India is an amazing country with such varied cultures – each having their own language, their own dialect and their own unique attires and not to forget their own special ways of cooking food. Though the spices and herbs used across the country are more or less the same and so are many other ingredients, yet the food is unique and different in each state and its cuisine. I have had okra (bhindi or lady finger, as it is commonly called in our country) cooked in a variety of ways – with dry masala, with stuffed masala of onion and ginger-garlic, or it being sautéed with chopped onions as Bhindi Bhujiya, etc, etc. But when I ate okra cooked in sarson masala (mustard paste) I found this recipe very unique, interesting and very delectable especially when it is served with Sattu ka Paratha.
Actually it is typically made in this manner in the state of Bihar. It was only when I gradually got introduced to the culinary delights of Bihar, after my marriage, that I realised how neglected this cuisine is. It is so full of flavours, delicious, balanced and healthy; yet for some reason never got the dues it deserves. (Though it is somewhat influenced by the Bengali cuisine.)
A previous recipe, which has the distinctive flavours of Bihar, happens to be the most viewed recipe on this blog which proves my point that Bihari cuisine has so many interesting flavours but it is yet to be explored by the world and the Indians themselves!!
350 grams okra
1 tbsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Garlic Garlic Paste
¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Black Mustard Seeds
1 pinch Fenugreek Seeds
1 medium sized Tomato (blended to make paste)
2 tbsp Mustard Oil (use any vegetable oil of your choice)
1 generous pinch of Asafoetida
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
Salt to taste
Wash and pat dry the okra and chop it in 1 inch pieces.
Grind the mustard seeds to powder and add two tablespoons of water along with ginger garlic paste. Mix everything well. Set aside.
Chop and blend the tomato. Set aside.
Pour one tablespoon mustard oil in a hot wok and allow the oil to smoke. Remove the wok from heat and after half a minute add asafoetida to it.
Immediately add the okra. Fry on medium heat for approximately three minutes stirring often. Remove the okra on a plate and place the wok back on heat.
Pour one tablespoon of mustard oil to the wok and and allow it smoke.
Reduce heat and add cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. As soon as they begin to crackle, add the mustard paste.
Fry the paste, stirring continuously to prevent the paste from burning (scrap the sides often while cooking)
Keep cooking and stirring, till the paste begins to dry and the color changes to golden brown. (be careful not to burn the paste)
Reduce the heat and add three tablespoons of water. Add the spices and stir & cook for 10 – 15 seconds.
Add the tomato paste and cook further, till the masala begins to leaves oil around the edges (approximately a minute)
Add the okra. Cook on low flame, stirring occasionally, till the okra is done.
Serve with roti or better, Sattu ka Parantha 🙂
Note – You need to smoke the mustard oil before cooking to get rid of its pungent smell.
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