Ginger Flashed Okra
The week had been heavy in so many ways. The sky had been pregnant with rain in between bouts of sticky city humidity. ‘To Do’ lists seemed to grow by the inch by the hour. Misunderstandings had taken place between friends and a couple of quiet beers turned into the inevitable, notching up units like they were loyalty points. Light lunches became gourmand tapas experiences, followed by steak frites in the evening. Late night edits were fuelled by lamb shish served by a conveyor belt of Turkish cooks heaping lettuce, tomato, cucumber, chilli sauce...the works.
Meated out and defeated by the weight of one of those weeks I was desperate to rip into the light fantastic rather than simply trip into it. I neededthe comfort of food designed to cleanse away the scales of the week and wipe clean the lethargy of a largely carnivorous diet. Like the work of my infant school nurse, Mrs Ambrose and her big Jamaican heart I required care and a remedy.
Reaching into the fridge for inspiration and a cathartic solution my hands drifted across fat but lonely tomatoes, knobbly ginger as if created by a caricature artist, and a bag of elegantly slim ladies fingers/okra. Time to create an old family favourite Bhindi Masala, quick, clean, light, packed with earthy spices and deliciously fresh. The wisdom of St Aretha Franklin’s rendition of Let it Be confirmed my choice.
Pan in hand and on the hob, the washed and chopped ingredients practised their sizzling harmonies. In no time at all the trio of red gold and green pop, shout and scream...I am okra curry, eat me for I am delicious and nutritious. My subservient hunger obeyed. This bhindi curry deserves to be savoured, carefully masticated.
However if you need to shovel food into your system I’d recommend a jar of fraudulent taste mixed by Lloyd Grosman’s factories accompanied by anaemic chicken and served with a bowl of Uncle Ben’s bleached rice. But then again you deserve more.
Serve as a main with flatbread or as a side.
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 3 inches of fresh root ginger
- 3 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 2 green chillies
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 400 gms of okra
- 2 fat tomatoes chopped, keep seeds and skin
- 4 tbs Olive oil
This spiced okra curry is so straightforward it’s laughable. Over a medium heat fry the oil and then pop in the mustard seeds, when they pop add the cumin seeds for a minute and slide in the onions and garlic. Let the onions soften until opaque, drop in the chillies and ground coriander stir for a couple of minutes coating everything with everything. Now add the ginger and push around the pan vigorously the aroma will assault you and when it does it’s time to introduce the okra. Like ladies fingers they’re delicate and need to be treated with care. So gently push them around the pan, for around two minutes until they’re turning a deeper shade of green, add a dash of salt and the tomatoes for sharpness and cook over a high heat for a further five to six minutes. The bhindi should feel on the verge of al dente, but not stringy. The bhindi curry is now ready to eat.
This recipe’s great on the liver full of healing ingredients and easy to digest.
Jamal, good to hear you’re keeping the curry faith…you might enjoy some of the other veg dishes on here, take a look at the courgette sabzi - http://www.urbanrajah.com/how-to-make-Indian-curry/courgette-sabzi