The Food of Movie Stars: Spicy Okra with Onions

Bollywood Cooking - Recipes from Stars & Starlets
OkraIndian 04 framed

It was a little over a year ago when I announced the Bollywood Cooking series on my blog. I chose the name candidly because it fitted perfectly with everything I wanted to do with this series. Bring out Indian food with a bit of glamour and simply spread it across the blog world for many of you who love the food but are intimidated to cook it.

Hec, I'm Indian and sometimes I used to get intimidated too!

What I would never have imagined at that time was that the name of my Indian cooking series would bring to my mailbox a lovely email from a gorgeous cookbook writer.

It was a few weeks after I completed my first post on Indian spices that Bulbul Mankani wrote to me to tell me she enjoyed the post and found me and my blog while Googling for The Bollywood Cookbook. She told me a bit about her book and soon I had my hands on a copy.

51qIgf9Sp2L._AA240_ As soon as I opened the book I was dazzled by the glamour and glitter of the pictures. Gorgeous, colorful and glossy pictures not only of the delectable dishes that are immaculately presented but also of some India's hottest, famous and popular movie stars.

This book goes beyond than being a cookbook it is almost like several biographies, highlighting the careers of all movie stars. However, the real stars in this book are the scrumptious recipes and I just love the idea behind each of the recipes. See, each movie star has shared a few of their favorite recipes with Bulbul. So, now I know for example Hrithik Roshan's (pronunciation: /rɪt̪ɪk roːʃən/) favorite dish is Palak Paneer and he shares his recipe in this cookbook.

Indian movie buffs will worship this book almost as I do. This cookbook has been my star in the kitchen over the past year. I have not only cooked several dishes from it for the several dinner parties I have had, but I have proudly displayed this book to everyone who comes over. My German friends love Indian food and ever since Indian movies are regularly shown on TV here (dubbed in German), they are crazy about the movies and the Bollywood stars too.

Shah Rukh Khan shares his recipe for Tandoori chicken, the  legendary Bachans reveal a scrumptious recipe for Aachari Aloo (potatoes in mango pickle) or the ever stunning Shabana Azmi shows us how to make a traditional Hyderabadi Biryani. These are just a few of the recipes from over 80 in this book. Each one will make your mouth water.

Bulbul writes a lovely essay "Inside Bollywood" in the book and touches the quintessence of what Bollywood means to India and Indians around the world.

To understand India one needs to understand the essence Bollywood. Indian films evoke a kind of super-reality with the large and glorious villas, perfect weather, heroes with supernatural powers and heroines that are loyal and as beautiful as goddesses. All these ingredients takes us away on a magical journey to a fantasy-land filled with romance, songs and colorful emotions for a few hours. The costumes are grand, the paradisiacal locations and each song and dance perfectly choreographed - all in a huge effort to evoke a palette of emotions for the viewer.

An Indian film will take you on a roller-coaster of emotions, that's for certain. You will laugh, love and cry, experience horror, tragedy, comedy and suspense all in approximately 180 minutes.

Bollywood has created a genre and a niche for itself, of which the viewers are a total entity. In this super-reality there is one simple rule: all rationality can be bent and distorted so that in the end love always wins. Coincidence and destiny are willing aids. Lost brothers find each other again, parents make-up with their children, mothers are devoted, the maid or the gardener are hilarious and the bad villains create chaos throughout the film.

To give you a sneak peak of one of the recipes from this book I made a fantastic vegetarian dish using one of my favorite vegetables - the Okra. Unfortunately, I do not often find fresh Okras here in Germany, but whenever I do I enjoy preparing it in a simple yet flavorful way, highlighting the vegetable. I adapted the recipe by adding a bit of fresh tomato for color and to complement the okra with it's fruity aroma. I also reduced the amount of chilies from 6 to 3, finely chopping them instead of keeping them whole! This recipe comes from Saif Ali Khan's cook and happens to be Saif's favorite vegetable dish too. Well Saif - you hunk - I loved every bite of it.


One pot + many ingredients = one-dish dinner! That's you challenge this month. I am looking for innovative and creative one-dish meals. These can be casseroles, cooked in a crockpot, in a pressure cooker or in a baking dish. Whatever you are using you need to stick to the one cooking dish. So, come on over to February's mingle with your favorite One-Dish Dinners.

You'll find all the necessary details to this month's Monthly Mingle here.

Deadline: March 10th, 2008


Don't forget to send me your links to your fresh, crispy, juicy winter produce. Eat Fresh is a seasonal event, which attempts to bring people to share their weekly fresh produce with each other. So, all you need to do is take a picture of your weekly fresh vegetables and fruit, post it on your blogs, send email to and you will get an invitation to join our growing Eat Fresh list.

Deadline: March 31st, 2008

In Barcelona, Núria of Spanish Recipes visits her weekly street market to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables like fresh oranges from the Valencia region (Oh Núria I envy you so much!), strawberries, artichokes, spinach and more. See her colorful bounty.

You can view the complete list of all our Eat Fresh entries here.

Printable version of recipe here.

Spicy Okra (03) by MeetaK

750g Okras - washed and ends cut off
3-4 tomatoes - roughly chopped
3 tablespoon peanut oil
5 red onions - sliced
5 cm piece of ginger - cut into thin strips
1 teaspoons carom seeds
1 teaspoons black cumin seeds
3 fresh green chilies - finely chopped
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder


Spicy Okra (02) by MeetaK

Heat the oil and sauté onions, ginger carom and cumin seeds in a large pan. Sauté until the onions are transparent and the spices are fragrant. Stir in chopped tomatoes and cook until softened and the juices have slightly evaporated.

Add the chilies and okras - sauté for 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring regularly. The okras should just begin to soften but still have a good bite to them.

Now add the coriander, turmeric and chili powder. Incorporate well and lastly, salt to taste.

Serve hot with Indian rotis or naans and pickles. 


At first I thought Tom and Soeren would not like okras prepared in this way. For Soeren I had prepared an extra portion with hardly any chili. Okra generally is a vegetable you love or you hate, so I was expecting plenty of leftovers for me. But fat chance on that! Both my boys simple relished this dish. Top loved it because the okras were not limp and oozy as he usually got to know them. They were crispy and spicy. For Soeren, he loved the sweetness the onions and tomatoes gave.

It's an awesome dish, prepared within minutes and so full of aroma from the spices that you simply need to make double the amount.

You might enjoy these spicy Indian dishes too:

ChannaMasala02 Spicy Chickpeas
PooriBhaji04 Spicy Potatoes and Bell Peppers
PaneerDoPiaza03 Spicy Paneer with Onion
IndianBreakfast03 A spicy Indian breakfast


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. What a lovely looking dish meeta..thats a great one to read..Nice to know about the book..Will look out to see if I can get it here..sounds interesting...thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. I'll wait for good okra to hit the market :-) and then make this... will go so well with rotis :-) Thanks Meeta

  3. Lovely looking okra, my fav veggie! I've seen the book, nice and colorful. I tried to memorize AB's achari aloo but by the time I got home, forgot all about it. The book is expensive compared to other books I bought so came home without it.
    I cook this the same way, but your pic made it look so exotic.. must find some bhindi today!
    Thks Angela

  4. Meeta - the Okra looks delish...:D
    Nice Bollywoodic post!!


  5. Meeta I've never seen okra looking so delicious. I can imagine how tasty it was.
    Here i've tried okra but my huuby and daughter don't like them as they th!ink it is too slimy.
    This is a recipe i am going to try when i get my hands on fresh okra.

  6. I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of okra, but your dish looks so delicious that I might just have to give it another try!

  7. Oh yeah. I agree. This is more than glam. Gorgeous!

  8. I would love this dish Meeta. I learned to love okra from my dad, he grew it and cooked with it. Too bad Gorn doesn't enjoy it at all. But once in a while, when I'm by my self I might have some. Sounds like a very entertaining and inviting cookbook.

  9. Oh wow Meeta, so you mean to say if I make this then I would be eating Saif's fav dish.......yayyyyyyyyy, can't wait to try it! :) Lovely pic!! Very interesting book too.

  10. Now that's a dish I could eat all by myself even though we live in okra land and B. was raised on it and I did not!! Long story short: love it!

  11. oh yes, i had seen this copy at WH Smith's. so r we gonna get to see more of star's food? :)

  12. Thanks everyone. According to the book this is Saif's favorite vegetarian dish. Glad to see so many of you like okra. It's not an easy vegetable but prepared in this way I am sure many of you will love it too.

  13. Looks really gorgeous. I love okra anyway. I think I will just enjoy its glamorous avatar. :-)

  14. Ohhh.. I'm enchanted by your Bolliwood movie description, and the okra dish! Last time I went to the Berkeley Bowl I eyed the okra, but still didn't know what to do with it.. now I do :) - Thanks for sharing!

  15. I am amazed by all your pictures, they are simply edible.

  16. Thanks. I really enjoyed writing this post. The book is sensational. Get your hands on it!

  17. I quite like bollywood movies (though Khabi Khushi... was a bit tooo long:), and cooking from Bollywood cookbook would be quite fun. Enjoy!!

  18. I must find that book! I love Indian food and I looooove Bollywood movies :)

    "An Indian film will take you on a roller-coaster of emotions, that's for certain. You will laugh, love and cry, experience horror, tragedy, comedy and suspense all in approximately 180 minutes." -- This is so true! I have watched a Bollywood movie with no dubbing and no subtitles, so I couldn't understand a word, but I laughed and I cried all over the place! I loved it! :)

  19. Pille, joey - I'd love to have you two over for film and food it's a popular event I have at my place with my German friends! LOL!

  20. Meeta,well I am a regular reader of your blog,this is the first time I have tried something,the picture makes me crave for those spicy okra and yes it was a real hit & we say it's different.

  21. WHAAAT? The first time you tried something from the blog? Well I am glad I posted something that suited your tastebuds LOL! Seriously though - like you said the way the okra is prepared is slightly different but extremely yummy! Glad you liked it.

  22. I absolutely loooooooooooooooove okra. I could have probably have eaten the whole pot ;-)

  23. hi meeta ,..theme is really good,,,new into food blogging,..if u hv a minute ortwo...dogo thru my blog
    thnks \

  24. This looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe.


Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.