To end our eastern food trend, Punjabi Bhindi Masala (Indian-style spicy okra)
This week, my co-op gave me red okra. I've never heard of such a thing, but it is gorgeous:
I made sauteed okra last week, and the recipe the co-op gave me was too similar. I decided to go with an authentic Indian dish, Punjabi Bhindi Masala. Please visit the recipe's site - it is a great resource for real Indian dishes. There is a difference between Indian dishes that require spices you can find at regular grocery stores, and Indian dishes that require a visit to the Indian store. The latter are worth it! Indian stores, at least in Jacksonville, have really good prices. Tomatoes, even, I found at a good price. I favor Kalyaan Market, for those looking for an Indian store in J-ville.
The first step was to fry the okra in a wok until beginning to soften. Red okra is even more gorgeous when cut - that beautiful color green on the inside looks amazing against the dark red exterior. I almost didn't want to cook them - they turn to the traditional green color when cooked.
The most crucial thing to do when preparing Indian food is to prep all your stages before you begin. I chopped 3 small onions and 3 green chilies before frying the okra, and then gathered my spices while the okra was frying. I know I've mentioned this before, but I love Indian spices. They're beautiful colors, and require usage in a much higher portion than spices in Western food.
The now green okra, softened but with a bit of bite. "Al dente," basically (the etymology of this frequently used cooking term is "with teeth" - meaning you can feel the texture with your teeth, as it requires a 'bite'.)
The okra is then removed from the wok and set aside. With more oil, I cooked cumin seeds until starting to brown, and then added in the onion and chilies. These cooked until yellowed and softened.
Then, my favorite stage - the spices.
I didn't have kasoori methi (fenugreek), so I left it out.
After mixing the spices, I added in 2 chopped tomatoes, covered, and cooked until stew-like. Then, the okra is put back in the wok, covered, and cooked for about 12-15 minutes.
Lastly, I stirred in some garam masala and amchoor powder.
I served with a side of Bombay potatoes. Publix had these packages of Indian side dishes - this one, surprisingly, didn't have a scary ingredient list! I had some red creamer potatoes that I needed to use, so I boiled them and stirred them in with the package's contents. I served the Bhindi Masala over basmati rice. It has a lot of flavor, so the rice helps quell that a bit. (I think I had less okra than the recipe called for, so that was part of the need for a toned-down flavor.)