Cooking Indian food at home doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all about building layers of flavor — nearly every Indian dish I can think of starts with toasting seasonings in hot oil, which gets things off to an aromatic start. Next, onions are added to the pan and allowed to brown. By the time your curry is simmering, you’ve already built in lots of spicy, caramelized goodness. It’s hard to go wrong when you give yourself a great headstart.
In spite of being complex in flavor, this recipe is quick-cooking and doesn’t require a spice pantry full of exotic ingredients. Basmati rice simmers unattended while you make the main dish, so the whole meal comes together in a breezy 25 minutes.
When simmered in this spicy tomato sauce, okra becomes tender and delicious. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories about okra’s mucilaginous texture, but braising drastically cuts down on the dreaded slime. Thanks to this recipe, even my okra-hating dad is a convert now — he sheepishly served himself a bowlful, which was promptly devoured with gusto.
Fluffy Basmati Rice
1 C. Basmati rice
1 1/4 C. water
1. In a small (1-quart) saucepan, bring the rice and water up to a boil.
2. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Turn off heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Braised Okra in Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, diced
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced
1 lb. okra pods, cut into 1″ sections
1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, including liquid
1. Add the olive oil, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds to a large (12″) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
2. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the garlic, onion, and pepper. Sautee for about 10 minutes, or until the onion begins to brown.
3. Add the okra pieces and canned tomatoes to the skillet. Using a wooden spoon, gently break up the canned tomatoes into large pieces.
4. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover skillet and let simmer for 15 minutes, until okra has faded in color and is fully cooked.
5. Serve with Basmati rice.