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My plate from the Indian feast.... the bhindi bhaji is the okra side.

Tonight, what started as curry leftovers for dinner transformed into an Indian feast. My dad and I sat at the island, wondering if there would be enough leftovers for dinner, and also if we should pick up some naan. From there, we decided if the meal should be over yellow rice or white. Slowly we kept throwing around ideas for side dishes, chutneys, and drinks. I browsed my laptop as we sat there, looking for recipes similar to our favorites from our local Indian bistro. (This one comes from Indianfoodforever.com, with some adjustments and changes) And we ended up with this… the leftover curry, over yellow rice, with bhindi bhaji as a side, toaseted naan, mango chutney, and home-made mint chutney. Yes, a feast.

This is the first time I have ever heard of, cooked, or eaten Bhindi Bhaji, but it turned out great for my first try. I have always loved okra, and have considered it one of my favorite vegetables for awhile. For those who can’t stand the viscous texture of it, this is NOT the recipe for you. The way this dish is cooked highlights that aspect of the okra, respecting it for how it is. Anyway, this is a relatively simple dish with relatively simple ingredients. If you have fresh tomatoes and okra in your garden, like my stepmother (and she does more than garden… fiber2love.etsy.com), and appreciate Indian food and trying something new, give this recipe a whirl!

Ingredients!

  • 1 pound of okra (this can be frozen or fresh, but if you are using fresh, it might cook a litter faster.)
  • 1 1/2 onions
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 or 2 fresh or dried red chili peppers, chopped finely. (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds
Directions!
  1. Wash and thoroughly dry the okra, and cut the tops off. Then slice the okra lengthwise.
  2. Chop the onions and saute in a large pan over medium heat, until almost translucent. (about 3 minutes, depending on how finely the onions are chopped)
  3. Add in the spices, ginger, chilies, and garlic, and saute for another minute or two.
  
  1. Add the okra to the pan, stir fry for a few minutes. Then, reduce heat to low-medium and cook covered for 15 minutes or so. Fresh okra cooks faster, so keep an eye on it! Do not add any water while covered!
  2. After the okra is done, scoop the ingredients from the pan into a bowl and stir in the diced tomato and the cilantro, and salt to taste.
To Serve!
Serve the Bhindi Bhaji hot as a side with rice, naan, or toasted pita bread.
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