Growing up in Africa and India as a child there was always this community feel when preparing, cooking and eating food. My mum and her friends from the neighbouring house all used to sit together and prepare vegetables whilst laughing and talking. This made the cooking a pleasant experience rather than a chore! All the kids used to take the okra tips and stick it on their heads and made it into a game too. All the women didn’t prepare the same vegetables and when the food was cooked they would share it with each other. They were always aware if someone didn’t join due to sickness and so the cooked food was sent to them. My mum used to say when the food is cooked with a good mood, it tastes better and nourishes your mind, body and soul.
As most of us cook alone, put on some uplifting music or relaxing music, light a candle or if you wish do some laughter yoga for 5 minutes before during or after eating. Check out my laughter yoga Instagram page @zeelol_yoga for some inspiration. Invite a friend or 2 and laugh, cook and eat. Laughing connects, reduces isolation and may aid in digestion. Digestion of food and nutrients is also part of the healthy life style.
Okra is one out of many food I love. It is not one of the easiest recipes to cook but once you have mastered it its a piece of cake. Its all about getting the technique right.
I had few disasters before I got it right too so don’t be afraid to try again.
I always bought my okra AKA Bindis from grocery shops in Tooting and didn’t know there were different types until I moved to Brixton.
The difference between Indian okra and one from Turkey is slight.
Indian Okra: Thinner and darker in colour
Turkish: Fatter and slightly lighter in colour and the texture is thick.
They can be both prepared and cooked the same way.
When buying the okra. Snap the thinner part on top and if it snaps quickly, it’s fresh. Also look at the skin it should be smoother and not discoloured. The thinner ones are usually fresh. If you are buying 1 kg you can stand there snapping every piece. You can if you have time and the grocers are not standing there watching you. If you do get some not as fresh not to worry you can still cook them.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cooking time 30 mins
- 1/2 Kg Okra
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 medium size tomatoes
- 1 green chilly (can add more to your taste)
- 3 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil (add a little more if it looks really dry)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt. ( okra needs very little salt)
- Just double all ingredients if 1kg cooking more
- Wash and dry the okra ( make sure its very dry as that will reduce the sticky goo)
- Cut into small pieces
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces
- Chop the chilly into small pieces( no need to take seeds out)
- Chop onion into thin slices
- Put a medium to large frying pan on medium heat.
- Put the oil in
- once oil is hot ( to check if hot add a slice of onion and if its sizzling its hot )
- Add all the onions
- Add all the okra
- let the okra cook and gently separate with cooking spoon don’t stir.
- once the goo dries add the rest of the ingredients
- cover and let it cook on medium to low heat( this depends on your cooker) 30 mins or less
- when the okra looks darker in colour its done.
- Okra can be eaten with Nan bread or home made chapattis (I will post how to make chapattis soon)
- It can be eaten with meat curry and rice
- I make sandwiches or toasties with any left overs so there is no waste