Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bhindi Masala

bhindi, originally uploaded by Kim De.

Tonight I am making an attempt at Indian food.

I find it troubling to be a decent cook, yet be so intimidated by a cuisine – or rather intimated by the husband who will eat it.

Not sure why I decided to make Bhindi (okra) as Bo makes an amazing dish. I decided not to try to make his specialty, with tomatoes, but to make it a different way. I pulled out The Food of India and found Bhindi Masala.

Now I know what you are thinking – okra, eeewwww. At least that is what I used to think, until I had Bo's recipe. If cooked correctly, okra isnt slimy and has great flavor!

Aromatic doesnt begin to describe what was coming from the kitchen as the recipe sizzled away in the pan. But how would it taste? Would I have cooked the okra to perfection?

Not sure perfection is the word I would use. Bo said it was good. I didnt feel it had cooked quite enough. The masala was delectable, though, so basically I need to practice my bhindi-cooking skills. After all, I cant always rely on Bo to cook our Indian food...

Bhindi Masala (Adapted from The Food of India)

1 lb 2 oz okra
3 green chilies
2 T oil
1 t black mustard seeds
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
2 t garam masala ***
1 t ground turmeric
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Wash the okra and pat dry with paper towels. Trim the tops and tails. Ignore any sticky liquid that appears because this will disappear as the okra cooks.

Cut the chilies in half lengthwise, leaving them attached at the stalk and scrape put any seeds. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based frying pan, add the mustard seeds and onion and cook until the seeds pop and the onion is light brown. Add the cumin, coriander, garam masala and turmeric and cook until the popping stops.

Add the garlic, okra and the chili to the pan, fry for 5 minutes, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add ½ – 1 cup water, 1 T at a time, until a sauce is made. Season with salt, to taste. Simmer about 15 minutes until the okra is cooked through and the sauce is thick and dry.

*** Garam Masala
You can buy a garam mixture, but the best taste will come from making it yourself! This recipe makes 3 T and will keep for awhile on the shelf (even longer in the freezer!)

8 cardamon pods
2 Indian bay leaves
1 T black peppercorns
2 t cumin seeds
2 t coriander seeds
2 in cinnamon stick
1 t cloves

Remove the seeds from the cardamon pods. Break the bay leaves into small pieces. Put them in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar with the remaining spices and grind to a fine powder. Store in a small airtight container until needed.

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