Monday, September 27, 2010

Dry Okra Curry


This was my first favorite way to eat okra (now I usually just grill it). It reminds me of the okra curry I ate once in Fiji - possibly the first time I ever ate okra, in fact. The key is to fry the okra until it's no longer slimy.

I was on my way back from studying abroad in Perth, and I had the chance to stop over in Fiji, but I'd never been there and had no idea what to do. I started asking people about what it was like there, and an Indian friend said his mother had a friend who lived there! I called her from the airport in Nadi, not wanting to impose, but curious to see if I could meet her... and she immediately said "you can stay with us, when are you coming?" So I got on the bus to Suva, took a cab to her house, and was there by dinnertime. Amazing.  I was really only there for a day or two, because I only had five days in Fiji, and I went to two other islands before heading home. We went shopping, saw a Hindi movie, and had this okra dish along with a tasty goat curry for lunch. It made quite an impression.

2 Tbs oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 lb okra, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ciriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat the oil in a wide skillet on medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and fry until lightly browned, about 10 seconds. Turn the heat down to medium and add the okra and onions, spreading them out in an even layer. Fry, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until the pieces are browned and the okra has lost its sliminess. Add the spices and lemon juice and cook another 5 minutes, stirring gently. Serve hot, with rice and perhaps some dal, or a meat dish.
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