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Sri Lanka. Man, was that place full of good food. Home to many cultures, religions and ethnicities including: Sinhalese, Tamils, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Moors, Burghers, Malays, Chinese and Vedda; this tiny nation off the southern coast of India has a mix of flavors and influences when it comes to food (and everything, really – it’s also a former British colony, so there’s that as well).

Most of what we ended up eating (and craving) was curry, and most of those tasted like a combination of Indian (luckily only a little British-Indian) and Chinese flavors. Yuuuuuuuuuum.

Pics, btw, of the trip coming shortly-ish – DH took some great landscape HDRs and I’m waiting on him to process those. Of course, he has some Photoshop-free travel coming up — so it might be awhile. Hold, please.

Back to the food. DROOL. And there’s more Sri Lanka-inspired goodness coming in the next few weeks. CUISINE, I WILL LEARN YOUR SECRETS.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto

Sri Lankan Style Okra Curry
inspired by Sri Lankan Lady’s Fingers (aka Okra, Bandakka) by Island Smile

1 lb. or so okra (3-4 cups when cut)
4 Tbsp. fat of choice (I used half neutral oil and half ghee)
1 medium tomato
1 medium onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
1/2 – 1 tsp. cayenne powder
Juice 1/2 lime

First, prep your ingredients by slicing your okra on the diagonal, and chopping the tomato, onion, and garlic.

Put your okra in a large bowl, salt liberally, and sprinkle with turmeric. Toss to combine.

Heat your largest pan over medium heat. Cover the bottom of the pan with okra (you may have to do multiple batches) and dry fry 5-7 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Set aside. (note: my okra did not kick off much of the dreaded horrorslime. If yours is, and I’ve only really gotten okra to kick slime the first time I ever tried cooking it, cook until it’s is gone. Nobody wants that – slime wins no hearts and minds).

Raise the heat to medium-high and add the fat, onion, garlic, tomato and another hit of salt. Sautee until the onions are soft and start to brown.

Add the okra back to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, another 4-5 minutes. Taste for salt. Sprinkle the cayenne over top, stir to combine, and cook an additional minute or so.

Turn the heat off and hit with some lime and more spice if desired.

Serves 2 for dinner as a main course – great combined with leftover rotisserie chicken – or 4 as a side