QUICK OKRA MASALA

SERVES:  3-4 as a side dish

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INGREDIENTS:

175g bhindi / okra / lady fingers ( about 20-25)– washed & dried

150g white onion, peeled

1/2 red pepper

1 medium hot green chilli

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp. olive oil

To serve:

Lemon wedges, Garam or chaat masala. roti

TIME : 15 mins max depending on your knife skills!

METHOD:

Put a frying pan on the stove and pour in the oil to heat on a medium flame.

Halve and slice the onion into half-rings and slice the chilli into fine rings. De-seed the chilli or not depending on your appetite for chilli-heat!

Put them into the pan with the now hot oil together with the dry spices and salt, and give it a good stir.

While the onion and the spices cook off , make sure the okra is thoroughly dry . Dice the red pepper into 1cm pieces. As the onion turns golden, top and tail the okra and slice into 1cm pieces. The okra may start to release its “juice” when cut – work quickly but don’t worry unduly about it. Toss the okra and pepper into the pan with the onions and spices and stir constantly for a minute or two to ensure all the okra pieces are coated with a fine layer of oil . Stir fry until okra is cooked and the onions start to caramelise — this should take no longer than a further 5-6 minutes , although it’s a fairly forgiving dish if you cook it a bit longer.

That’s pretty much it!

Just check for seasoning ( you can add more salt if you need at this stage) although remember the lemon and chaat masala will add further spice at the dinner table.

The trick:

Make sure the okra is totally dry before you cut and add it to the pan , otherwise you will end up with a gooey slimy mess. If this happens , all is not lost , you can try and ( mostly , not perfectly ) neutralise it with lemon juice , but that will make the dish much more tangy —I love tangy… not everyone does!

Variations:

Add julienned ginger with the onions

Add diced tomatoes ( deseeded) with the onions — but make very sure all the water has dried off before you add the okra