Let’s talk Indian food, motherfuckers. Don’t act shocked by my language. We all know I’m classy AF, right?
Anyhoozles, Indian takeout is the best takeout that there is, even considering Chinese and Thai food. Don’t come at me on this–you. will. lose.
There’s nothing I love more than a good samosa, biryani, naan, dosas, a good curry…and (YUM) BHINDI MASALA.
Bhindi Masala is essentially an Indian stir-fry, using okra, onions, tomatoes, and lots of yummy seasonings to make it delectable as shit. Whenever I go out for Indian food or get takeaway, Bhindi Masala is always one of the items I order. It’s vegan or vegetarian (depending on your preparation), hearty, warm, comforting, and delicious.
Recently, one of JoJo’s coworkers sent her home with a bag of okra from his garden–so, a couple of fatties were about to be in Hog Heaven. I live in Texas, so you’d think that fried okra or pickled okra, or a good gumbo would be the first thing on my mind when given such a haul. When I was growing up, fried okra would have definitely been my first choice. I mean, I grew up in Texas with grandparents and parents from the south, so of course, that was my culture. However, as I got older, expanded my horizons a smidge, and learned more about food and how it could be utilized, especially in other cultures, I came to realize that okra is so much more versatile than people believe. Bhindi Masala quickly became my favorite way to utilize this oft-maligned veggie. Okay. So, it can be slimy and weird and “hairy” and prickly and just weird. But it has such a meaty, woody flavor–and, when cooked appropriately, all of those other problems are avoided. I think that’s why people fry it so much–it’s a tasty, easy way to avoid those problems. But, trust in Das Goose today, folks, because I’m about to rock your motherfucking worlds.
I’ve had caffeine and sugar.
So, let’s look at what we need to make this dish at home:
1 lb (500 grams) of okra – sometimes called “Lady Fingers” (rinsed well, dried, and sliced into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces–1.5 to 2 centimeters, I think)
1 yellow onion, chopped (about a cup)
1 – 15 oz can of diced and peeled tomatoes
1 inch of peeled ginger root
1 serrano pepper, sliced/chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1.5 tsp garam masala
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil as needed
Let’s talk ingredients really quick. Serrano is the pepper that I like to use. You can use more or less. That’s the highest heat level that I can get JoJo to eat. However, any pepper you like can be substituted. Go crazy. Jalapeno, Habanero, Green Chili…or none at all. It’s totally up to you. Also, on the Fennel Seed–if you can get Fenugreek Leaves instead, go with 2 tsp of fresh, chopped. Additionally, if you want to make this even easier, use 1.5 tbsp of a garlic/ginger paste from a tube instead of what I’ve got shown in the picture. Totally up to you.
Look at how beautiful this spice blend is! If anything makes me think Indian food, it’s these spices and their colors. Yum!
So, in a preheated, deep skillet, pour 2-3 tbsp olive oil and toss in your sliced okra and cook over medium-high heat. This is a 6 out of 10 on my electric range. You’ll want to cook these for about 10 minutes until they’re starting to soften really well and get browned on all sides, especially the cut ends. Searing the cut ends helps seal in the “slime”. That just makes this sound like a good idea, right?
While that’s going on, make a paste out of your ginger. There are a couple ways to do this. If you have a microplane, like me, just grate that shit until you have a paste. Easy-peasy. If you don’t, mince it fine, then use the back of your knife or a spoon to smoosh it into a paste. Either method is fine. It doesn’t look like it in the picture, but that’s about 2 tsp worth of ginger paste. You can buy a decent, cheap microplane here.
Once your okra is getting brown on all sides, add another 1-2 tbsp and your onion. Sautee for another 2-3 minutes until your onions are starting to get translucent.
Make a well in the center of your okra and onions in the middle of the pan, add another tsp of oil, then toss in your ginger, garlic, and spice blend. Let it cook just a few seconds, then stir the okra and onions into it thoroughly.
Looking YUMMY already!
Add your can of tomatoes and a half of a can of water. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes.
Serve it over saffron rice. Yum Yum!
JoJo and I each had a big helping of rice and Bhindi Masala while we watched the last two episodes of season 2 of Atypical on Netflix–and there’s plenty left for meals tomorrow.
If you like okra, Indian food, and/or vegetarian or vegan options, this is a dish you will die for.
If saffron rice is something that is difficult for you to imagine making, since saffron is so expensive, Mahatma has a wonderful “yellow rice” mix that you can make to serve the Bhindi Masala over. All you have to do is cook it in water and butter, or oil if you want a truly vegan meal!
Also, forget beans, greens, high-fiber grains, Bhindi Masala will keep you “regular”.
I gotta go.
Until next time.