Everyone should discover and eat more okra. Well that’s what I think at least, and for some reason I’ve always viewed okra as a ‘treat” vegetable. You heard it - a treat! Will get to the treat part in a moment.
Okra is ubiquitous in the South Asian diet and very often is found as a side to an authentic Indian meal or ‘thali’ (stainless steel plate containing various curries and vegetables including rice, a sweet and flatbread). There are so many variations of recipes that use Bhindi (okra) as the main ingredient but most of the time it’s just the okra itself that is simmered, fried, deep-fried, steamed or braised in masala and cooked to perfection. Once you get used to this vegetable you’ll see there is absolutely nothing that can act as a substitute for it and clearly no other vegetable that can stand in its place.
Okra, also referred to as “Lady’s Finger” contains a gooey-like centre membrane that some might argue makes it possibly off-putting. However, when cooked well (um, cooked right) all that gooeyness turns crispy and is utterly delicious making okra highly addictive. So this is where the “treat” part comes in. I always remember having okra cut up into small bits, deep-fried until crispy, served hot tossed in masala and garnished with sea salt. We used to pop these into our mouths just like popcorn! And a plate full would disappear in literally seconds.
Either way, when cooked well and spiced up with masala this can really create an unforgettable Indian meal. Here is a basic Bhindi Masala Recipe that should always be eaten with warm fresh Chapatis.
BHINDI MASALA ~ INDIAN-STYLE SPICED OKRA
METHOD OF PREPARATION:
1) In a frying pan add oil, mustard and cumin seeds. Cover pan with a lid allow mustard seed to pop and cumin seeds to become slightly brown.
2) Add okra, potatoes and onions. Add ARVINDA’S MADRAS MASALA and salt. Mix and stir-fry for a minute.
3) Cover with lid and cook on low heat until potatoes are tender. Uncover and cook until okra is slightly crispy. Serves 4.
1 TBSP. oil
½ TSP. mustard seeds from ARVINDA’S ESSENTIAL WHOLES SPICE KIT
½ TSP. cumin seeds from ARVINDA’S ESSENTIAL WHOLES SPICE KIT
1 LB. fresh okra, cleaned with wet towel, thinly sliced
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 TBSP. ARVINDA’S MADRAS MASALA
1 TSP. salt or salt to taste
This recipe will work equally well with Arvinda’s Curry Masala!