I might have mentioned it before, my mother got married very young and had me when she was barely 18. It meant, I have remotest memories of her 20s but 30s is clear as yesterday.
I remember her favourite cobalt blue salwar kameez, the duppata falling perfectly on her slender shoulders, the chiffon sleeves loosely wrapped unto the elbow. Her skin, always complimented as porcelain like, was exactly that but I often marvelled at her rosy lips, one she would intensify with a rosy pink lipstick, the only colour she ever wore. Her gold kissed brown hair tied into a simple pony gave more reasons to focus on her face. A beautiful young woman, who only cooked good food, made sure we had a freshly made juices after school, evening snack before dinner and fruits as after dinner dessert.
Among the simpler foods that continue to be a staple at Ammi's is okra and onions stir fry. Okra is such a fabulous vegetable, it is sad it doesn't get much attention having often being labelled as slimy. I on the other hand grew up loving okra even through my picky eating years. When cooked right, okra is not really slimy and has a grassy flavour, almost like asparagus but more robust. In this recipe cutting them lengthwise is necessary so that the spices are well coated and reach the internal ribbings. Though I have to admit on occasion I just go about cutting them into disc, add a few tomatoes and call it a okra curry instead!
The end result of any okra dish is highly depend on the freshness of okra and having good tender ones as opposed to fibrous and tough pods. Good okra should be green, unblemished and the ends should snap crisply. Ammi has a firm belief that okra cooked in cast iron wok is the best and that's how I cook mine. Another important tip is to wash and wipe your okra totally dry before cutting into it. Any moisture will make them gooey and mushy.
On a different note, this heart warming post by my friend Shayma was an inspiration for this post. Also, talking about writing, this new to me blog has some great posts. What are your favourite writing blogs?
Okra and Onion Stir Fry
1 large red onion or 2 medium sized
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp lemon juice or amchoor powder (dried mango powder)
3 tbsp oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and dry the okra by wiping it with a dry cloth. Cut of the head and tail of the okra and slice it through the centre. Cut thin strips lengthwise from each half .
Slice the onions.
Heat oil in a wok and add all the ingredients except lemon juice. Mix well and let it cook until the okra is cooked through.
Sprinkle with lemon juice or mango order towards the end before serving.
Serve with a flatbread like roti or pita bread as I did. A simple raita or plain yogurt is a great compliment.