Okra is a very divisive vegetable. I feel you either love the slimy texture or you don’t. I’m a fan. Always have been. So when I saw some fresh, green okra at our local Saturday farmer’s market I grabbed a handful straight away.
It was only when I got home that I thought about Mr Firehouse. You see, he is a hater of all things slimy. So the okra sat unloved, in my fridge, for nearly a week before I decided to tackle it.
During last years trip to Sri Lanka we had stayed at a new beach side resort. One of my favourite things about Asian hotels are the buffets! Love! This one was no different. They served all kinds of impressive Western fare; cold cuts and salads in tiny shot glasses. However, my eyes and plate never strayed far from the big traditional earthenware pots that had real, homestyle, Sri Lankan food. Breadfruit curry glistening with black curry powder, Kalu Pork curry with tender, spicy pork and the okra curry teeming with dried chillis. I served myself all of the above and was surprised to find that the okra wasn’t its usual slimy self. It tasted the same and had the soft almost gelatinous texture, but the sliminess that offends most people was strangely absent. On closer inspection and a quick chat to the chefs the secret was revealed, the okra was deep fried prior to cooking!
This is exactly what I did to tackle my stash of okra. The extra step made this dish much more Mr Firehouse friendly and I must say, I enjoyed the change too! If you’re not fussed about the okra’s slimy tendencies, just skip the deep frying part.
- 200-250 g okra (about 1/2 a pound) sliced on an angle
- oil for deep frying
- 1/2 red onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 3-4 dried red chillis
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp. maldive fish flakes
- 1/2tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. vegetable curry powder
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
In a small frypan heat the oil for deep frying and deep fry the okra in batches until they have a little colour. Drain well
In a medium saucepan or pot place a little oil and add the onion and garlic. Fry until the onions and garlic and soft and aromatic.
To the same pot add all of the dried spices and fry for 2-3 minutes until the spices are lightly toasted.
Finally add the fried okra and mix thoroughly coating all the okra in the lovely toasted spices.
Once the okra is well coated add the coconut cream and a little water to cover the okra.
Let the curry simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens. Add salt to taste and serve warm with plenty of fluffy white rice.