As you can see, I’ve had my hands pretty full recently… This curry from the wonderful Prashad cookbook has become an absolute life saver – I find myself purchasing okra on a weekly basis just to make it, and it literally takes little more effort than slicing up those verdant fingers, frying and stirring in spices plus tinned tomatoes (I must confess to not following the recipe to the letter. I don’t bother with the 24 hr drying out bit and and instead of frying the okra and removing, I just leave it in and add everything else. It’s still the best okra dish I’ve ever tasted).
I enjoy mine with wholegrain basmati and natural yoghurt on the side while my baby father likes his with melted Red Leicester in a curried cheese toastie. Either way, it’s an excellent way to enjoy a bit of bhindi.
fenugreek, tomato and okra curry – taken from Prashad by Kaushy Patel
175ml sunflower oil
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
1 x 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes, finely chopped or blended
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. tumeric
2-4 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 handfuls fresh coriander, finely chopped
3-4 fresh, green chillies, seeds left in
3-4 cloves garlic
pinch of salt
Wash and carefully dry the okra. Trim the tops, cut into 1cm chunks, spread out on a baking tray and leave uncovered to oxidise and dry for about 24 hours.
When you are ready to cook, crush the chillies and garlic together with a pinch of salt using a pestle and mortar or a blender, to make a fine masala paste.
Heat 150 ml of the oil in a large lidded frying pan for about 1 minute over a high heat, then add the okra chunks and fry for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. They will sizzle and spit, as this process part-cooks them and removes any remaining moisture, which in turn helps them to absorb the spices and other flavours. Remove the okra from the pan a spoonful at a time, squeezing against the side of the pan to drain off any excess oil and put back on the baking tray.
Add the remaining 25ml of oil to the pan containing the okra-infused oil. Heat it over a medium heat for 30 seconds, then add the fenugreek and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, stir in the asafoetida and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the masala paste, salt, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and half the fresh coriander. Cook uncovered for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, while the herbs and spices infuse the sauce.
Return the okra to the pan and gently stir into the sauce, taking care not to break the delicate pieces as they add to the texture and structure of the dish. Cover and simmer for about 4 minutes over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and leave to rest, covered for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Reheat over a low heat, sprinkle with the remaining chopped coriander and serve.