Okra and Potato in thick savory sauce (Aloo Bhindi Masala)
Okra is one of the Indian vegetables my kids love. Okra stir fry is their favorite. I do plant them in my backyard summer garden and it is one of the crops that needs little attention and yields lot, if planted under full sun and watered regularly.
My first cooking experience with Okra gives me chuckle. College days in the hostel were horrible when you think about the cafeteria food. Going out on the weekends to get some restaurant food was like Oasis in the desert for us. The very thought of Vegetarian food we used to get from the restaurant on the weekends makes me drool even now. Getting bored of the monotonous food from hostel, I and my other 2 friends decided to do some cooking experiment. I was the only one who had no knowledge in that area and other 2 claimed to have some experience though. We had a stove and I am not sure if we borrowed from some other friends who had already experimented their cooking skills in their room, which I believe was not allowed in the room....Shhhhh !!!! We decided to stir fry some Okra and added water to pre-cook Okra before stir frying. Those who already have experience with Okra can guess what would have happened. Long story short, we ended up with a slimy, liquid form of gooey Okra which we dumped into the trash. We, the 3 amateur cooks thus learned one of the basic cooking tactics about Okra that day. Couple of years ago, we had a get together at Niagara with my 2 friends and our families. We couldn't stop laughing about our fun and adventurous cooking experiments we secretly conducted in our hostel room. This recipe is for my 2 friends, whom I shared good memorable fun filled 3 years of College/hostel life together.
This is an Indian recipe and goes well with Indian flat bread (Rotti/Chapathi) or even with rice.
Servings - 4
25 - small/medium size Okra washed , pat dried and cut into round pieces
2 tbsp - Oil
Salt to taste
2 - Medium red onions
2 - Medium tomatoes
2 - Small Potatoes cut into 1 inch thick pieces
5 cloves - Garlic crushed or chopped
2 tsp - Chopped ginger
2 - Green chili split into half
1/2 tsp - Chili Powder
1/2 tsp - Coriander Powder
1 tsp - Garam Masala (mixture of Cinnamon, cloves, fennel, aniseed, Cardamom)
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
1/4 cup - Chopped Cilantro
1/2 tsp - Mustard seeds
1 tbsp - Oil
Salt to taste
- Take a non-stick/cast iron pan and add 2 tbsp oil and wait till the oil is hot. Add the Okra with salt and stir fry over a medium flame till it is not slimy, stirring occasionally. Drain excess oil if any, on a paper towel and keep it aside.
- Use the same pan and add 1 tbsp of oil and add the mustard seeds to it. Wait till the mustard seeds splutters. Add the chopped garlic and ginger, followed by onions and cut potatoes and cook till golden brown.
- Add all the powder ingredients and cook till the raw smell is gone.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and green chili and cook covered till it is soft and the potatoes are well cooked.
- Gently fold in the Okra and mix with the masala and cook uncovered for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Serve the warm dish with Indian flat bread Roti/Chapathi.
- When frying Okra, make sure you don't overcrowd the Okra in the pan, it might end up in slimy Okra. If needed saute them in batches. I used a wide cast iron pan which is a good non-stick by nature and fried them in 2 batches using 1 tbsp of oil for each batch. You may have to adjust the oil depending on the type of pan you are using.
- No water is needed for this dish. It is supposed to have thick dry gravy.
- My younger kids don't handle spicy or hot dishes that well, so I go low on spices. Do adjust the spices and heat as per your tolerance.