Growing up in a household where vegetables were always given high preference over it’s non-vegetarian counterparts, I wasn’t too happy. Like any rebellious 12 year old, I despised anything green and considered “healthy” in my Mom’s dictionary. As a spunky 17 year old starting fresh at college and living in a hostel miles away from the caring tender fingers that caressed Mom’s cooking, I had grudgingly succumbed myself to the meals catered at the campus. To my added disappointment, not only did the food lack in flavour and eye appeal, it also somehow failed in providing me with the limited array of greens that I actually thought were edible, to say the least.
Somehow, between the humdrum of a busy schedule and an even busier college life, one could easily manage chugging down meals without a moments notice. That is, until one gets the same dish – mind you, same tasteless flavour and all, for five consecutive meals. Yes, five! And that was where I decided to draw the line and gift myself with a pan or two, and some basic starters to a home cooked meal. The dreaded dish if you wish to know, was okra.
It’s not hard to believe that I graduated through cooking for myself for the next few years without so much as a slight glance at the okra. Never was there a shopping spree through the fresh produce section where I stopped and smelt the darned vegetable. And never had it, for as long as I can remember, ever taken a place in my cart. That is, of course, until I met the then would-be Hubby Dear. Like a sudden twist of fate in any classic crime story (the crime here was of course committed against the okra, damn you okra!), on one of our first food conversations, Hubby Dear had candidly confessed to having a secret love affair with the dreaded pod.
Now what was a poor little girl like me supposed to do! I’d heard endless tales of how a man’s heart could easily be won through the deeds done for his stomach. Seeing that I had promised to cook him his favourite meal didn’t make my case any easier. So there I was trudging through the fresh produce section, not only smelling, but also picking my first pound of okra, and giving it a place in my cart. And like anyone gifted with an unwanted pet that’s impossible to give away, you accept your kismet and just get used to it. And hopefully eventually, but surely, you’ll learn to love it.
OKRA COOKED IN YOGHURT
Prep time: 10 min | Cooking time: 20 min | Serves: 2
fresh okra, diced into 1/2-inch slices
onion, thinly sliced
plain yoghurt, beaten
red chilli powder
dried ginger powder
garam masala powder
light cooking oil
salt, to taste
HEAT oil in a non-stick pan and saute cumin seeds till they begin to sizzle. Add onions and fry for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat till transparent. Add in okra and cover cook for a few minutes till done, tossing occasionally.
ADD red chilli powder, turmeric, ginger powder and salt, and stir-fry for a few minutes. Slowly stir in beaten curd forming a smooth gravy base.
SPRINKLE garam masala and cook covered for another minute or two. Serve warm with a side of Dal and Rotis.