So I went back after the last post and thought to myself: why? Why would I write such an incomplete, mediocre post? What is so special about it? My less than good post was soon run down to the ground and I even toyed with the idea of deleting it but then, you need to begin somewhere. Now that 101 is behind me, I am going to forget it and move on.
Okra or Lady’s finger (as we call it in India), is a wonderful, wonderful vegetable. When we were young eons ago, my sister and I would eagerly wait for okra day every week. Amma would make curry, Sambar (lentil gravy) or sometimes Raita out of it and oh, how tasty it will all be! In fact, my sister loved it so much as a child that she would have eaten lady’s finger everyday if she had been given the choice… but she wasn’t. Moving South now, I notice every grocery store stocking up okra in their frozen and non frozen vegetable isles, something new to me. In DC, we had to go to an Asian store to buy okra.
So hoping you do find the veggie in your grocery store, I write this entry for an easy peasy Okra curry. My mother’s okra curry will always be the right amount of crispy/tender. No matter how bad a day she would have in the kitchen, no matter how many diabetic people lived in the house, her curry will always turn out perfect and healthy. So after a couple of failed attempts (only a couple since I am not that hopeless in kitchen), I learned to make the perfect curry. The one tip that I did make myself follow (a sensible one we all learn in the kitchen) is to not treat oil as my best friend. I denounced over using the pepper powder too.
Onion one head chopped (optional)
Okra one lb ends cut off and chopped into (not too) thin pieces. It takes a long time but it is so worth it.
Salt, turmeric and cayenne pepper to taste
Oil two tbsp
Mustard one teaspoon
Urad Dal one teaspoon
Asafoetida a sprinkle
Pour a tbsp oil in a saute pan. When it heats up, add the mustard, Dal and asafoetida. When the mustard crackles and they Dal turns golden-brown, turn it to medium and add the tumeric, then the cayenne pepper and then the salt (in that order). If you are using the onion, add it to the pan and fry for two minutes. It doesn’t need to completely cook since it will continue cooking after we add the okra. Now add the okra, mix it all together. Turn the heat on to high briefly, for five minutes. Now turn it back to medium low. They key to crisp/tender okra is patience. Don’t saute it regularly because the okra pieces tend to break and you will end up with gooey, not so awesome curry.
Practice the art of zen and you will end up with awesome food. Saute it once in three minutes so that the okra doesn’t burn. It will be done in 10 minutes. You can eat it with lightly buttered rice, with an accompaniment of slightly salted yogurt or treat it as a side for Roti. Either way, this will taste unimaginably yummy. It wasn’t difficult, was it, now?