Pan Dish: Open Flame Okra 🥗
I have been dreading this post 😅 The other day I got told off by Mom for steam-cooking okra. I got assigned a repeat cook — I did not realize that I was attending a remote culinary university. 👨🍳🎓
I am certainly learning new things 🙂 Specifically, this time I was to cook the okra on open flame. So here I am, after a do-over, and wondering if I got it right this time. 😆🤞
Cleaning the Okra
So, first cleaned the vegetable in my colander. When you buy okra, do not be bashful. Buy a big bag full of it. If you want to cook half-a-pound, you probably want to buy one pound. It is a vegetable that shrinks dramatically when you cook it.
Cut the Okra into Chunks
Next up, I chopped up the okra into big fat chunks. This likely helps with retaining the water a tad, and it reduces the overall shrinkage of the cooked vegetable — trust me, it will still shrink, but less so.
Spice and Oil
I do my typical spice and oil bit with the chopped vegetable next. I add my spices — turmeric, salt, red chili powder (I am keeping it simple) — and mix is thoroughly.
Once I was done with the spicing, I dashed the chopped, spiced okra with some sunflower oil. Adding the oil before the cook actually binds the spices to the vegetable and coats the okra evenly with the oil. The even spread of oil and spices allows for a relatively even cook.
After the oiling and spicing it was time for an open fry! I poured in some sunflower oil in a hot pan, added some cumin and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds started to crackle, I added in the spiced okra and started stirring it around in the pan.
At first, I started the cook at medium heat. But for some reason, I felt that it was not getting the job done. So, five minutes into the cook, I dialed up the heat to high, and started cooking the vegetable as a classic stir fry.
Throughout the cook, I never put on the lid — open fried it all the way.
Open fry till the strings are gone!
At this point the goal is to continue cooking on high, open flame till the strings start to disappear. In my case, even as the sticky strings (oozing out of the okra) started to cook I felt the need to cook the vegetable for 5-10 additional minutes. Two things worth calling out about the cook at this point:
First, it can be useful to splash a little — just a little — oil over the okra, while in the frying pan, so that the sticky strings cook better.
Second, it is important to not overcook the vegetable. You know that you are starting to overcook it as the okra starts to loose its bright green color.
Note how the final form of the fried okra still has its bright green color. It is starting to lose its color a bit here and there, and that is how I knew that it was time to turn off the flame. Now, obviously I taste my cooks to check if the food actually cooked, and then I turn off the heat — so that’s helpful too.
We had it for dinner with rice🍚 and curd (yogurt). I must admit, it tasted much better this way 😋 The okra practically melted away in my mouth. I have to hand it to Mom (Lalita Shankar) — 15 years since I left home for college, and she is still taking me to school 😃 Thanks Mom!
And the trick with cutting it in big chunks actually worked! We have sufficient left over for lunch tomorrow! (That, or I bought way too much okra 😅)
Hope you like this dish. I love me some okra (a lot actually)! And if you liked this recipe, then check out some of the other vegetables that I love cooking in a pan … all easy-peasy to make and delicious!
Pan Dish: Steam Cooked Green Beans
“use steam to cook the beans instead of frying them straight up. […] the resulting dish is more juicy and the steam…