Monday, May 16, 2011

Bhindi Masala - Airplane food you'll love

The chefs for South African Airways produced an okra dish so good not only did a cookbook author want seconds, she wanted the recipe.

 Marsha Dean Phelts, author of American Beach Cookbook, was flying to Dakkar when she was served this okra dish. She told me about it, I asked Elizabeth Ninomiya, director of marketing communications for South African Air, and she began running down the recipe.

Here's the recipe for this spicy dish.

Bhindi Masala

8-9 oz. small okra pods, sliced in 1/inch sections
1 TBS  Red chili powder
1 TBS Turmeric powder
1 TBS green chilies, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 TBS Cumin seed
2 tsp. Black mustard seeds
1/3 cup or less  Vegetable oil for frying okra
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 cup (scant) Vegetable oil, for seasoning
1/2 cup (generous) chopped onions

Heat oil in a wok. When hot, toss in the cumin and mustard seeds. Allow to splutter.
Once it stops spluttering, add green chili and onions. Stir fry on medium heat until browned. Remove from heat and save.
Pour frying oil into the same wok, add the chopped okra and stir-fry for a few minutes until cooked and aromatic. This way the okra will not split while cooking and the dish turns out very tasty.
Once fried and lightly browned remove okra from the wok.
Add sauteed onion mixture back into the wok and toss in the fried okra. Mix well to combine and allow to cook for a minute on medium heat.
Now toss in the Masala (dry spice) powders , mix well and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
Adding oil if necessary, mix in the chopped tomatoes and cover the wok. Allow the flavors to blend well and the tomato to cook until softened, about 7 minutes.
Uncover, add salt and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.
Serve over rice.

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