Bhindi Masala (Okra Curry)

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Yields: 2 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 5 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 25 Mins

When I lived in Singapore, I once worked in Little India, close to a very popular Indian hawker stall called Usman. Usman made the best bhindi masala, much better than any other Indian stalls or restaurants. They had a massive assorted of curries on bain-maries and the okra curry would sit and stew for hours until it was an absolute glorious soft mess. I used to go to Usman every time we went back to Singapore, but the styrofoam plates, plastic cups, and palm oil started to hurt my feelings so much that I had to learn how to cook it for myself.

Masala is a spice mixture in powder or paste form used in Indian cuisine. It is the basis of many Indian dishes, rather like the rempah in Malay/Indo food. This recipe is for the normal okra curry for upstanding and decent members of society. For Usman-style bhindi masala, use canned tomato paste, double the oil and water, and cook for at least half an hour, until the okra is not even green anymore. It’s wretched, but another kind of so good. I’ll make it one day when I’m feeling anarchistic about nutrition and add the photo here.

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Ingredients

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Instructions

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  • Cut the okra into 1cm pieces, and the rest of the ingredients as shown. If you are not a fan of larger pieces of ginger, you can mince the ginger and garlic into a fine paste, or use Indian ginger-garlic paste from a jar. You can also use canned tomato paste or diced tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes, or cut them very small and/or peel them if you don't like the sauce too lumpy. If you wash the okra beforehand, make sure it is well dried before cooking.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat and put in the okra. Sprinkle 0.5 tsp of salt on the okra and put the lid on the pan so the okra cooks in its own moisture. Cook for about 5 minutes until okra is cooked but not soft. Do not put water into the pan or you will get nasty slimy okra. Set the okra aside.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat and put in the onions and green chilli, frying until the onions are slightly translucent.
  • Add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute until the raw smell of the garlic disappears. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Cover the pan, stirring often, until the tomatoes are mushy. If you used fresh tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes, your tomatoes will be chunkier. I like to smoosh them with the back of my spatula until all the tomato flesh oozes out off the skin, it's fun.
  • Then add 0.5 tsp of turmeric, 0.5 tsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of garam masala, 1 tsp of chilli powder, and mix well.
  • After mixing well, add 1/3 cups of water. If you like your okra soft, add the okra with the water so it cooks for longer. If you prefer your okra crunchier, add the okra later, when the sauce is more or less cooked down. After adding the okra, taste and add salt and other spices to taste.
  • Cook the bhindi masala to the dryness that you prefer and serve.

Tags

#okra  #onion  #tomato  

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