This is a simple dry side dish that comes together pretty quickly, and needs simple ingredients. This is inspired by the Bengali dish chorchori or churchuri which is made with a mix of vegetables such as pumpkin, eggplant, potatoes, and almost always spinach, but all I had was okra/bhindi, and I decided to make it with what I have. It turned out really good! The original Bengali dish uses the mix of whole spices called Paanch phoron/paanch puran which is readily available in Indian grocery stores (paanch meaning five in Hindi). The original recipe also uses the spices whole, but I modified it slightly by powdering them coarsely, and adding it at the end instead of in the initial tempering.
1lbokraapproximate; I typically buy 2 or 3 handfuls of okra for the two of us, and 5/6 handfuls if the kids are home - yes very scientific I know
2small or 1 largeTomatoes
1tbsppaanch puran/phoron spices, whole
Chop okra into roughly 2/3 inch pieces, typically cut each into two pieces
Chop onions, tomatoes into small pieces
Coarsely powder the paanch puran spices
They're a mix of kalonji (black onion seeds), fennel, yellow mustard seeds, cumin, and fenugreek seeds
Heat oil in a kadai/pan/vaanali, and splutter the cumin seeds, and hing
Add the onions, a pinch of salt, and saute until translucent
Add the tomatoes, 1/2 tsp of salt, chili powder and cook until tomatoes are pulpy
When tomatoes look like this, they are done
Add the okra, remaining salt, and give everything a good stir so that the okra is lightly coated with the onion/tomato mix
Stir fry for about 4 minutes, then cover and cook for about 8 minutes, checking every few minutes or so to make sure they are not drying up and sticking to the bottom; if they are, sprinkle a little bit of water; covering will help retain the moisture and cook the okra in the steam
The okra is done when they're uniformly dark like this; at this point, add the coarsely powdered spice mix, mix it gently, and turn the heat off
Serve with rotis/parathas/pooris
The original chorchori recipe uses whole five spices in the beginning, and also whole red chilies; I have modified to use a little bit of chili powder instead, and the spice powder at the end; somehow, I feel the flavor is really delicate when done this way.
Also, the original recipe, if cooked by a Bengali, would be typically made with mustard oil; I am not a big fan of it,I think it's an taste, so I use whatever cooking oil I use (avocado, typically)
You can get creative with the vegetables used, although typically pumpkin, eggplant (brinjal/aubergine), potatoes, spinach are used; I have made this recipe with Karela (bitter gourd/pagarkai), and it tastes amazing. Panch Puran/Phoron is made up of cumin, kalonji (black onion seeds), fennel, yellow mustard, and fenugreek seeds
Have fun with it! This is a simple, delicate, quick and easy recipe!