Okra at last.

I didn't grow up with okra, and remained unconvinced a few years ago: I had mostly encountered it in gumbos, many not that well crafted. But then I had okra--bhindi masala--at an Indian restaurant, and I finally understood it. Stir fried, the curry offset okra's signature slither with a crunchy external crunch. It distracted me with chilli heat, garlic, cumin and mustard seed. 

Tonight I made a sweet corn soup by steeping the cobs in simmering water to make a quick broth. I sautéed the kernels with onion, garlic, a serrano chilli, two mild peppers and a handful of green cherry tomatoes, and then blended the corn and the broth together.   It was lovely but sweet and one-note.

So I made an improvised stir fry of starting with coconut oil, garlic, 2 seeded serranos, cumin seed, mustard seed, and a pinch of dried ginger (I didn't have fresh around). I tossed in 3 cups of chunky okra slices, tossed it all around and then added a half cup of tomato puree and some salt. I cooked until the tomato sauce was reduced and sticky, and topped my sweet soup with the crunchy spicy okra! A great summer supper. Someday I'll craft a formal recipe, but for now, just remember all okra needs is a generous hand with the spices.

If you are in Seattle, where hot-weather crops like okra can be hard to find, look for the Yakima Valley's Alvarez Farms at the farmers markets: they are my go to people for chillies, eggplant, and other sun-loving produce.