OKRA AND POTATOES WITH TOASTED SESAME SEEDS

The recipe was inspired by some okra I ate at my favorite restaurant in Goa, called Gunpowder. It is okra and potatoes like you’ve never seen them, as if they’ve been given a glamorous Hollywood makeover: tossed in cumin seeds, curry leaves, and garlic, then flavored with tamarind and spiked with red pepper flakes before being encrusted with toasted sesame seeds. This dish goes very well with moong dal (see here) or an eggplant curry, alongside chapatis (here) or rice, and yogurt.

NOTE: As tamarind paste varies from brand to brand, add it gradually until it tastes good to you.

Serves 4 as part of a main course

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
¾ pound Yukon gold or baby white potatoes, washed, each cut into 6 wedges
1½ pounds okra, tops cut off
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1½ teaspoons tamarind paste
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

First toast the sesame seeds. Set a large lidded frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the seeds. Stir-fry them for 2 to 3 minutes, until almond brown, then tip onto a plate.

Put the oil into the same pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Stir for a minute, until the seeds pop and the curry leaves crackle, then add the garlic.

A minute later, add the potatoes and stir-fry for 3 minutes, then add 2 tablespoons of water, pop the lid on, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the okra, turn the heat up a little, stir, pop the lid back on, and cook for 8 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water and stirring if the potatoes stick to the bottom of the pan.

Now add the red pepper flakes, tamarind, turmeric, salt, and sesame seeds. Stir and cover again, cooking for a further 4 minutes, or until both the potatoes and okra are tender. Check the seasoning, take off the heat, and serve.