Seasonal and simple is the name of the game these days.
But you know, that can be easier said than done.
First of all, seasonal food can leave us under So. Much. Pressure. It’s like hello excess of tomatoes and zucchini and peaches. I love you so much but for four weeks, I’m going to eat an excess of you until I am freaking stuffed. And then I’m going to look at you and wish you had never been born.
C’mon, y’all know I love to talk to my food.
Second, if you can tell by my bowls, I struggle to keep it simple. I have found it really hard to keep recipes simple without one, being boring and repetitive, or two, being filled with store-bought ingredients that have about 20 bazillion ingredients that I’d rather not use. So it’s definitely a struggle for me…especially since all I ever want to do is build on flavors, tweak them and then just add one last thing to make them PERFECT. Sometimes all you need is salt, pepper and good olive oil (hello caprese). But sometimes certain foods just go SO well with others, and then yeah, not so simple happens …or maybe fairly simple, but still kind of a lot of ingredients.
UGH. The struggle.
I just have so many flavor combinations in my head that I want to share. Take this okra, for example. I might have mentioned this before, but Bhindi was a dish my dad would cook as our Indian night we might have one Sunday a month. And, like everything my dad does, he has to get it EXACTLY right. So this riff on the classic Indian dish of stir fried okra, chilies, and tomatoes took quite a few tries for him to get it exactly right. It might not be authentic, but his secret is to bake the okra on a sheet tray with all of the tomatoes, spices, and chiles. Normally, bhindi is made in a saute pan. By baking it, you get a better chance of getting rid of the okra “snot” that sometimes accompanies it.
Now, I am not Indian, so I cannot claim that I know the true, authentic way to make bhindi. And trust me, this definitely is not it. What I can do it 1) cook Indian-ish food that tastes pretty good and 2) open your eyes to all of the potential food has to offer. If you have never cooked with garam masala before, you are in for a treat. Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend. Its flavors vary, but it usually consists of a blend of cinnamon, cloves, black and white pepper, cumin, coriander, and cardamom. Buy this once and invest in an opportunity to take a TRIP every single time you use it… ok not necessarily true but this spice is a great one to have for curry, dal, and anything you want to pop a flavor punch to.
I serve the okra as a side with some nice tofu or chana masala, some basmati rice, and some good old roti or naan. Indian night done right if you ask me!
10 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
- 1 lb of okra, sliced into 1/3 inch thick pieces
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes or 1 plum tomato, chopped
- 1.5 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (or just don't line the sheet). In a large bowl, toss the sliced okra, coconut oil, tomato, garlic, garam masala, ground coriander, and salt.
Spread evenly on a baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring once. The okra should be charred in spots and pretty dried out. Serve as a main with some chickpeas and grains, or as a side to grilled or roasted meat. EAT.
People of the world: Spice up your life!