These have to be cooked when they are fresh – Did you know that picking okra is an art? yes I remember my mom buying okras from the ladies who cam around selling them, freshly plucked on their baskets balanced so casually on their heads! We could literally smell the freshness and see the green caterpillars that made their way into the basket too … My mom would bend the tip of the okra and if they snapped off easily, they were tender and fresh – If they bent without breaking, they are over ripe or -Moothal so we would not take those.
We are not so lucky now, but I am thankful that I can get the veggie at all — The indian stores here are not fond of people testing the tips of the veggie so I gently squeeze on the belly and see if it crackles or remains soft and submissive – you want submission, people!
Anyway, this is not news to Indians, but I thought my “foreign” friends woul be happy for this info. I know most of my friends from the ‘south” make gumbo soup with this … here is another way to consider using this fine veggie!
To serve 6-8 people
3lbs of Okra
2 tablespoons of oil
2 whole red chillies (optional)
3 tsp of curry powder (or sambar powder)
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
a pinch of asafoetida
Wash and cut the heads and tips of the okra
Cut them into small cylindrical shapes
Heat most of the oil in a big pan, pop the mustard seeds,
Add the turmeric, the red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves
Add the cut okra and stir it into the oil
Close with lid and cook for 3 minutes
Stir again and cook closed for 2 more minutes
Add the curry powder and salt
After adding, add the last bit of oil and keep open and roast briefly, making sure to maintain the greenness of the veggie.
Serve with phulkashttp://priyasnowserving.blogspot.com/2011/01/phulkas-or-whole-wheat-chappatis-indian.html) ( and dal or any which way you fancy it – remember the love you cook finds its way into the bellies of loved ones :))