Sunday, February 17, 2008

Okra Masala

Let's cook bhindi today.

Okra (Bhindi) Masala

In India and UK they're called ladies' fingers. Come to think of it they
do resemble thin long fingers of a woman. Okra, as they're called in the
US may not be as charming a name but they taste as good no matter what you
call them. Do you know, gumbo, is another name for this unique vegetable?
Feel free to send your comments on how it turned out for you.


2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 sliced green chili
1 cup cut tomato
1/2 pound fresh okra
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 inch grated ginger

You can substitute 1 packet of frozen cut/whole okra (since okra is seasonal) if you are unable to find fresh okra.

Optional ingredients

1/2 lemon squeezed
2 cloves garlic

Wash the okra. Pat dry with towel or air dry for 30 minutes. Slice them length
wise or circles as you prefer taking the top and bottom off and discarding
it. This dish does not require any water so take care otherwise okra becomes
mushy and sticky. Lemon juice really helps enhance the flavor and keeps the
okra from sticking together and scorching. Saute the onions on medium heat. When they become lightly browned add tomatoes, stir for a few seconds and then add grated ginger, stir, then add okra. Sprinkle chili, salt, turmeric and garlic, lemon. Stir and cover. Cook on low to medium heat for 15 - 20 minutes stirring every once in a while, till they are soft.

Serves four.
Serve hot with chapati.

"The beautiful and the good are identical but the fleeting impressions created by the work of a cook or a musician disperse even as they are being experienced. Raphael's painting The Transfiguration is immortal, but Carême's 'Ragout de truffes à la parisienne' lasts while it is being eaten, just as roses that last as long as their fragrance can be enjoyed."
Lucien Tendret (1825-1896) French lawyer, great-nephew of Brillat-Savarin.

There are numerous ways of making breads or cakes, what defines them is the personal touch we give to them. It could be just that one ingredient that Mom found in the pantry that gives you nostalgia when you eat your Mom's okra, or karela (bitter gourd) or koftas. It might be remniscent of those memories that you might have from childhood that might transport you back to those happy times by just eating one more slice of apple pie or kiwi lime pie.

Happy Cooking!

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