I sometimes wonder how my life would have changed if I were to stay in any such country where we don’t get Indian food stuff. No Spices, no similar vegetables or just no specialised utensils to cook our food into. Like no Wok or Pressure Cooker.. One of my friend faced the similar crises when she was in Nigeria. I am not saying that in Nigeria you don’t get this stuff at all, but my friend was not in a big city and just a small town working nearby. Things were difficult for her then, being a vegetarian she could not adjust with the aroma and taste of the native spices and herbs. Since she was there in a Serviced Apartment, she was provided with a fully equipped kitchen still she found it difficult to cook in broad pans and got no rolling pin to roll chapathis. She had to use a long glass for doing the same. It took her nearly two months to arrange some of the similar things to work out the food crisis she faced.
I feel lucky I have never faced such issue in life. I have been to Saudi Arabia for 6 months and it was difficult initially but since I had got Indian friends there, they helped me in finding the things according to my preferences there. Just for the sake of displaying my own silliness, I actually picked up Parsley instead of Coriander once, since I didn’t know what Parsley is. It was a learning experience though and taught me a surviving lesson in life.
Now, the situation is quite good in the UK here. We have access to all the Indian stuff and many many Restaurants around. Sometimes, it feels we are in India only, just with a different climate It feels good to have the same taste we were used to have in India, one such favourite taste for me is of Okra OR Lady Finger. I love the taste when its cooked in crunchy way or when its accompanied with a lot of onion. A very healthy and fulfilling side dish that goes well with Chapathis and tastes divine with Paranthas.
- 250 gms chopped Okra ( around 2 cups)
- 2 medium potatoes, chopped small.
- 1 large onion, sliced length wise
- 2-3 garlic pods, crushed or minced ( optional )
- 1 tsp Oil
- 1 tsp Red chili powder , turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder each.
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- Wash Okra very well and spread it on a Cotton Cloth to get dried up for almost 20 minutes, then clean it off with dry cloth and keep aside. This step is important to remove the sliminess of the Okra, washing it good and then drying it well will substantially reduce the slime of the vegetable. This may take a while, but the end result is good and tasty :)
- Heat oil in a wok / pan, splutter cumin seeds. Add onion and fry on a medium flame till caramelised. To give that nice texture to Onion, its really important to fry them on a constant flame for around 5-6 min.
- Add garlic ( if you are using it ) and stir for a min on a medium-high flame. Since its crushed, it will get blackened very quickly, so keep stirring for a min.
- Add potatoes and mix well with onions, cook covered for 2-3 min on low flame.
- Now add Okra and get the flame to low-medium. Combine well, and cook uncovered for next 5-6 min. Keep stirring in between to avoid sticking.
- When its almost done, add salt and spices and toss to ensure even coating, cook covered for 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle Lemon juice and cook for 2 more minutes, keep stirring. Turn off the flame.
- We do not add salt and spices early in this recipe. Else the Okra will release liquid and it will get slimy.
- Adding Lemon juice is optional but that reduces the slime of Okra and gives a nice flavour to the dish.
- Many people don’t use Garlic with Okra, but I love garlic and hence have used it in this recipe. You may opt it out, your choice.