okra is a very good source of Vit.C, it is a low cal food with 20 calories per half cup sliced okra, it is also a good source of Vit.A, calcium and fiber, but the most interesting benefit of okra comes from the mucilage rich fiber it contains. The mucilage of okra soothes the inner lining of stomach and intestines, detoxifies the system and is very gentle on the system unlike bran which irritates the inner lining of stomach when consumed in large quantities.
Okra should not be deep fried to retain all the health benefits, stir frying works best as the mucilage from inside the fruit is not decomposed and it gets absorbed into the powdered masalas (cornmeal or chickpea flour can also be used for this purpose) and we get optimal benefit of this vegetable.
We eat this okra almost 4-5 times a week when it grows in the garden, sometimes I bake okra to make crispy kurkuri bhindi which is normally a deep fried recipe but I adapted it to be baked.
Kashmiri masale wali sookhi bhindi is a very simple and quick preparation. The spice mix is not very authentic Kashmiri but somehow in our family it was know as Kashmiri as it is inspired by Kashmiri masala.
To prepare this Kashmiri masale ki sookhi bhindi, just wash and cut the okras (400 gm) in half, pat dry and keep aside. Heat mustard oil 1 tsp in a deep pan and throw in few whole red chillies and let them change colour. Now add the okras with salt to taste and stir fry on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 tsp of powdered kashmiri masala*, fry till the okra takes a golden hue and it is ready to serve. It may take some 10 minutes to cook this way if using minimal oil like this recipe.
The okra pieces should just be cooked and not browned, it is good this way to preserve the mucilage of okra too as I mentioned above.
to make powdered kashmiri masala*
fennel seeds 1 tbsp
black pepper corns 1 tbsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
cloves 5 nos.
fenugreek 1/2 tsp
cinnamon 1 inch stick
whole red chillies to taste (you can skip these and add chillies separately to stir fries)
Dry roast all these spices and make a powder along with 8-10 whole red chillies, 1 tbsp dry ginger powder and 1 tbsp of amchoor (dry mango) powder and a pinch of asafoetida. Keep in a airtight container for later use. Just 2 tsp of this powder makes any stir fry hot, spicy and flavorful.
I stock powders of all these spices so I mix the powders and use for convenience. You can do that too if you stock powders of all these spices.
Kashmiri masalae ki sookhi bhindi is one stir fry that can make a meal for me if served with a little grilled chicken or even paneer.