Hairy Lady's Fingers

Yum! So what we call okra, India calls lady's fingers. I kinda see it. But not so much. I can't remember if Indian okra is hairy, but ours is. Which doesn't really work with the lady finger thing. Forget the hair, just find some okra, it's in season!!
Anyway. I made some this weekend following a Keralan recipe, and they came out so delicious! I made them again tonight, with a little more speed and confidence. Next time, I won't even need to look at the recipe!

Straight from Nimmy Paul, with a few tweaks...
Plain yogurt
Green chili (jalapeno) chopped
Ginger chopped
Grated coconut (UNsweetened)
Coconut oil
Mustard seeds
Dry red chili
Curry leaves (I used basil, don't tell Nimmy!)

Saute okra in a little butter or oil (vegetable, safflower, etc...). When almost done, add 1/2 T ginger and 1 chopped chili, toss in a pinch of salt. Meanwhile, combine about 1 c of yogurt with about 1/4 c of coconut. When okra is softened to your liking, mix into the yogurt. Put the pan back on heat, add about 1 1/2 T of coconut oil, 1/2 t mustard seeds, 1/2 dry red chili (or 1 tsp), and curry leaves*. When spices start popping, mix into okra and yogurt. Stir gently and serve!

*Curry leaves are very different than what we know as curry, the yellowish mixed spice powder. Fresh green curry leaves add a wonderful subtle flavor which is released when they hit the oil. They can be hard to find outside of Indian neighborhoods, so I've substituted fresh basil leaves. Nimmy said not to try subbing anything, but I did. And I liked it. Use about 3 or 4 leaves, doesn't need to be strong.

A few other notes. Please be sure to get UNsweetened grated coconut. It's much easier than grating your own, but by all means, if you've got coconuts, give it a whirl. DO NOT get regular grated coconut that you'd put on an ice cream sundae. You will be oh so disappointed.
Also, coconut oil might not be in the regular grocery store. Should be at any asian or ethnic food store. The health food store near me has it. It's glorious, you'll want to use it for everything. Be very. very. careful. Or you'll turn into a coconut!
Finally, a little discovery... typically when I make okra, it's slimy. You know what I mean. Fresh or frozen, always comes out slimy. I found out that's because I steam it, even in just a little water, still slimy. Well when you just saute in a little oil or butter, NO slime! It takes much longer to soften, but it's worth it.

Adjust the recipe's yogurt and coconut based on how much okra you use. I used about 2 c chopped okra, and this is only about 2 servings for a main dish, 4-6 as a small side. But I like it, and so did everyone else that had it, we could have doubled the recipe, even as a side. Enjoy!

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