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dryadia in dailyrecipes

Bhindi Masala

1 pound (1/2 kg) okra (small)
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup oil
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon amchoor powder (or substitute fresh lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves for garnish
1. Wash okra under running water and slice off the ends.
Cut each in half. Set aside.
Prepare onions and tomatoes. Set aside.
2. In a wok or heavy skillet heat the oil and sauté onions until translucent.

3. Add all spices except the garam masala and stir-fry 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and bhoona * 1 minute. Add the okra and stir-fry 2 minutes.
Cover and steam over medium heat until tender, about 12-15 minutes.

4. Spoon the okra onto a warm serving plate and sprinkle with the garam masala.
Garnish with the coriander and serve while hot.

* Bhoona is a technique that is essential to Indian cooking.
The bhoona technique means that the mixture is cooked over medium-high heat, with constant stirring to avoid scorching, until all liquids are reduced and the spices coat the meat like a paste.
About 1/2 cup of water can then be added, the dish covered, and a gravy created as the dish becomes liquified again.
Serves 4-6 people.

Garam Masala - Regional variations
It is generally understood that the spices to be included in a garam masala will vary according to region, and personal choice. The basis of a North West Indian garam masala usually comprises cloves, green and/or black/brown cardamom, cinnamon (or probably cassia), and mace and/or nutmeg. Black pepper can be added if the mix is to be used immediately, but if kept, the fragrance will diminish, and may change in character. Also typical of the region is the use of black cumin (not white cumin, nor caraway, which is not an Indian spice). [2] The components of the mix are ground together, but not roasted. Garam masala is not 'hot' in the sense that chillies are, but is fairly pungent. Garam refers to the term 'hot' as applied to temperature, whereas the Hindi word teekha (derived from the Sanskrit teekshNa) describes heat as applied to the heat of chillies.

[edit] Commercial mixtures

A commercial package of garam masala Many commercial mixtures may include more of other less expensive spices and may contain dried red chili peppers, dried garlic, ginger powder, sesame, mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, bay leaves, star anise and fennel. While commercial garam masala preparations can be bought ready ground, as with all ground spice, they do not keep well and soon lose their aroma. Whole spices, which keep fresh much longer, can be ground when needed using a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder.

Garam masala can be found in two forms: the whole and individual spices purchased separately, or a commercially ground mixture made from the spices. When commercially ground garam masala is used in dishes, it is often added at the end of cooking so that the full aroma is not lost. Whole garam masala, however, is added with the fat/oil/ghee for a more pungent flavour. Because of the deeper flavour, many Indian chefs will not use commercially ground garam masala and insist on making their own from whole spices and herbs. Also, some chefs will use the whole spices in some dishes. These are heated in oil to release their aroma before being combined with food.



November 2008

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