Today’s guest post is part 4 in the series “Rani in the Kitchen”, written by my friend Amy. Click here for parts 1-3.
Today’s recipe is a fantastic north Indian recipe I received from Jay’s mom and it is a true culinary adventure. If you’re not from the Southern part of the U.S. (or even if you are!) you initially may be a little put-off by this Bhindi Masala (Okra Masala) recipe. Trust me though, I have had avowed okra-haters rave about this recipe and there is one reason – it is not as gooey as southern Okra recipes often are- and tastes ten times better. The reason the okra is not gooey is because of the way you dry, cut, and saute the okra. The recipe takes some time – usually an hour or so – but I find cutting the Okra (the most time consuming part) a methodical and peaceful exercise. So turn on some music, get out your Indian spices, and get ready to cook something new and different!
Most of you should be able to find fresh Okra at any major supermarket. If you’re local supermarket does not have it, an Indian supermarket surely will. Do not use frozen okra, it just does not turn out the same. When selecting Okra, look for green pods that are tender, but not too soft or tough. This recipe goes really well with Indian bread (Naan or Roti). I always buy the Indian breads -maybe this blog is an excuse to start making them!
1 lb of fresh okra
4 oz of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 large yellow onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves of garlic (or teaspoon of garlic paste if you have it)
2 tablespoons of ground coriander
2 tablespoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of red chili powder (more or less if you like it more spicy)
1 and 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
2 oz of canned tomato paste
1) Wash and individually dry very very well each piece of Okra. (I use paper towels).
2) Cut off the tops and the tips (tails) of the Okra and cut the okra into 1/2 inches pieces wiping the knife with a paper towel in between each slice. It is important to wipe the knife while cutting the Okra.
3) Put the Okra in a dish and sprinkle with black pepper.
5) Peel and mince the garlic (or use garlic paste).
6) Heat the oil in the sauce pan on medium-high heat, and fry the onion and garlic until they are softened.
7) Add the coriander, chili powder, and garam masala and cook for another minute. Stir well to ensure the spices do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
8) Add the Okra and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the Okra starts to char or blacken a bit. Gently turn the okra as you are cooking it, but be careful not to crush the it- otherwise this makes it mushy.
9) Add the tomato paste and gently toss with the Okra. This is suppose to be a dry curry, but you can add a little (couple of tablespoons) of hot water if it appears to be sticking to the pan. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the Okra is soft and brown.
10) Add the salt at the end of the recipe as the salt tends to draw out moisture.
11) Garnish with chopped clinatro if you have some!