Both, DH and I are fond of Okra and we make it a point to buy it often, almost on every grocery shopping, at least once a week. Variations with Okra may be limited, but this vegetable surely has a distinctive flavor of it's own that makes it require minimal dressing.
This raita is a take from my mother's kitchen. Not often does she make this as she prefers a good subzi over this one. But this yogurt based dish was often whipped by her at parties where they made an elegant match for many other accompaniments, be it with rotis and parathas or flavored rice. The yogurt lover that I am, you can imagine the crave I have, which I can not resist when these are served.
200 gm Okra or bhindi
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard
A few sprigs of curry leaves
Wash and clean the okra. Allow it to dry on a kitchen towel. Ensure it's completely dry, else it make turn a little slimy while cooking. Chop the okra to small round pieces. Set them aside.
In a pan, heat a tbsp of oil. Add the chopped okra in the hot oil. Do not add any water during the cooking process. Add salt and sauté for few minutes till they soften. They may look slimy, but will reduce once removed from heat. Remove from heat when they look a little crispy. Let them cool.
Prepare the dressing. Take some yogurt in another bowl. Add a tbsp of water to make it a little thin if you like. That's how I like mine. Add in the salt, cumin and chili powder to taste. Whisk it. Add the fried okra to this spiced yogurt.
Make a tadka or to temper, heat a tsp of oil, add in the mustard and curry leaves. As it begins to splutter, remove from heat and add them to the okra in yogurt. Sprinkle a little chili powder on top and serve.
Ensure that the fried okra is cooled before adding into the yogurt. Else, it may turn the yogurt sour, unless you plan to serve it immediately. You may serve this at room temperature or even chill it.
The tempering can be changed. Use cumin seeds instead of mustard. Garnish with coriander leaves or add a dash of chili powder before serving.
I made this for our dinner the other day and we just loved it. The fried okra in mildly spiced yogurt has subtle and simple flavors with the tarka that adds all the glamor to this dish.
For all the mother's out there... Happy Mother's Day! A special Mother's Day wish to the lady of my life, my beloved amma. Happy Mother's Day Amma!