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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Food: Recipe For Lizzy

Don't know if you like okra, but it's a wonderful source of nutritional goodness. High in Vitamins A, various Bs, C, E, K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and with selenium, zinc, copper, and iron, but no sodium. Also low in fat. And a wonderful summer treat.

Most folks who don't like okra say it's slimy. Cooking technique makes all the difference. To make non-slimy okra, use this recipe.

Okra with tomatoes

1 lb. okra
2-3 ripe tomatoes
1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. kalonji
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. red chilli powder, or to taste
salt to taste
2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil

Wash okra and spread on a towel, or several paper towels, and let dry thoroughly before cooking (should probably do this 1-2 hours before). When okra is dry, use a dry knife and a dry cutting board to remove the tails and tips of the okra. Slit lengthwise in quarters from about 1/2 inch below the top to the tail. This will cause the okra to open like a flower when cooking.

In a dry container, toss the okra with salt, turmeric, and chilli powder to taste.

Chop the tomatoes roughly and set aside.

Heat oil (make sure you use a wok or skillet with a lid!) until smoking, then add spice seeds and cover for about 2 minutes. The seeds will pop. Carefully lift the cover so that it faces away from you (to protect yourself from overenthusiastic flying spice seeds). Toss in the okra, stir to mix the spice seeds, turn the heat down to low and stir occasionally to keep the okra from burning. When the okra turns bright green, add tomatoes. Stir and cover for about two minutes, then remove the lid and stir and let cook till okra and tomatoes are soft and collapsed, about 15 minutes. The tomatoes should form a very tiny quantity of sauce, but the okra will not be slimy.

If you don't like okra, I'll just have to post you something else. Black mustard seed and kalonji are both available from any Indian grocery store or online at Dean and DeLuca or Penzey's spices.

Cook's notes: Frying spices can be wonderfully aromatic but also irritating to the nose, so have the fan on.

Once you put the spices in, turn the heat down to medium while they fry.

Use Indian red chilli powder, not the Western style chilli powder, which often contains cumin and other spices.

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At 6:09 AM, Blogger Lizzy said...

Oh, how cool is this? It sounds yummy, too! I actually do like okra, and can get it fresh locally... (Had to look up kalonji in Wikipedia ) Thx!!


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