Okra is one of those ‘marmite’ vegetables – you either love it or hate it. I’ve not come across many people who don’t really have an opinion! Personally, I love it, but I do get why some of you don’t – it’s the slime factor!
I fell in love with okra years ago when I first discovered bhindi bajee at the local curry house. It was always my go-to side dish, although I tend to avoid it now as it’s often drowned in oil. When I went to India, though, I discovered there was so many more dishes it could be used in and used to cook with it on a regular basis. Of course the advantage there was it was locally grown and fresh; most okra bought in Europe has travelled a long way and can lose its vitality and flavour, which is a shame.
Okra contains some great nutrients including a good dose of magnesium, vitamins C, B6, folate and K. It also has some powerful antioxidants including polyphenols which have been connected to good brain and heart health, which is good to know.
The fibre is the star of this veg for me – or rather the mucilage is. This slimy type of fibre has two powerful supporting roles when it comes to health. 1) it binds with excess cholesterol and transports it out of the gut 2) it lowers the sugar absorption so can help maintain stable blood sugars and support people with diabetes. In fact, if you already have diabetes and are prescribed metformin, you might be advised to avoid okra as it is so effective. Which is a shame. It just shows how powerful food is when it comes to promoting good health. And why changing diet and lifestyle before going to medication can make such a big difference.
This masala is super easy to make – don’t be put off by the list of ingredients as those are mainly spices and flavourings. You can make this as spicy (or not) as you like; if you’re not into heat then leave out the fresh chilli and use just a little chilli powder. That way you get all the flavour without the burn. If you’re not in a hurry, make this in advance and leave the flavours to develop. Leftovers taste great the next day or can be frozen for another time.
I hope you enjoy this super tasty curry – the taste as well as the super body benefits. If you give this a go, do let me know how you get on.
If you’re interested in discovering more about how the food you eat can affect your health (and the world around you), then check out my online courses by clicking here.
Okra and potato masala
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cm chunk fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 2 fat cloves of garlic peeled and grated
- 1 medium red or green chilli deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder kashmiri if possible
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 medium potatoes scrubbed and diced
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 250 grams okra washed, trimmed and cut into 3cm chunks
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon garum masala
- Toast the cumin and mustard seeds in a medium sized pan until they start to pop. Remove the pan from the heat and leave for one minute to cool slightly, then carefully add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan (it will be super hot and sizzle so take care). Put the pan back on the heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes then add the chilli, ginger and garlic to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes, adding a litte more water if needed.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander powder and ground turmeric to the pan. Stir well to combine and cook for another 2 minutes before stirring in the chopped potatoes and tomato purée. Stir well to coat the potatoes then add enough water to create enough fluid to just cover them. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked.
- Add the okra to the pan and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so until it is just soft - try not to over cook it or you will get more slime than you might enjoy!
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with fresh coriander and a sprinkle of garum masala (both optional).