6.27.2011

Impromptu Weeknight Curry: Okra, Potatoes and Squash

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Usually when I shop for groceries, I try to have meals in mind. But last week when I saw a bin of good-looking okra at Super King, I purchased it without having a clue to what I was going to do with it.

I grew up eating okra. But only prepared in one way -- in tomato sauce, with garlic, onions, and herbs. I've always liked it because it had such a unique flavor, but it's not a vegetable I crave or think about often. And I had never prepared it myself. I was supposed to call the parents while driving home from work, which is the only time I spend talking on the phone, to ask for the recipe. But, as I sat behind the wheel that evening, I didn't feel like having a conversation with my mom. These short, almost daily check-ins, leave me tired and grumpy. They usually go something like this:

Mom: So what's new?
KK: Nothing new from yesterday.
Mom: Why not?
KK: Because all I did was make dinner, sleep and go to work since we last talked.
Mom: Your life is boring. You call me and expect me to talk while you just listen.
KK: I call you 'cause you insist on me calling me, and who says I'm listening?
Mom: What!? What did you say?
KK: I am almost home, have to go, so much traffic. Bye!

Sometimes the above varies with accusatory questions of when we're going to finally have a baby, or how we shouldn't plan all our trips around drinking, or when we're going to visit next -- they hardly remember what I look like! So as you can imagine, there are times when on my drive home, I just want to listen to NPR and not defend our upcoming wine tasting trip, or our fear of becoming prisoners to a little baby, and inviting more boredom to our already very boring lives. So, that evening, I sacrificed my parents okra recipe for a peaceful drive.

When I got home, I Googled okra, and came across a strange recipe for a scallop and okra curry. It looked weird, and I didn't pay it much attention, since I had no scallops, but, it inspired me to make some sort of an okra curry. I checked my kitchen. I had potatoes, and a squash from the garden. With some coconut milk, tomato sauce and curry powder, items I always have in the pantry, I told myself I could make this work. At first, I was a bit concerned about how well okra would go with the rest of the ingredients, but decided to just go with it. And I'm glad I did, the curry was delicious. And even better the next day.

I had to taste a lot along the way, and adjust the seasoning, add more ginger and broth, but the end result was worth the effort. I would definitely make this dish again; my very own okra recipe, and I didn't even have to field annoying baby questions to get it.
Okra, Potato and Squash Curry
Serves 4 - 6

1 1/2 lbs of okra, trimmed and washed
3 red potatoes, peeled, and diced (I microwaved these first for about 7 minutes to cut down on the cooking time)
1 squash, diced (we think this was a winter squash, but any solid, hearty squash will do)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
1/2 can of coconut milk
1, 8 oz can of tomato sauce
tbsp of tomato paste
8 or so oz of chicken broth
curry powder
olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Saute your shallot and garlic in olive oil. And curry powder and ginger, and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
2) Add potatoes, more oil if needed, and cook for 5 or some minutes. Then add okra, along with salt and pepper, and cook an additional 5 minutes.
3) Add the remainder of your ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 or so minutes,
4) Uncover, taste, adjust any seasoning (more curry powder, broth, salt), cover and continue cooking until potatoes and okra have cooked through about 15 or so minutes.
5) Uncover and cook, until sauce reaches desired consistency.

Serve over rice.



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