Okra · Tempeh

Okra and Tempeh, Indian Style

I was reading through all the Tuesdays With Dorie blogs these last several days, and I found a recipe on one that sounded perfect for dinner. 

It's Madhur Jaffrey's Sweet and Sour Okra, and it was posted by Shirlie of Stop and Smell the Basil (which, by the way, is good advice).

Anyway, it sounded good, I love Indian food, and, amazingly, I happened to have a package of okra in the freezer.  It was meant to be.

To get the recipe, please click on the link for it above. 

I added a package of tempeh to the recipe, because I didn't have the full amount of okra the recipe called for, but I did have a package of tempeh in the freezer, too, and I figured it would work nicely.

Tempeh, by the way, is fermented, cooked soybeans combined with the Rhizopus mold to form a whitish, chewy cake.  You can use it as a meat substitute if you wish – I've used it for tacos or fajitas, for example – or you can slice it up and fry it in some oil and make french fries out of it.  My kids like it that way.

Anyway, in addition to the okra and the tempeh, the recipe is full of plenty of intense flavor, including garlic, red pepper flakes, coriander and cumin, and turmeric, which mainly adds color, and has a faintly metalic taste (at least to me), and lemon juice. 


The dish came together really quickly, and while I was getting that ready, I cooked up some rice to serve with the okra/tempeh mixture.

Here's a small bowl of the final product:


I halved the amount of red pepper flakes called for, only because sometimes the kids don't like the heat.  Next time, I'll use the full amount.

Bill and I loved it.  The okra and the tempeh soaked in all the flavor of the spices, and the "sour" of the lemon juice was not overpowering.  It had a nice balance of warmth and faint tartness. 

Julia liked it, though she didn't eat a lot of it and mostly just ate her rice.

Alex…well, Alex took one look and didn't think he was going to like it.  The thing is, he does this with a lot of new things now, and once he tries them, he doesn't always dislike them.  So the rule is, he has to TRY it.  Just one piece, and if he doesn't like it, okay.  Just eat the rest of the food on the plate.

But he really, really didn't want to try it.  And we really, really (nicely) told him it wasn't going to hurt him, and he really really didn't know if he didn't like it because he'd never had it (okra) before.

So we found the smallest piece of okra on his plate, checked it to make sure no red pepper bits were hiding on it anywhere, and told him to just try it.

And, finally, he did. 

Now, just imagine gloppy green stuff in this open mouth, and you have the result.

He did NOT like it.  He chewed ever so briefly, and then…well, that face kind of tells some of it.  He absolutely did not like it.  He cried, he did not like it so much.  In fact, in between wailing and shoving the green glop to the sides of his mouth in order to avoid actually swallowing it, he sobbed out "I don't like this even way more than anything else I don't like!"

Duly noted.

But – don't take his word for it.  After all, he's not even 6 yet. 

Try the recipe for yourself.  It's delicious.   

One thought on “Okra and Tempeh, Indian Style

  1. Alex will come around; after all, I cried when my mom fed me okra unrtil I was 19! Beautiful blog, Jayne. Your photos are gorgeous.

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