Friday, 5 July 2013

Okra and tomato curry

While we were in Sri Lanka, we ate a lot of vegetarian food. One recipe that really pushed our buttons was okra and tomato curry. Last night we tried recreating it at home and got pretty close.

Here's our version if you want to experiment:

400g Okra
250g firm green beans
1 large brown onion
2 large cooking tomatoes
4 tsp good quality Sri Lankan curry powder (or a good quality Indian one)
2/3 of a can of chopped tomatoes
Generous pinch black mustard seed
Generous pinch fenugreek seed
1 tsp coriander powder
3 cloves of garlic
2 dollar sized chunks of ginger, roughly chopped
Peanut oil

Heat the peanut oil in a heavy cast iron pot. Coarsely chop the onion and add it to the oil with the mustard seed and the fenugreek. Once the onion has begun to cook crush and add the garlic, the ginger, the coriander powder and half the curry powder. Stir, turn down the heat, put the lid on the pan and let the onion sweat a little.

Meantime, cut the tops off the okra and slice lengthwise. Top and tail the beans and cut to two or three centimetres length. Roughly chop the cooking tomatoes. Add the vegetables to the pan with the remainder of the curry powder and leave to sweat for another five or so minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stir, taste etc. Decide if you need more curry powder, additional chilli or any of the other spices. Leave to cook slowly for twenty five to thirty minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still have texture and crunch. Check the flavour periodically. The aim is to end up with crunchy vegetables in a spicy tomato curry sauce.

Serve with Basmati rice.

As with all these recipes your mileage may vary. We use Herbies Sri Lankan curry powder, but a good quality Indian one will do, eg Maharaja, although you may need some extra ginger and chilli. Don't be afraid to experiment, but the key to this dish is its simplicity and fresh vegetable textures.

When we had this in Sri Lanka it was not massively spicy, although, like all Sri Lankan food there was definite heat and spice involved.