Okra is originally from Africa, but is now widely used in many other cuisines, especially in India where it is also known as bhindi or ladies’ fingers.
My mum would make deep fried okra which was loved by all. She’d slit them in half, make a runny gram flour batter with chilli and spices, dip the okra and fry in sunflower oil and then sprinkle with mango powder before serving the crispy bhindi with chai.
Another way she’d cook with it is by trimming both ends and chopping up, adding ginger powder, anardana (pomegranate seed) powder and turmeric, stir frying and adding salt at the end.
She would make quite a similar recipe to the one I’ve written, and when she had left over vegetables she would make a mixed vegetable sabzi.
Okra if not cooked properly can be very slimy – I couldn’t eat it like this while I was growing up. If I went out to someone else’s house and okra was on the menu and it looked slimy, I would say I was allergic to it.
I try it many different ways but always come back to this one as it goes so well with chapati and dal. To me, it’s just heaven!
50g creamed coconut
5 medium red onions, sliced
4 green chillies, sliced, with seeds
15g peeled and grated ginger
500g okra, washed, dried, topped and tailed and sliced into 3cm pieces
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Heat a large wok or frying pan over a medium heat. Add the creamed coconut and once the coconut turns into oil add the cumin seeds.
Once the cumin seeds start sizzling, add the grated ginger and cook for a minute. Then add the sliced onions, cooking until soft and light brown which takes about 5-6 minutes on high, stirring all the time.
Add turmeric, coriander powder, pomegranate molasses and tomato purée and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the green chillies and okra and cook further for another 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once soft serve with chapati.
Romy Gill’s restaurant is in Thornbury (Romyskitchen.co.uk). Follow her on instagram @romygill
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