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Kelly McVicker's Turmeric Okra Masala Pickle

Recipe by: Kelly McVicker of McVicker Pickles

1 quart

Kelly McVicker's Turmeric Okra Masala Pickle

Technically speaking okra isn't a vegetable - it's the seed pod of a flowering fruit in the mallow family, related to cotton and jute. But for this recipe, it's worth bending the rules! It's a fermented version of a product I created in collaboration with Sana Javeri Kadri, founder of Diaspora Co., who's on a mission to disrupt and decolonize  the international spice trade.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Fermenation Period: 5 to 14 days

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 6 months

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  • 1 pound small okra pods 
  • 1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Jodhana Cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or ground Byadgi Chillies
  • 1 teaspoon Pragati Turmeric
  • 1 small whole Guntur Sannam Chilli (optional)
  • 1 quart unchlorinated water
  •  2 1/2 tablespoons pickling or sea salt



  1. Gently clean the okra using a paper towel, clean cloth, or vegetable brush. Do not rinse or soak.
  2. Combine the onion, cumin, paprika and turmeric in a quart jar. Pack the okra firmly into the jar, being careful not to crush or break the pods. Slip in the chilli (if using)
  3. In a clean jar, combine the water and salt. Cap and shake the brine to dissolve the salt completely. Make sure none of the salt remains at the bottom and no salt particles are visible in the water. 
  4. Pour the brine over the okra, leaving at least two inches of headspace. Use a large piece of okra (or fermentation weight of your choice) to keep everything under the brine. 
  5. Loosely place the lid on the jar, then place the jar on a plate out of direct sunlight and away from drafts to ferment for 5 to 14 days, tasting on day 2 to see how the flavor is developing. 
  6. Once it's sour enough to suit you, tightly cap the jar, transfer it to the refrigerator, and store it up to 6 months. 

Troubleshooting: Avoid rinsing okra pods too much or soaking them in water: The more moisture they're exposed to, the more the slime will come out. It's also important not to cut the pods; just trim the stem end if it's tough or brown. This will keep the glutinous part in tact. 

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