Simmered Spice Soybeans (Edamame) / Okra

This Nepalese dish made with fresh green soybeans is as yummy as it is bright and beautiful. You can also use frozen soybeans, out of their shells (now widely available and labeled “edamame”).


  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic or garlic mashed to a paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger or ginger mashed to a paste
  • 1 red cayenne chile, minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large tomato (about ½ pound), chopped into ½-inch chunks
  • 2 cups shelled fresh or frozen soybeans (edamame) / 1/2 pound small tender okra
  • 1 cup water
  • About ½ cup coriander leaves


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over high heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chile and stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until the onion is well softened.
  3. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, and salt, then toss in the tomato.
  4. Stir-fry for 1 minute, or until the tomato starts to soften and give off liquid.
  5. Add the soybeans /okra and mix well.
  6. Add the water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or until the beans are softened but still firm to the bite. (Frozen or fresh should take about the same time.
  7. Serve garnished with the coriander leaves.


  • Serve with plenty of rice to soak up the sauce, along with a mild dish such as Stir-fried Greens, Bangla Style (page 165) and a simple grill.


The acid of tomatoes balances okra’s sweetness beautifully. Substitute okra for the soybeans; use about ½ pound tender small okra. Leave them whole and cook them in the tomato broth until just tender.


Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent


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Simmered Spice Soybeans (Edamame) / Okra