The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

October 27, 2010

Is Chinese Okra, Okra's Distant Cousin?

If you read our post about Sweet and Sour Toast, then you will know the vegetable I will be cooking with today. Ah, yes...the infamous Chinese Okra.

In some ways, I believe Okra and Chinese Okra are related. If you look at them closely, they both have similar ridges on the surface. Do they have anything else in common?

I did some digging to find out what else they have in common. Unfortunately, my research only took me so far. Here are my results: they both have the word okra in their name and they have ridges. To further my disappointment, I found many recipes from various cultures for okra and not a lot for the other one. I thought because it is called Chinese Okra, it must be popular in China. However, my East Asian friends told me that it's not so. Even in India, this vegetable is not commonly found in the North; it's mostly available in South.

Man, this vegetable is so unappreciated.  😡 What a pity!  Lucky for us, we are South Indian and we know how to use this vegetable for its potential.

We have come up with 4 recipes and are excited to share them with you. We shared the first recipe with you back in September: Chinese Okra Chutney. Don't forget to read about it, if you haven't already.

The second one is quite interesting since it is made from the skin of the vegetable. You heard it correctly, I said SKIN and this recipe is mainly popular in Andhra Pradesh. So give it a try!

It is called Skintastic Squash with Lentils and the ingredients and procedure are listed below:


  • 3-4 medium Chinese okra (also known as Ridged gourd/Tori)
  • 1 big, chopped finely Onion
  • ½ cup Gram dal / channa dal
  • 2 Tbsp Grated coconut (dried)
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil

 Let's see how it's made


1) Wash squash thoroughly and cut the end and peel the ridges to remove strings (shown in video below). 





2) Now peel the green skin. The actual flesh inside can be saved and used for making another curry or chutney (shown in video below).




Cut the peel into 1-2 inch pieces and place them in the chopper and chop them coarsely.


OR


3) Transfer the coarse peel into a pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water, channa dal, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and pressure cook for 5-6 minutes. (Please Note: it can also be cooked in a saucepan on stove top until the dal is cooked but firm, might take 10 – 15 minutes.)



4) After pressure is relieved, open the lid and immediately strain the contents using a fine mesh strainer. Use a paper towel in the colander if fine mesh strainer is not available.

5) In a saucepan heat the oil on medium heat. Add mustard and cumin and allow them to crackle, then add onions and sauté them until transparent. Add chili powder and mix well. Now add the drained squash and channa dal and mix well. Place a lid and cook for few minutes (approx. 5 minutes).


6) Add coconut powder and mix well.Then you are ready to remove from the stove. Serve it hot with rice or rotis.


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