October 5, 2010

East Meets South: Indian Spiced Okra

Realizing that I'm a little behind in my reading, the September issue of Food & Wine magazine has a "new south" theme. Cover to cover, the magazine is a celebration of new and fun riffs on southern cuisine, like fried green tomato BLTs, squash blossoms stuffed with pimento ricotta (that's a way to elevate "pimena-cheese"), and a fresh take on the Sazerac cocktail using star anise-infused Applejack. The cover recipe, shrimp with saffron rice and fennel salad makes my toes tingle to think about.
We snacked on the magazine's Indian spiced okra under our big apple tree on one of the last cheery not-quite-fall afternoons, enjoying it with a bottle of very very local (less than 25 miles from home) Mark's Ridge 2007 Gewurtztraminer. The semi-dry, lychee scented wine was great with the Indian spiced okra, especially since I did my own little experiment and it ended up on the rather extreme side of the spicy scale. The wine's sweetness cooled, lifted and enchanted the warm, deep Indian spices.
Follow this link to the Skillet-Roasted Spiced Okra recipe from the magazine. In my version all the ground spices called for in the recipe were replaced with whole spices, including adding two tiny dried chiles instead of the hot paprika. I toasted all the spices to coax their frangrance and then ground them in my spice grinder before sprinkling them over the tender-crisp okra.
Okra seems to divide people into two camps; the can't-stand-it-get-it-out-of-here camp or the why-can't-I-ever-get any-okra-around-here camp. There don't seem to be a lot of in-betweeners on the topic. If you are one of those poor folks who only equate okra with slime, please give this skillet-roasting technique a try. Spicy, crispy and slimelessly bright, green and fresh is what this dish is all about.

6 comments:

  1. I've never had okra before but on the past season of the Next Food Network Star, they had an episode where the contestants had to use their most hated ingredient as the star in their dish.. Aarti used okra! She seemed so disgusted by it, I'm scared to try it. BUT it's also made me want to try it, just so i can see whether or not I like it. Thank you for this recipe :)

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  2. Roxan, I'd say that if you like asparagus you'll most likely enjoy okra as well. It is really just a another green veggie, and if you don't have a problem with the others you likely won't with okra. Jump on in, sister! The okra is fine!

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  3. Thanks for the recipe, looks great!

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  4. Okay, I'm in the slime camp. I have to try this to change my mind. I love gewurtzminieriner (whatever)! I really do, I'm just to lazy to scroll up and see how it's really spelled. Hey, don't know how you have the time to blog, friend. aren't you getting married or something?

    hugs.

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  5. I adore okra, and have found that the slime factor is eliminated by high heat/quick cooking. This recipe is the ticket!

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  6. This post definitely caught my eye. I love okra and have been getting some from my CSA lately. This looks like a different and delicious way to eat it! Thanks!

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