This Okra Chilli fry is quick and easy to make and normally served as a vegetable side dish for lunch in most Goan households. This is the prefect recipe if you’re watching your cholesterol.
ALL ABOUT OKRA
Originally from Africa or Asia, okra a tropical plant is now widely used in cuisines such as Caribbean, Creole, Cajun and Indian. It’s also known as bhindi or lady’s fingers, in reference to its long, elegantly tapering shape.
Its flavour is quite subtle, so it benefits from being cooked with strong, spicy ingredients.
Ridged along its length, the green, slightly fuzzy pod contains rows of edible seeds that release a mucilaginous (sticky, viscous) liquid when chopped and cooked, which has led to it being used to thicken soup and stew recipes, such as Cajun gumbo, but it’s also served whole as a side dish.
Acidity of any form like lime or lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, kokum, etc. helps in cutting down or reducing the mucilaginous liquid which oozes as soon as the okra is slit or cut.
PRO TIP: Never wash okra as they absorb water instantly, instead wipe them with a damp cloth to clean them. This is good if you're making a crispy fried version of the same.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF OKRA
Okra is known to have various health benefits. Okra as a vegetable, has a high content of dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. It also contain potassium, calcium, folic acid, Vitamin B and Vitamin C. Okra is a low calorie vegetable that lowers heart disease risk and it is good for those with diabetes.
I know of many people with diabetes who cut the okra head off and submerge the okra head downwards over night in a glass of water. This water is then drunk first thing in the morning. This helps in keeping diabetes under control to some extend.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO COOK OKRA
Okra can be cooked and added to a prawn coconut-based curry like its done in Goa. It can also be deep fried until it crisps up and then followed by the addition of some dry masalas. Okra can be turned into a pickle or even grilled.
Also see: Grilled okra with recheado masala
OKRA CHILLI FRY
- 250 gms Okra cut diagonally into inch pieces
- 2 nos Red Onions medium sized, thinly sized
- 1 nos Tomato finely sliced lengthwise, medium sized
- 3 cloves Garlic finely minced
- ½ inch Ginger finely minced
- 1-2 nos Green chillies slit lengthwise, depends on preference
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds black or brown
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- ½ tsp Red chilli powder
- ½ tsp Garam masala
- Salt to taste
- 4-5 nos Kokum
- Wipe each Okra with a damp cloth or wash under cold running water. Then slice the hard heads off and diagonally cut each okra in one inch sized pieces. Set aside.
- Thinly slice the onions, tomatoes and green chillies. Finely mince the ginger and garlic. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan or wok over a medium heat. When hot, but not smoking add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them crackle.
- Next add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Sauté for a minute. Do not let it burn.
- Now add the onions and tomatoes along with the okra and give it a good toss. Stir fry for about two mins on a medium high heat. Do not forget to add the kokum. This avoids the stickiness.
- Now lower the heat. Cover it and cook for 5-7 mins. Add the other dry ingredients and salt to taste.
- This dish can be served with steamed rice and some dal.
- Other alternatives to kokum can be some tamarind juice or few drops of vinegar.
- This is generally cooked and eaten fresh but if stored properly can be refrigerated for up to two days.
- This dish can also be eaten with some naan or whole wheat chapatis or rotis.
- You can also toss in some freshly grated coconut for some extra flavour when making this recipe.
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Definitely give this recipe a try in this quarantined period as we all have some extra time at our disposal. Also, Okra is good to build your immunity.
Until next time…Ciao!