Okra Curry

Perhaps you thought, as I did, that the South had the market cornered on recipes using okra.  Not so fast!  Okra is found in many Asian cuisines as well.  While trying to find a way to use some fresh local okra and potatoes, I came across a description for an Indian dish called Masala Bindhi.  I love cooking Indian food – it is fresh, healthy, almost always gluten free, and, of course, has a ton of flavor!

 
This recipe is super simple and doesn’t take very long to cook so I decided to start by making a spiced brown rice to serve under the curry.  
 
To make the rice: 
 
Finely chop 1 jalapeno pepper and 3 to 5 cloves of garlic, saute in olive oil.  Add 1 cup of brown rice (I love basmati), coat the rice in olive oil and let it cook for a couple of minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon garam masala (this spice combination is easily found at most food stores these days).   Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 45 minutes.
 
To make the curry: 
 
Ingredients: 
 
Okra (about 1/2 to 1 pound – see photo above)
1 large white potato, peeled and diced
1/2 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, diced
1 large tomato, diced
Olive oil for cooking
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric (if you have it)
 
If you aren’t a fan of okra, chances are it is because you find it gummy.  I promise you that okra does not have to be that way.  First, make sure your your okra is dry and don’t let it come into contact with liquid for too long.  For this recipe, I thinly sliced my okra and then quickly sauteed it in about 1 to 2 tablespoons of hot olive oil (just enough to almost coat the bottom of my pan). I let it cook for about 5 minutes – turning it so it got a little bit of brown – and then removed the okra from the pan and set it aside.  
 
Heat a little more olive oil if necessary and add the garlic, onion and tomato.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the tomato breaks down and melds with the onion.  Add the spices and the chopped potato.  If your potato pieces are small enough, the potato will not take very long to cook.  At the very end, once the potato is cooked well enough to your taste (about 7 minutes) add the okra back into the pot.  Mix well and let it heat through.  
 
This is a very light and fresh vegetarian meal.  You could easily add another tomato if you would like your curry a little more “saucy.”  Serve over rice.  Enjoy!    

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