Summer Bhindi Subji (Okra stir fry)

Last month, I visited the Sustainable Food Center’s farmers market in downtown Austin. While the visit started out as an opportunity to grab a few professional shots of myself doing what I love, it turned into a fun shopping experience leaving me wanting to go back every week!

I was amazed by the variety of vegetables I saw, as one wouldn’t normally think of Texas for its local produce. But a stroll through the farmers market makes it apparent that the farmers in Texas put a lot of love and hard work into their trade. Squashes of every kind, zucchini, so many green leafy vegetables, okra, honey… I can go on and on.

I left with some local honey, a kabocha squash, and a bag full of the freshest, greenest okra I’ve seen in a long time. I also picked up a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, grown by a sweet old couple right in their garden - I can’t ever resist buying flowers at a farmers market!

Okra is a vegetable that is widely available in India and is often on the menu at Indian restaurants. It is usually cooked in a dry and crispy stir fry, with mustard seeds, onions, ginger, and sometimes tomatoes. In the past I would buy frozen okra at the Indian store to get my fix, but now I’ve moved away from cooking frozen vegetables and I relish any opportunity to cook fresh okra. Try this recipe and you may just fall in love with okra!

Summer Bhindi Subji (Okra stir fry)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion - chopped fine
  • ½ tsp ginger - grated
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 lb okra
  • Salt to taste

 

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to splatter add the onion, a little salt and sauté until the onions turn light brown. Add the ginger and sauté for another minute.
  2. Add the turmeric, cumin, and red chilli powders. Sauté until the spices release their flavors (about a minute).
  3. Add the okra and mix well with the spice base. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until the okra starts to release some of its water. Stir occasionally so that the okra doesn’t burn. 
  4. Once the okra has released most of it’s water, take the lid off and turn the heat back up to medium or medium-high. Sauté until the okra turns slightly brown and crunchy. If you prefer your okra soft and mushy you can skip this step. Check the salt and add more if needed. The okra is ready when it loses its raw flavor and absorbs the flavors of the spice mix. 
  5. Serve warm with flatbread or as a side dish with rice and dal. 

 

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Ayurvedic Lesson

  • Okra is considered an ayurvedic superfood as it is tridoshic in nature and is balancing for all three doshas.
  • In Ayurveda, foods that are frozen have greater tamasic energy and that energy, when consumed, can cause stagnation in the body and mind. It is best to choose fresh, seasonal produce whenever possible.

PITTA

Skip the chilli powder. Add fresh coriander leaves as a garnish for a cooling effect.

shopping tips

  • The harvest season for okra in most states is Summer to early Fall.
  • Coriander leaves are the same as cilantro. 
VeggiesMeg S.vata, kapha, pittaComment