Recipe #1: Ma Baba's home cooking
Now that my parents are here, I will be making and sharing a lot of recipes that is a day to day staple in my parents' house. Since my father is diabetic (and on medication), his diet mostly dictates the menu but my Ma will sneak in a favorite or two of hers. This Okra stir fry or simply Dhyarosh er sobji is one of my father's favorite veggie recipe to eat with roti. You can totally omit the onions and make a 'pure veg' version as well. I love the version that has potatoes as well!
- 1/2 tbsp mustard oil
- 3/4 tsp paanch phoron
- Green chili, slit
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 small tomato chopped
- 4 cups okra, washed well and cut at a diagonal
- Water - 1 to 1/2 cups, just enough to cover the okra
- Salt to taste
- a pinch of turmeric
Heat mustard oil in a pan on medium high heat, and temper with the five-spice mix or Panch Phoron (see notes). Once the seeds start spluttering, add the sliced onions and slit green chili. Fry till the onions caramelize. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they disintegrate. Throw in the okra and fry till they turn into a darker green. Add salt and turmeric and toss to coat. Cook for a couple of minutes and add enough water to just cover the okra pieces. Cover and cook on low flame till the okra softens.
Serve with Roti or Rice.
Notes: A special mix of 5 spices that we Bengalis call 'Paanch Phoron' is used in this dish for tempering. Typically, Paanch Phoron will include Fenugreek Seeds (Methi), Nigella Seeds (Kalo Jeera), Fennel Seeds (Mouri), Cumin Seeds (Jeera) and Wild Celery Seeds (Radhuni) in equal parts. 'Radhuni' is rarely available outside West Bengal, so celery seeds or black mustard seeds are also used as the 5th spice.