OKRA TANGY SAUCE / Vendakkai Puli Kootu

Contributed by

Viji Varadarajan

The Story


My mother-in-law was not only an ace cook but was also a wonderful teacher. Her love to enjoy good food gave her the ability to teach impeccably. You could never go wrong the first time. Had with hot steaming rice with dal and a dollop of ghee, this dish was a favorite for all in our home. I generally cook vegetables that are home grown. Whatever native vegetables were available in the garden found its way into the kitchen. Hence the garden decides the menu for the day!

OKRA TANGY SAUCE / Vendakkai Puli Kootu

Prepared in an authentic Tamil Brahmin home, almost all the dishes are done without using onion or garlic. They taste delicious and are healthy for the palate. As an option, try crisping the okra in a little oil in a non-stick pan or zapping in the microwave (adding in hing and salt and mixing well with fingers), for two minutes on high; remove and mix in once more before placing it back in the microwave and cook further for 3 more minutes. Now add to a pan to cook further and then adding the rest of the ingredients to it. This process ensures there is no stickiness and it cooks soft and well. You have to definitely ensure that the okra does not break and remains whole but cooked well.
Servings 3
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins



  • 1/2 kg okra
  • ½ cup pigeon peas / thuvar dal
  • 2 tsp tamarind purée
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida / hing powder
  • 4 medium green chillis
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp oil


  • Wash the okra and wipe to dry.
  • Trim ends and chop into fine rounds.
  • Slit the chillis lengthwise and keep aside.
  • Cook the pigeon peas to a soft mash.
  • In a non-stick pan, heat the oil and pop the mustard.
  • Add the okra, slit green chillis, rest of the turmeric powder and asafetida powder.
  • Sauté on a medium flame, sprinkling water. Close lid for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove the lid and stir again. Cook until the vegetable is soft.
  • Add the tamarind sauce and salt and stir for a minute until the raw smell of the tamarind disappears.
  • Now add the cooked lentil and simmer for two minutes or until it thickens slightly.
  • Serve as a main course dish with rice and a dollop of ghee.
Course: condiment
Cuisine: Indian

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