Okra (Bhinda) in Coconut Gravy


I love okra in almost any dish- pickled, steamed, fried, stir fried- you name it!  This is one of my favorite ways to prepare it Indian style, mainly because I also love anything with coconut in it.  The other nice thing is that you can prepare it in two parts- you can make the gravy the day before so that it requires less time later (if you’re tired from work and don’t feel like spending too long in the kitchen like I am sometimes).  Also, okra gets slimy if you cook it while it is wet, so make sure you dry them well after cutting- I do this by spreading it out on a paper napkin.

Ingredients

1 cup water
1 large onion (~1 cup), chopped into big pieces
2 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced thick
4-5 cloves garlic, cut in half
2 cups tomatoes, chopped into big pieces
1/4 cup cashews
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2-1 cup frozen grated coconut (to taste, I add 1 cup)
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
6 cups okra, cut into ~1/2 inch rounds
cilantro (optional, to garnish)

Directions

1.  In a medium pot, add the water, onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, cashews, salt, turmeric, red pepper, and coconut (Note: it will look like there is not enough water- this is okay, the volume of the other ingredients will shrink as they cook).  Bring all of these ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 20 min.  Let it cool.  Once it is cool, blend it until there are no pieces left.  (This is the part you can make the day before if you want).

2.  Heat the oil on med-high heat in a large skillet or frying pan (make sure it is large enough to hold 6 cups of okra!).  Once it is hot, add the cumin seeds and fry for 1 min.  Add the okra and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly so that none of them burn.

3.  Add the gravy to the okra and bring to a boil.  Cook for ~2 mins, just to make sure it is heated all the way.

4.  Garnish with cilantro (optional).  Serve hot with bread, rice, or plain.

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