Friday, July 30, 2010

Sweet and Sour Okra (Kutchhi Bhindi)

If you live in Missouri, you have the great opportunity to buy tons and tons of locally grown okra during mid- to late summer. I didn't come to appreciate this great Southern vegetable until I moved to Mid-MO, but now I'm absolutely crazy about it, thanks in large part to this recipe. I got this recipe from Sandy Camargo several years back, and I believe she originally got it from one of Madhur Jaffrey's many cookbooks. (On Jaffrey currently has 33 individual titles available!)

Be sure to pick the smallest okras you can find, as the larger ones tend to get woody and less pleasant to eat. I usually just serve this with brown rice for a simple family meal, but it can also be combined with other Indian dishes for a larger and fancier meal. You can also add chicken or tofu to the recipe for protein.

Serves 4-6

Spice Mix -- Blend into a paste in blender:

7 cloves garlic, peeled
1 whole, dried hot chili
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. ground turmeric
3 T. water

Lemon Juice Mixture - Combine in a bowl:

1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
4 t. lemon juice
4 T. water

Other Ingredients:
4 T. vegetable oil
1 t. whole cumin seeds
14 oz. okra, trimmed and cut into 3/4" slices [n.b. If the okra are small you don't need to slice them]

Heat oil in 9” skillet over medium flame. Add whole cumin. When they sizzle, turn heat down a bit and add spice mix. Stir and fry about one minute. Add okra and lemon juice mixture. Stir to mix and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or until okra are tender. If your okra takes longer to cook, you might need to add a little more water.

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