So nobody told me owning a house would be so much work! We recently found our shower is leaking into the subfloor and the hot water heaters are not getting the water very hot. Fingers crossed that our homeowner warranty will cover some of the repairs if they are costly.
I scored a giant bag of fresh, home grown okra yesterday from a coworker. The wheels of food in my mind immediately began to turn…fried okra? Nah, too heavy. Stew…? Not spicy enough. Curried okra….bingo! Indian food is the holy grail to me. You can work on a dish for hours and have a mediocre result or it can take your taste buds to a whole new level. This okra dish did the latter for me.
I remember the first time I cooked Indian food in college. I threw in a bunch of oil, chicken and spices into something that resembled a cheap wok. The food saturated our small apartment with strange smells as it bubbled up in the kitchen cauldron. The final product looked like a chunky version of the fake puke they used to sell at some gag gift stores. I have come a long way since then.
One of the greatest things about Indian food is taking fresh vegetables and transforming them into a healthy and filling meal with the right ingredients. I use a lot of whole seeds in this recipe (fenugreek, cumin and mustard) and I would recommend doing so to maximize flavor. I often caramelize onions when making the sauce for an Indian curry. For this dish, I cooked them down until they were almost transparent with garlic and ginger and then blended them into a paste.
For the onion-garlic-ginger paste:
- 3tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 large onion, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 inch ginger root, grated
- 1/4 cup water (or as needed to thin out paste)
For the okra:
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 pound fresh okra, chopped (small okras are the most tender)
- 1/2 pound yellow squash
For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 3-4 small dried red peppers (adjust according to your heat preference)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2/3 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/3 tsp garam masala
- 1.5 cups plain yogurt
- 1 cup water
- cilantro for garnish
- Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add onions and cook for 10-12 minutes until they become slightly translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool. Place in a food processor, add a bit of water and puree. Set aside.
- Heat next batch of oil in pan and add okra and squash. Cook for about 7-8 minutes or until the okra is dark green and both veggies have some dark brown crust. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Heat final oil in pan over medium heat and add fenugreek, cumin and mustard seeds. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mustard seeds start to pop. Careful, they might jump out of the pan! Add peppers and cook for another minute. Add onion paste and remaining spices and fry for a few minutes. Add yogurt and stir well. Add okra and squash and simmer on medium low for a few minutes. Add small amounts of water as needed to achieve desired consistency. Serve over white rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.