Saturday, 9 June 2012

Okra Curry

This okra (bhindi) curry is my all time favourite curry and coming from an indian background I feel that that is quite a big claim. I have made this a thousand times and every time it tastes slightly different. This is primarily because until yesterday there has never been a set written down version of the recipe. It has always been "a little bit of that...a bit more, yeh that's about right" for all of the ingredients. However, yesterday my Dad made dinner and his version of this curry has always been the best so I got him to write down what he puts into it. 

So here it is, just for you guys, the official version of my family's okra curry. Made by my Dad and photographed by my Mum. 

What you'll need: 
  • 300g Okra; 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Extra Hot Curry Paste;
  • 2/3 tbsp Sugar (or equivalent sweetener);
  • 2/3 tbsp Tomato Puree;
  • 1/2 tbsp Oil (we use sunflower);
  • 1 can of Chopped Tomatoes;
  • 2 Onions;
  • 1/2 tsp Salt; and
  • Chilli powder to taste (optional).
To serve:
  • Yoghurt; 
  • Chapatis (if you cant get these, tortilla wraps work equally as well, or rice is nice); and
  • Coriander. 
Two points on the ingredients. Firstly, yes it may be considered cheating to use a curry paste, and if you make your own kudos for the extra effort and feel free to use it for this, but my parents always have a jar of curry paste in the cupboards as its just so much easier. Secondly, when I make this I do use fresh okra if I can get my hands on it. I like to soak it for a couple of hours first as it cooks better if you do. Saying that, last night we used a bag of frozen pre-chopped okra which cost a mere £1 form the shops. Just defrost it before using by throwing it into a bowl of boiling water (drain before using though).

I should also point out that if you are going to use fresh okra you need to leave the curry to cook for a bit longer so that the okra gets nice and tender. 

Ok, down to business:

1.   Dice up your onions and heat up the oil in a large frying pan (on a medium heat).

2.   Fry the onions, only for a couple of minutes, until they start to brown. In that time, prepare your okra.

3.   Throw the okra into the pan with the onions and fry for another few minutes until the onions are brown and the okra has started to soften. 

4.   Next, add the remaining ingredients to the pan (except the chilli powder): the curry paste, sugar, salt, tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. At this point it will look something like this:

5.   What you need to do now is to turn it down to a simmer and wait. It should take about 15 minutes for the sauce to evaporate down and thicken up. It may take longer though so just be patient. 

6.   The final step, as with most cooking but especially with my family recipes, is to taste the curry and adjust it to taste. This is where the curry powder comes in. I also like my curries sweet so I usually end up adding more sweetener. You may find you need more salt... try it, see what it needs. 

7. Enjoy. (With a beer?)