Crispy Okra and Potatoes – Gujarati style
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Okra, also known as Bhindi in Hindi and Bhinda in Gujarati wasn’t always as favored a vegetable as it is for me today. Firstly, it was green. And as children, didn’t we all find anything green, ooky? Secondly, it was slimy. And that directly put this vegetable in the never-touch-this-or-you-will-puke category at the dinner table. My mother tried to force me to eat it, coming up with ways to make it yummier for me.
As an adult, I learned that the only way I enjoy okra is when it is cooked till crispy, lightly spiced and garnished with copious amounts of coriander and lemon juice. Cooking the okra till crispy ensures they are not slimy. In South India, crispy okra is used as a side dish to yogurt-rice and other rice dishes. The Gujarati’s, make it crispy too, but with potatoes and lightly flavored with onions and spices. My version is an in-between.
I love using fresh okra as they have the best flavor. If you’re pressed for time, you can also use the frozen variety that comes sliced and ready to use, found in most grocery stores. This recipe serves 2.
You will need:
- 1 pound fresh or frozen okra, cleaned (and thawed) and sliced to 1/2 inch rounds
- 2 medium sized potatoes, cut in small pieces
- 1 large frying pan
- 1/4 large onion, finely chopped
- Vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Chili powder
- 1 tsp Dhania-Zeera powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Chopped cilantro leaves and lemon juice for garnishing
- Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. When well heated, add the sliced okra. Stir-fry, without mashing the okra, on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Then, put a lid on the frying pan and allow to fry till golden brown and no longer slimy, stirring occasionally. This should take around 15 – 20 minutes. Take care not to burn the okra
- When cooked, remove the okra on a tissue
- Heat about 1 tbsp oil in the same pan and fry the potatoes in it, till they are golden brown. Remove and place on a tissue
- Now heat about 1/2 tbsp of oil, and when heated, add the cumin seeds
- When the cumin seeds begin to crackle, add the onions and let them soften on low-to medium heat.
- When the onions are translucent, add all the dry spices. Mix well and add in the fried okra & potatoes. Mix well and add salt to taste
- Finally, garnish with a handful of chopped coriander or cilantro leaves. Add lemon juice if desired.