Nov 11, 2009

'Ladies' find okras compelling

What is it about mid week holidays that is not nearly as satisfying as a extended weekend holiday? Guesses..? Takers..?  I have a theory.

It is about momentum i.e. the tendency of doing whatever it is that I have been doing. For example I was working in a lab on monday- tuesday. On wednesday I have thaaat tendency. But there is a a bump in the road. And I have to slow down. I feel compelled to take a break even if I don't have to. And once I am settled in with a non-routine, I have to get into a work mode as soon as the day ends. Not good. This stopping and starting. Makes me very tired.

But its a fun time to loiter around. To call old friends. Friends who used to be soul-mates and yet now, are faces you look at fondly in faded albums. To do some puzzle. Write a story maybe. Clean the house. Listen to some music. Have a mid morning cocktail...browsing through old cookbooks...okay this is getting interesting..:)

I do this frequently. I never look at cookbooks for recipes. I just flip through them, say when I am having coffee. And somehow, my 'beautiful mind' processes all that information and a hotch-potch of it comes to me like a dash of imagination when I am, actually in the kitchen. But some times, very few and far between, I come across a recipe which makes me go, 'I have to do this'. You know that feeling? Almost like a compulsion. I have mentioned before that to me cooking is the best part of food. Eating is the anti-climax. It is all gone so fast. But with such rare recipe-accidents (I prefer to refer to such incidents by the term ' accident' :)), and it feels great to finally be able to eat it.

Todays' is one such. From the book, "Easy Indian In Minutes'. Terrible book. All red colored stuff. Not even remotely good. Very spicy and greasy.  But... lovely photographs.  This one recipe, however, stood out.... maybe for lack of red color and grease? or maybe because of original veggie colors still being intact? or maybe because the picture was so good :)

It is flavorful and simple. The only spice being cumin :)

Here you simple things!


2 cups of okra sliced into rings. You can use store bought. I prefer fresh and then cutting them. There is a satisfaction to cutting okras. You know that feeling?
3 Tomatoes. Coarsely chopped. Best to cut each into eight pieces.
2 green chili. Chopped. You can strip out the seeds. That way you get the flavors minus the heat. You can also use one big Jalapeno
2 medium onion- diced.

3-4 tbsf of finely chopped cilantro or parsley.
1 tsp freshly grated or minced ginger
2 tbsf Finely chopped mint. Optional

3 tbsf whole cumin seed.
2- 3 tbsf oil. Regular, olive all is good.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

If you want to take the slime off the okras, soak the cut okras in two tbsf of vinegar for 20 minutes. Wash off in hot water. And drain as much of the water as you humanly can :) Will prevent oil from frothing when you place these okras in hot oil. 

All we do is chop and drop.

In a shallow skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds. Ohhhh. the aroma as the seeds hit the oil. Let it fry for ~ 10 secs. Add the onion and fry ~ 2-3 mins. Stir in the ginger and chili/ Jalapeno. Saute for ~ 30 secs. Add the okras and stir so that all of the pieces are covered in the spice-oil. Gently mix all the ingredients and go for 5-6 minutes.

Add the Cilantro/ Parsley, mint ( if you are using them) and tomatoes. Stir well and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Take off the  oven...and just marvel at the colors. So gorgeous. A perfect dish for a cold evening.

On the flip side, you also get your home to smell of cumin and ginger. A great thing..for a short time. Here is a little tip to get food- related smell off the house, especially in the winter months, when you cannot let the super cold in your house. Light a candle and let it burn for sometime. The  gases from the candle has Carbon monoxide which absorbs  aromatic stuff. In 10 minutes you have a clean smelling house. Neat..aint it?

Happy eating and healthy living!


Gina said...

Oh that's a great tip! I make broccoli a lot and it stinks, bad, so I will keep that in mind!

I think your theory about mid-week holidays is very accurate. I would much rather have three days off in a row, instead of a random day in the middle! But hey, it's better than none at all!

Thanks for the okra tips. I don't use okra a lot, but maybe I should start?

Velva said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog post this week. I can totally relate to the theory of having a holiday or any break mid-week. It messes with the groove and the routine. However, with that said, I am still more than happy to take that break:-)
I drink coffee and leaf through cookbooks all he time too! I am not always on a hunt for a recipe just the satisfactin of enjoying photos, new ideas and feeling inspired.

Cathy said...

All holidays should be on a Friday or Monday - I hate mid-week...throws you off your stride! I love okra - it's always great to find new ways to cook it!

The Japanese Redneck said...

We made something similar except use onions and call it Okra Gumbo. No cumin.

Garlic, salt, pepper. Very good over rice.

Jhonny walker said...

Hi Ramona,
That sounds great!! also can you post a recipe for gumbo one of these days..It would be great to have a recipe from a real southern kitchen! :)



Erica said...

I love your wrinting!I enjoyed all your post very much.I love everything with CUMIN :)

Nat said...

Hi J, Oh I so agree with you. In my case, although i don't have a 'paid job'... days when my hubs is home we get to sleep in a bit later etc...that benfit is always more worth while when its consecutive rather than disruptful in the middle of a weekday pattern.

As for this ladies fingers dish...oh my...looks PRETTY as EVER...i would be so satified to dive into it with just plain white rice ! And I know exactly what you mean about how the aroma fills your home. It can awaken your senses...but then be a bit of a nag after a while...the candle trick I must try. : )

Palidor said...

I love okra. That looks like a great way to cook them. Hmm, you may be right about momentum when it comes to mid-week holidays. For me, any day that I didn't have to go into work was a good day... which should have made me realize sooner that I was in the wrong job!

Chow and Chatter said...

love okra oh you are right with a holiday mid week, sorry to make ya jealous!!! LOL

Olga said...

I can almost smell this dish :) I think it'd also be good as a base for a fritata.

buffalodick said...

Okra would not be "slimy" cooked this way- sounds good!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I miss having Okra. They don't really have it around here.