Sindhi Aloo Bhindi Masala - Spiced Potatoes and Okra

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Up to this point, when I brought okras or bhindis home, it was only to make Malay fish curry. A few days ago, I spotted a bag of okras in the frozen vegetables section and naturally, said fish curry came to mind. 

Now while my other kids are excited at the prospect of the curry (seriously, what else does Mom do with okras?), vegan daughter mentioned that it would be nice to try some other okra dishes that doesn't involve meat of any sort. 

Hmmm ... now that I thought about it, I do remember this fabulous potato and okra dish that I used to have some '20 odd' years ago in my Sindhi grandma's home, deemed it worthy for a vegan-friendly dinner, and the rest, as they say, lies in the recipe below ;)

I particularly liked that this isn't an all-okra dish, and may substitute carrots for some of the potatoes next time around. While some may like a stew-like curry, we decided that this almost-dry consistency was perfect in that the okra 'juice' will provide just enough gravy to soak into the Jeera or cumin rice we made.

6 tbsp coconut oil
500 g potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
500 g okras

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1 large onion, diced finely
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp amchur
2 tbsp fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)

1. Wash, and cut the tops of the okras, then halve them. Lay them on a paper towel and pat them dry.
2. In a large fry pan, heat the 6 tbsp of coconut oil, then in two batches, panfry the potatoes until golden. Lay them on a paper towel lined baking sheet.
3. When the potatoes are done, pan fry the okras in the same pan, also in two batches. Lay these on another paper towel lined baking sheet.

4. Dispose of the remaining oil and in the same pan, heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil, and when hot, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves and cloves.
5. Cook the onions until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
6. Add the ginger and garlic, cooking until it turns soft, then introduce the chopped tomatoes.
7. Cook until the tomatoes have turned mushy, adding a bit of water if necessary.
I prefer a dry masala, but if you like a bit of gravy, go for it.

8. The dry spices can all be mixed in at this point.
9. Gently stir in the potatoes and the okra, cooking a further 5 minutes to thoroughly incorporate the masala into them.
10. Rub or crush the fenugreek leaves in your hand, and stir into the aloo bindi masala.
11. Taste, then season with salt, then garnish with cilantro to serve.

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