This was my first favorite way to eat okra (now I usually just grill it). The first time I ever ate okra was this curry – in Fiji, with a friend of a friend’s mother, one of those random connections you make when traveling. We went shopping, saw a Hindi movie, and had this okra dish along with a tasty goat curry for lunch. It made quite an impression. This recipe is based on one from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, my favorite Indian cookbook. The key is to fry the okra until it’s quite dry and no longer slimy.
Okra grows really well here, thriving when other crops wilt from the heat. I put it right against south facing adobe wall of my house. It’s so productive, you have to pick the new pods almost every day, or they get too big and become woody. When choosing okra at the market, look for smaller pods which are the most tender, and gently bend the tips of larger pods to make sure they aren’t woody. Frost Hill Farm has had great okra all summer, and I recently bought some gorgeous red okra from Chispas Farm.
2 T. oil
1 t. cumin seeds
1 lb. okra, cut into ½-inch chunks
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground ciriander
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. lemon juice
Heat the oil in a wide skillet on medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and fry until lightly browned, about 10 seconds. Turn the heat down to medium and add the okra and onions, spreading them out in an even layer. Fry, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until the pieces are browned and the okra has lost its sliminess. Add the spices and lemon juice and cook another 5 minutes, stirring gently. Serve hot, with rice and some dal (lentils) or a meat dish (or just a pork chop). Serves 4.
Blogger Amy White is totally obsessed with vegetables and fruits. Amy can be found every Friday right here, and on her blog, www.veggieobsession.com.
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