Okra season is in full swing right now, and it's dirt cheap at the Farmer's Market. In the past, I have turned to frozen okra whenever I was cooking, but it turns out fresh okra is much better. Not only is it more tender, but it seems to be less gooey.
When it comes to food, I'm big on texture. If it's too chewy or rubbery, I can't eat it. For the longest time, I wouldn't eat peaches, only nectarines, because the fuzz weirded me out. Well, okra is a bit chewy (if it's too large, look for smaller okra), it's slimy, and it's fuzzy... but for some reason, I can't get enough!
A few weeks ago at Whole Foods, I tried their lentil and okra masala on the hot bar, and it was delicious... but I couldn't find a recipe. What I love about Whole Foods bar is they list the ingredients on the item's name tag, so even though you don't have measurements to go by, you have ingredients. My creation of the recipe came out really well, and very close in taste to Whole Food's version.
As I recommend with all of my recipes, this one especially is best if you taste and season as you go along. The different varieties of curry powder and garam masala will result in a different product for everyone, so the spice measurements are not exact.
Tips and Trades:
-I buy Garam Masala from Whole Foods, Frontier brand organic, but you can also make your own to cater to your preferred taste!
-If you're not an okra fan, you can substitute spinach, trimmed green beans, or any other green vegetable!
Lentil and Okra Masala
1 tbsp. EVOO
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. vegetable stock
1 c. dry lentils, any variety
1 c. tomato puree/sauce
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala
1 lb. okra, trimmed and sliced
Salt and pepper
Heat a small stockpot over medium heat.
Add EVOO, onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper.
Sauté for 5 minutes, until golden brown.
Rinse lentils, check for stones.
Add stock and lentils, bring to a simmer, cover and turn heat to medium-low.
Cook for 25-35 minutes, or until tender.
Add tomato sauce, curry powder and garam masala, stir well.
Add okra, stir gently to combine, add a touch of water or stock if mixture is very thick.
Cover, turn heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, or until okra is tender.
Remove from heat, add a dollop of yogurt and cilantro, serve with warm naan for scooping.