Bhindi-a la-Alya (okra for the unawares)

Arright kids, let’s just get straight to it today.  Alya’s got a slight cold and headache (read as hugely debilitating for a whiny sod like myself hehe) and wishes she could just stay away from the computer for a few days.  Not likely, as everything that isn’t home-related is writing-related in this life o’mine, but still. Sometimes it’s just best to keep things short.  That’s a huge proclamation from such a long-winded lass, let me tell ya.

So, I said I made bhindi, and voila! Bhindi-as-attempted-by-Alya you now have at your disposal.  I wouldn’t necessarily say okra is one of my favorite vegetables—I’m discovering that I enjoy so many!—but it does have a great flavor, and if you can get rid of the stickiness, it has a lovely bite as well.  But don’t overcook it so it’s super mushy and loses its okra-integrity.  You not only disrespect the harmless veggie and turn it an unappealing shade of brownish-greenish-unhappiness, but you are relegated to eating mush as well.  Unless you lost your teeth in a saloon brawl, I don’t think you want that.

Ingredients

  • Roughly a pound of okra, chopped into small rounds (or you can buy the chopped frozen kind)
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced/crushed/minced/whatever
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander
  • Ground cloves
  • 1 tp chili powder
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • salt
  • Lemon, lemon, more lemon (ok not so much lemon)

I’m beginning to love the taste of red onions.  I started using them mainly because the husband prefers them, and while some dishes I believe should stay firmly in the yellow or white onion category, it wouldn’t hurt a person to adventure out from their norm and try a new flavor.  If you really enjoy onion flavors, then this is especially for you, as it has a strong tangy taste once caramelized.

Allright, so sweat out those onions in a pot with some olive oil and the ginger and garlic.  They will turn a translucent purplish color, which is really quite lovely.  Once it all melts down a bit (make sure not to burn the garlic!) add the spices: turmeric, chili flakes, cumin, coriander (probably 2 tsp actually), a sprinkling of ground cloves (or a smidge of garam masala if you don’t have cloves) and mix it up something good, reducing the heat so the flavors meld into those onions in culinary matrimony.

Separately, lightly fry your okra in a little bit of oil, squeezing a bunch of lemon juice on top. The purpose is the remove all the stickiness, because you will find that okra when chopped releases a viscous liquid that attaches to everything, the spatula, the pan, each other…  In fact, be careful with rinsing okra because overdoing it will engage the evil substance further and quicken the disintegration process of the okra.  The lemon neutralizes that, so squeeze and lightly toss, squeeze some more, lightly toss more.  Keep the heat on low and just let it simmer on all sides, flipping only occasionally.

Eventually it will be remarkably less sticky—if you’ve done it right, you’ll have nice rounds still instead of mush with seed remains lying about. Lovely image I know.  Sprinkle about half the mustard seeds and some salt on top and lightly fry it for another minute, so the seeds don’t get burnt.  Then add everything to the onions and mix it up something proper.

Finally, sprinkle the remaining mustard seeds on top, with a little dash of chili powder here and there.  I didn’t even mention salt, which you’ll want to add to your liking as well.  I just figure people will do that.  I don’t like a lot of salt myself, but I always have to add more for the Gman.

Anyhoo, there ya go.  Bhindi-a la-Alya.

Linked to: Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent Linky Party

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2 thoughts on “Bhindi-a la-Alya (okra for the unawares)

  1. Your combination of spices looks yummy. I’m going to have to try this, but truthfully it will be with a veg that’s not okra – it looks like it will work on anything so I’ll try it with a fav.Thanks for sharing, I just picked up a bunch of veggies (oooh, how about potatoes cooked this way ..).

    • Yeah you could try it with any veggie–okra has a distinctive flavor and texture that can either be a hit or miss with people. Potatoes would be good, I’d also consider trying it with eggplant or squash.

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