We harvested the last of our okra this week and began our garden take-down, so what better way to celebrate the end of the garden season than by eating it! I adapted a version of the North Indian okra and onion dish bhindi do pyaza to feature the three stars of our garden this year: okra, tomatoes, and butternut squash. Okra—also known as bhindi—takes center stage!
This is the first year I’ve grown okra, and it has been such a joy! The beautiful, tropical-looking plants, now towering at 8 feet tall or more, have been producing steadily since they were 8 inches tall at the beginning of July. Okra, brought to the Americas by enslaved Africans, is related to the hibiscus plant, and the stunning off-white flowers with burgundy centers reveal this familial link. It is popular in Indian, African, Caribbean, and Creole cuisine. The tender young pods are high in fiber and vitamins. Okra can While I know some people object to okra’s texture, I’d say try roasting or grilling it to avoid the slime (might I suggest tossing it in Z&B Chesapeake Blend, Creole & Soul Food Blend, Blackening Spice Blend, or Umami Seasoning first?). I find that the okra adds silkiness to the creamy butternut and the acidic tomatoes and amchoor in this recipe.
I seasoned this Bindhi with Butternut using Z&B’s rich, complex, yet vastly versatile Z&B Garam Masala, complemented by turmeric; ancho, the dried form of the mild but deeply flavored poblano chile; and amchoor, a tangy powder made from dried green mangoes. You can find ancho in most grocery stores, but you may need to go to an Indian market or spice shop for the amchoor. If you can’t find amchoor, I recommend you make this dish anyway—it’s still delicious! Just maybe increase the Garam Masala to your liking.
Here’s how to make it!
Sauté onion in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until it begins to caramelize. Stir in turmeric, ancho, and salt. Add okra and tomatoes and sauté for about 10 minutes more or until the okra begins to soften and tomatoes start to break down. Stir in amchoor powder and garam masala. Add butternut and stir just enough to incorporate but not so much that the butternut breaks down. Cook just until butternut is heated through, and serve over rice.
Yield: 6 servings
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did! Let us know what you think!