I grew up eating Okra prepared the same way, every time, all the time. It soon became painful and my fondness for Okra ended pretty much permanently. In the last few years , I have mostly ignored cooking it. Untill a few days ago, when my friend A also said a firm NO to my offer of cooking Okra for her.That got me thinking. How could I make it more pleasing to the pallette, surely something could be done? I sat and brainstormed and the result was this recipe. Flavoured with a simple spice blend and stir fried in a mushy tomato paste. Finished off with just a dash of lemon juice. If you have a painful association with Okra, I think this recipe will undo all that damage!
Fresh tender Okra/Bhindi: 1/2 kilo
Tomato: 1 large, chopped fine
Ginger/Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Corriander seeds: 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Dry, whole red chillis: 4-5 (or less if you want)
Turmeric powder: about 1 tsp, levelled
Salt to taste
Oil for frying : 5 tbsp+3tbsp
Fresh lemon juice: 1-2 tsp
Wash and pat dry the Okra. Cut in to inch long pieces. Smear with a little salt and the turmeric powder. In a 'kadai' (Indian wok) , heat about 5 tbsp of oil. Now add the chopped Okra. Saute for five minutes on high flame. Keep aside.
PS- I forgot to put turmeric in the Okra myself. So anyway, added it while I was frying it. No harm done.
In the same wok, heat the remaining 3tbsp of oil. Once heated through, add ginger/garlic paste and saute. Keep the flame on medium. Brown the paste and once the raw smell of the paste is gone, tip in the tomatoes. At this point increase the flame to high and keep sauteing. After about five minutes, the tomatoes will start to get mushy. We need to get a jam like consistency, you can flatten the tomato mixture with the back of your spatula.
PS- again, I forgot to first brown my ginger/garlic paste. So added it as and when I remembered. Again, no harm done. It all has to get squishy-sqaushy anyway.
Now add the Okra which you had kept aside. Also sprinkle over this, your spice powder and mix thoroughly. Season with salt. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes on very low flame. By now the Okra and tomatoes will both be cooked through. You will notice that Okra will also not be slimy-sticky. This is because we had pan fried it lightly in tumeric already! Just before serving warm, drizzle a bit of fresh lemon juice.
Serve with any Indian bread and Dal fry.