Shubhra Ramineni is a culinary instructor, busy mom of a veggie-loving girl and award-winning cookbook author of Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People and Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking, Easy Recipes for the Hurry Home Cook. Shubhra's no-fuss cooking style recreates authentic Indian flavors using easy techniques and fresh and easily available ingredients. Below, she's shared one of her favorites for you to try at home with your family...
Okra, known as "lady's fingers" in India, has a beautiful bright green color and looks wonderful on the table. This simple and easy way to cook okra will leave you with a delicious dish, without any of the okra "slime!" When buying fresh okra, avoid the flimsy, flexible ones. Look for crisp ones in which the tail end can be snapped off. Avoid the very hard okra that are over-ripe with brown seeds instead of the ideal white seeds. I also never cover okra when cooking because doing so will darken its color. Okra can be eaten with Indian flatbreads, such as Naan or Chapathi, and goes well when paired with lentil dishes. - Shubhra Ramineni
Sautéed Okra with Onions (Bhindi Pyaz)
Prep time: 5 minutes (15 minutes if using fresh whole okra)
Cook time: 35 minutes
Refrigerator life: 3 days
Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted okra in a microwave and stir periodically. Or, place them in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir periodically until warmed.
1 lb (500 g) fresh okra or frozen, precut okra
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Juice of ½ lime
1 small onion, sliced into half moons
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- If you're using frozen okra, do not defrost. If you're using fresh okra, wash the okra and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Trim the tip and head and discard. Slice each okra into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces.
- Pour the oil into a large nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. (Place over high heat if using frozen okra.) When the oil is heated, add the okra and lime juice. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion, turmeric, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Sauté until the okra is tender and onion becomes transparent, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes.
- Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later!
Okra has a peculiar, slimly substance to it that is released when the okra is cut and washed. The first time I cooked okra, I washed it after I chopped it and had slime everywhere! That is why it is important to wash it and pat dry before chopping to reduce the release of the sticky material. If you're using frozen okra, it is best not to defrost it first, as it will become flimsy and release a lot of slimy substance. When okra is cooked with lime juice, any slime disappears as the okra cooks.
Recipe from Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People by Shubhra Ramineni. Learn more about Shubhra, her cookbooks and upcoming events and classes at enticewithspice.com.