think about it? It might help another reader. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Hi Christy! I have not tried freezing it, but I don’t know why it wouldn’t work… let me know if you try it, so I can advise my readers?

    2. Hi Christy! I have not tried freezing this dish… I don’t know why it wouldn’t freeze well though. Let me know if you try it so I can advise my readers?

  4. Made this last night with some lovely fresh produce. I didn’t make the garlic/onion/ginger paste but I minced everything and browned it in coconut oil. Added roma tomatoes, corn, sweet red peppers and a nice chilipepper. Used Asian eggplant. So GOOD and even better the second day. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. This makes me soooo happy! Thank you for taking the time to let me know… It makes this blog – and labor of love – all worthwhile 🙂

  5. Welcome to McAllen! How the move went smooth and you are all settled in to your new place. Oh, giving up a gas stovetop would be very difficult, but if it’s not available, I guess there just isn’t anything you can do but adjust. What an interesting dish! I never would have though okra and Indian food, but you are quite convincing. It’s looks delicious!

    1. Thanks MJ! I was afraid I’d have to give up my Hatch green chile, but alas, HEB was roasting 29 pound boxes in early September. My freezer is full!