This microwave oven fried okra is a light alternative to battered and fried okra. This recipe shows you how to cook okra without cornmeal or breading. Just pure okra goodness with a few spices and more importantly, without the slime!
If you’ve ever thought that you hate okra now is the time to change your mind. You’ll love this recipe for fried okra, or rather roasted okra because:
- With less than 170 calories, this is the best way to eat okra. It needs only a fraction of the oil that you use for frying battered okra.
- It is a quick and easy side dish with a few basic ingredients you’ll most probably have in your kitchen. You can easily make a quick & delicious vegan Indian dinner like rice and chana masala with this microwave-fried okra.
- It is sort of hands-free cooking. Mix the okra with spices and cook in the microwave oven. Apart from tossing twice in-between, there’s nothing much you need to do. By the time you cook the main dish, this fried okra will be ready like magic!
- The slime gets totally removed from okra without spending much time frying or sauteing on the stovetop. Imagine being able to cook a healthy side dish without literally sweating out.
Why this recipe works
Nobody likes the slime in okra that makes your hands, knife, chopping board and everything else it comes in contact with, sticky. I remember refusing to help my mom on days when she used to cook okra! But it used to turn out so delicious without being slimy at all, every single time. It was only when I started watching her cook, I realized how much oil went into the dish so it’s not slimy. (no offense, mom! We still love your okra.)
To replicate the same amazing side dish, the moisture had to be reduced so it becomes less sticky and in turn, uses less oil. The microwave comes to our rescue here since it cooks food using moisture in the food.
So, okra is cooked + slime removed + less oil used– feeding not 2, but 3 birds with one scone! (I hate to use the other analogy 🙂
Using a microwave for roasting okra is more versatile and easier than roasting in the oven. You don’t have to spread out the okra in a single layer. (okra pieces being sooo small and sticky, it’s really a pain!) Another advantage is that the okra is free of slime in the first 20 minutes of cooking, so you can stop cooking if you’re not keen on browning the okra.
- Okra– also known as lady’s fingers or bhindi in India, this is a low-calorie, high fiber vegetable full of nutrients. (source)
- Onions– tastes great with okra and adds a crunch to the dish.
- Spices– cumin, coriander and chilli powder are all you need to make this awesome dish. Reduce the chilli powder according to your taste, if you feel it’s too spicy.
- Oil– I’ve used olive oil here, but any cooking oil is fine.
The most important step is to rinse and wipe the okra dry with a kitchen towel. The more moisture you allow, the longer it would take to get rid of the slime from the okra. Trim the okra and chop into about 1/2 cm rounds. Place in a wide microwave-safe bowl.
Add the coriander, cumin, chilli powder, salt and toss with the okra. Add oil and toss again.
Cook on high power in the microwave for 10 minutes. Take out and toss with onions and curry leaves. Microwave for another 10 minutes. Remove, stir thoroughly again and cook for 10 more minutes. By now, the okra should be well cooked and soft, but if you like it a little more browned, stir and cook for 5 more minutes. You can see the difference in the fourth and fifth photos:
- WIPE THE OKRA clean before chopping.
- SPRINKLE THE SPICES evenly on the okra so they are easier to toss. (To show them clearly in the pictures, I dumped the spices on the okra, but found it hard to mix. The slime works against you! So avoid that mistake.)
- DO NOT CLOSE the bowl. The bowl should be left open throughout the cooking process.
Additions and substitutions
For extra crunch, roasted slivered almonds or dried coconut flakes may be added before serving. Fresh dessicated coconut may also be added, before the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Chilli powder can also be substituted with paprika if you’re not used to the spice.
What to eat okra with?
Benefits of eating okra
- Biologically classified as a fruit, okra is packed with nutrients and particularly high in Vitamins C and K1 that helps improve your immune function and blood-clotting ability.
- It is rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and improve heart and brain health.
- Eating okra on a regular basis helps lower blood cholesterol levels and protect your heart.
- Okra contains lectin, a protein that may help prevent the growth of cancer cells.
- Eating okra may help pregnant women meet their daily folate needs.
- Okra is high in fibre that helps digestion and cuts hunger cravings. (Source)
More healthy side dishes
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