India: Curried Okra and Chickpeas

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Recipes | 5 comments

Today we continue our VeganMoFo journey and venture south to India!

I love this bustling, sometimes a little crazy, and always overwhelming country. It’s a thriving, energetic, chaotic mass of humanity at both its finest and its worst. It is a place of incredible beauty, but it can also be a place of incredible pain. Amazing riches are juxtaposed with deep, deep poverty. And while there, you can’t avoid seeing both.

A rare picture of a much younger me in Delhi at Humayun's Tomb

A rare picture of a much younger me in Delhi at Humayun’s Tomb

India is one of the places in Asia I know best. I’ve spent time in Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Goa, and Hyderabad, with a quick stop in Pune. But that’s really barely scratching the surface of this huge and diverse country and there is so much more I’d love to see. Each city has its own unique characteristics, culture, cuisine, and often language.

The obligatory Taj Mahal pic

The obligatory Taj Mahal pic

Of course you can’t go to India without taking a trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The moment when you step through the gates and it comes into view just is breathtaking.

The much-less viewed back side of the Taj Mahal

The much-less viewed back side of the Taj Mahal

It really is every bit as stunning as it is made out to be.

Agra Fort is also worth a visit

Agra Fort is also worth a visit

Long boats on the beach in Goa

Long boats on the beach in Goa

The Portuguese-inspired sounds, sights and flavors of Goa can make it feel like you’ve been transported to another country. Lavish Catholic cathedrals and churches are an imposing presence throughout the region.

Catholic Church in Paraji

Catholic Church in Paraji

But the beaches are gorgeous and it feels much more relaxed there than in many of the other places I have visited.

Anjuna Flea Market

Anjuna Flea Market

There is an amazing outdoor market on the beach in Anjuna. Nothing like shopping under palm trees!

Met this gorgeous elephant on a spice farm

Met this gorgeous elephant on a spice farm

A scene in Hyderabad

A scene in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is a growing tech center, but it feels like the city itself has been left behind.

Fruit market on the streets of Hyderabad

Fruit market on the streets of Hyderabad

Hyderabad

Hyderabad

Its gorgeous architectural landmarks are slowly disintegrating and on the streets of the city it seems life continues at the same pace it has for decades.

It once was beautiful...

It once was beautiful… 

The Qutahi Shahi Tombs

The Qutahi Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

Hindu temple nestled in Golconda Fort

At a Hindu temple nestled in Golconda Fort

Mumbai! What can be said about Mumbai that has not already been said? 

Haji Ali Mosque, Mumbai

Haji Ali Mosque, Mumbai

The energy there is intense. It feels like a city of entrepreneurs, the place you go to make it big.

Sculpture in the Elephanta Caves on Elephanta Island

Elephanta Caves on Elephanta Island

But of course, so many don’t. There was one moment we were staying in a beautiful five-star hotel that epitomized luxury, surrounded by a slum. And that sums it up. Inequality, perhaps more than anything else, comes into sharp relief in Mumbai.

Taj Hotel and India Gate, Mumbai

Taj Hotel and India Gate, Mumbai

It was in Mumbai that my mother connected with these sweet children at a center that still treated patients for leprosy.  These kids were there to provide their parents, who were living with HIV, with some respite. 

My lovely mum

My lovely mum

Delhi feels safe and sanitized in comparison. It definitely has the feel of a capital, with wide streets, imposing government buildings and a distinct cleanliness that many other parts of the country lack.

Humayan's Tomb

Humayan’s Tomb

Another view of Humayun's Tomb Complex

Another view of Humayun’s Tomb Complex

But it too has its edge. The narrow, winding streets of Old Delhi are a sensory delight: colorful textiles, amazing smells of street food and spices (mixed with not so pleasant ones), the endless noise of thousands of people on the street, living, being… 

Monkeys!

Monkeys!

All of you know that India is a wonderful place for vegans. As the country with the most vegetarians per capita anywhere, there is an endless array of vegan options as part of their every day cuisine. Although there is a heavy reliance on dairy and that is one thing to ask questions about, I found eating vegan in India to be one of the easiest things ever. And now that I’m gluten-free, I know even that won’t be a struggle. Chickpea, lentil, rice and other flours are used as the basis for many a dish. 

Curried okra and chickpeas

Curried okra and chickpeas

The recipe I’m sharing today is very quick and easy, but incredibly tasty. My local farmers market has the most gorgeous okra at the moment, some of it a beautiful emerald green, some of it a lovely reddish purple. I’ve combined the okra with chickpeas and spices to make a dry curry. The best thing about it: you can get it on the table in less than 15 minutes! 

Curried Okra and Chickpeas
Serves 2
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 10-15 pieces of okra, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  2. ½ tsp cumin seeds
  3. ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  4. 1 small hot chili pepper, diced (I used a birds-eye chili pepper)
  5. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, or 1 15oz can
  7. ¼ tsp turmeric
  8. Salt and black pepper, to taste
  9. Unscented coconut oil, or other vegetable oil for sautéing
Instructions
  1. Add a tsp of coconut oil to a pan over medium-high heat and when hot, add the okra.
  2. Sauté okra until it starts to brown and any sliminess has been evaporated (about 5 mins).
  3. Remove okra from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add a touch more oil, and add the cumin and brown mustard seeds.
  5. When they begin to brown and become fragrant, add garlic and chili and sauté for another minute or so, until fragrant.
  6. Return the okra to the pan, along with the chickpeas and turmeric and sauté until all ingredients are warmed through.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
 It’s a complete meal and a perfect accompaniment to rice or a vegan naan or sautéed greens.

A complete meal

A complete meal

And that’s day 3 of VeganMofo! Phew!

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve been craving curry for about 3 weeks and this is not helping. Must make one soon. Your photos are gorgeous!!

    • Thanks so much Dawn! You have to make this curry – it’s so very easy! :)

  2. India is one of the countries I want to visit as soon as possible. Your pictures are just great!

    • Thanks so much!

    • Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Thai foods are yummy and I denitifely want to try this one. Thanks for visiting my site. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

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