Bendem ani sungtam kodi (Goan Okra and shrimp curry)

Bendem is okra/lady finger, sungtam is prawns/shrimps and kodi is curry in the Konkani language. This  is a simple, delicious and mildly spiced curry, consisting of fresh coconut and aromatic spices, well balanced with the sourness from the tamarind. The addition of okra not only adds a textural element to this dish, but also adds an amazing subtle flavor that cannot be missed ! And the shrimps, so juicy and succulent, after absorbing all those beautiful aromatics! Simply yummmm! If you love okra, then do try out this simple and quick recipe! It’s best paired with Goan red boiled rice, which is supposed to be healthier than the normal white rice, as the red rice is not processed, keeping all the nutrients intact. However, regular rice and bread are great accompaniments too!

I love having this curry along with some hot, steamed rice, a piece of semolina coated, fried pomfret/ king fish/ mackeral and a simple stir fry veggie. This curry taste even better the next day as the flavors deepen. People often have it for breakfast with some ‘pao’ (bread)! The recipe below is the way my mum in law makes it with minimal spices, yet absolutely no compromise in the flavors! My mum makes a slightly different version which I will be sharing in the coming months too 🙂


Recipe courtesy : My mum in law

Ingredients: Measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml

1/2 cup freshly grated coconut

2-3 Kashmiri chillies/1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilly powder

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 big garlic clove/ 2-3 medium garlic cloves

small ball of tamarind

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

8-10 large shrimps, cleaned and deveined, you can add more

100 gms/ 4 oz okra

1/4 cup of coconut milk

1 tablespoon coconut oil/ vegetable oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

salt to taste

pinch of sugar


1. Apply salt to cleaned and deveined shrimp , and set aside for 15 minutes.

2.Wash the okra well, wipe it dry with clean napkin,trim the edges cut into 1 to 1 & 1/2  inch pieces and set aside.

3. In your food processor/ mixer, add the grated coconut,  red chillies, coriander seeds, garlic cloves, tamarind and turmeric and make a smooth paste using sufficient amount of water.

4. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan, add onions and saute on medium heat until translucent.

5. Add the ground masala paste and saute until the masala starts bubbling and oozing out oil.

6. Rinse the grinder jar with water ( about 1/2 cup) add this to the above mixture, add another cup of water or adjust as per desired consistency of gravy. Let everything come to a boil.

7. Add the cut okra pieces and cook for another 10 minutes on medium low heat or until okra is tender.

8. Add the marinated shrimps and cook until they are done, about 5 minutes. Check for seasoning, since we already added salt to the prawns, if required add more salt, a pinch of sugar to balance out everything.

9. Add coconut milk and let the gravy come to a boil. Done. Serve with steamed rice.


1. Post updated with new images.

2. You can skip the coconut milk, and increase more of the freshly grated coconut.

3. When I first published this post, I had mentioned to sauté the shrimps after sautéing the onions. However, I’ve changed that step and added the shrimps towards the end just after the okra is almost done. I prefer the shrimps to be just about done, hence added it last. If you prefer to fry it along with the onions, you may do so.

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  1. Loretta says:

    Ha ha love the konkani words, I can understand most words but can’t speak it. This has to be a favorite though. I just made salmon with okra the other day with similar spices. Do you actually buy a full coconut and grind it accordingly? Wow, I’ve never tried that. I know they do in Goa though.

    • Freda @ Aromatic essence says:

      Haha! Thanks so much Loretta 🙂 I learnt Konkani from my grandma but can’t speak fluently , I understand most of it though! My mom is from the north Goa and dad from south Goa, Konkani differs to a great extent in both these regions! I don’t understand much oh the southern Konkani . About the coconut , yes I do get the whole coconut , and grate it . Sometimes I just scoop out the flesh,break them into smaller pieces and grind them or else I grate it , I got this grater from Mumbai meant for grating coconuts .. I grate and freeze them in ziplock bags, comes quite handy 🙂 a tedious task , I know !

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