We chatted long and hard amongst ourselves about this 100th post. As a landmark post of sorts, there was considerable debate about the following:
1. Who should write it?
The Slo-Man is the eldest blogger so he should, said one school of thought. The LastWord is on a roll and has many stories he’s been promising to tell, so maybe he should be the one to recount his account of his international business trip without any ID. The PeevedPunjabi has been sick recently and letting him write something would have seen a diatribe of epic proportions so he was an early loser in this discussion. LeggieLefty has been following with avid interest the shenanigans in the cricket world. Earth shattering events have seen him sitting there with his tongue hanging out, drooling at the prospects.
Ultimately, the responsibility for this momentous post fell upon the Slo-Man in deference to his senior blogger status.
What should this post contain? Politics? The weird news from Yahoo? Justin Bieber? Diplomatic posturing between India and the US? The Sochi Olympics? Mayor Rob Ford? The discussion was much shorter this time. The choice was unanimous. This post is about Okra.
The Slo-Man realizes that this may be met with scorn. The humble green vegetable is much despised for it’s tendency to become slimy. However, as much as some people dislike it, the Slo-Man is famously fond of Abelmoschus Esculentus, okra, bhindi, ladies fingers, dherosh. His extended family is well aware of this and he is assured of at least one meal, either on the first day or the last day of his visit, that includes okra as the main course. For that piece of love and affection the Slo-Man gives thanks and hopes that this post serves to re-inforce the message. Give him okra at least once per visit and he will remember you always.
The Slo-Man knows of a young Bengali bride, newly arrived in the home of her Punjabi husband’s family who was entrusted with the task of organizing lunch while the rest of the family went shopping. The pretty young thing was left to her own devices and a bag of okra to be cooked. She cut the okra into thin slices and then proceeded to wash the cut okra as she had seen other vegetables being so treated. When she put the okra in the pan to fry it, she was left with a sticky, coagulated mass. Panic stricken, she called her mother. Her mother explained that in the case of bhindi you wash and dry before cutting. In short order the mother arranged for one of her servants to buy fresh bhindi and send it over to the newly-wed and inexperienced chef. The returning family never got to know about the narrowly averted culinary catastrophe. The Slo-Man knows this to be a true story for he knows the bride involved very well and she related the story to him personally.
Bhindi, okra, ladies fingers or whatever you choose to call it can be cooked many ways. In gumbo, the gumbo is the okra. You can eat it fried on it’s own, either cut into slim rings or whole, with or without onions and spices. You can slit whole okra and stuff it with a spicy mixture of your choice, such as shredded onions and masala from Indian pickles. You can fry it crisp. You can fry it crisp with spices and add it to yogurt. You can even bread it and deep fry it.
Anyway you eat it, okra is delicious and it is good for you. The Slo-Man points you to Wikipedia – “Okra is a popular health food due to its high fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. Okra is also known for being high in antioxidants. Okra is also a good source of calcium and potassium.
Finally, at the insistence of The LastWord, here is a very simple recipe for Bhindi masala.
Okra, bhindi or whatever you call it, Onions, Salt, Turmeric, Chilli powder, Cumin powder, Coriander powder, Garam masala and oil for frying. The Slo-Man feels that readers must be responsible for their own taste buds and therefore carefully refrains from providing any measurements. (The LastWord applauds).
Wash and dry the okra first. If using frozen okra DO NOT wash! Cut into slim rings. Chop onions. Heat oil and add onions, saute for a couple of minutes and add okra. Fry for a bit then add all the spices and turn the heat down real low. Stir once or twice in the next twenty minutes. Serve with rotis, parathas, naans etc.
As you eat, remember, the last 4 digits of the Slo-Man’s cell phone number spell OKRA.