Day 6- Eid Dinner: Spicy Okra (Bhindi)

Eid-Ul-Adha AKA Bakra Eid (Goat Eid) is the Meat fest of all Meat fests! Once a year, every Pakistani neighborhood turns into a petting zoo of smelly, well fed, heavily decorated & extremely noisy goats all getting the royal treatment before their big send off. The week before Eid, everyone complains of insomnia due to bellowing ‘bakras’ outside their window (they’re so loud we almost can’t hear the usual motorbikes and rikshaws). Anyway, come Eid morning and all the goats get taken for slaughtering – majority of the meat is distributed to poor families who cannot otherwise afford it. A portion of the meat is kept in the home to be shared with family & loved ones in communal meals over the next 3 days. Now, though, I do respect everything about the holiday – I still do not partake in the feasting!

Luckily, being here in Toronto I neither have to listen to late night goat opera, or sit at the table and watch everyone eat. Instead, this Eid, I am cooking up a few popular vegan/vegetarian Pakistani dishes! Tonight, I made Spicy Okra (Bhindi), using a recipe my aunt taught me over the phone.

Heres how to do it:

A few tips before you start :-

When using Okra – chop off the head and tail of the Okra as they do not cook well- also make sure that you dry the Okra properly before cooking it- if it retains moisture it will become one big sticky mush in your pan!

Also, Keep your stove on low- medium heat throughout- high heat will burn the Okra and make it bitter.

Recipe :

Fresh Whole Okra

1 red onion

half a tomato (chopped)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon Cumin seeds

Onion seeds (optional/can be bought at any ethnic food store, or wholefoods equivalent)

half a teaspoon turmeric power

red chilli powder

Yoghurt (vegetarian option)

Salt

Directions:

in a skillet heat oil and cumin seeds- cook for about 2-4 minutes allowing the oil to catch the cumin flavour – add in onion seeds. cook for another 1 minute and then add finely chopped red onion and turmeric powder. Allow the onion to sweat and turn translucent. Once the onions have reached the right colour- toss in chopped Okra mix onion and okra together and leave to cook for about 10-15 minutes- occasionally stirring.

Once the Okra has lost it’s stickiness; you know that it is cooked. Add red chilli powder and salt (quantity depending on your preference) and stir for 1-2 minutes. If you’re a vegetarian, this is a good time to add the yoghurt- mix together and let the yoghurt coat all the okra bits. Finally, add the diced tomato.

Allow everything to cook together until all the juices from the tomato are gone and all the different spices have blended together.

and .. done! Your Spicy Okra/ Bhindi is ready to serve!

Aside from Okra I also made chickpeas but I think one recipe is enough for now 🙂

Tomorrow I will be cooking for my fellow veggie-lovers, who, like me are excited for a herbivorous Eid!.

And remember, if you’re already a vegetarian/vegan or you find it hard to give up meat but still want to be a part of No Meat November, you can do your bit by finding a cause close to your heart and dedicating this month to raising awareness & funds. causes like – Animal shelters, environment protection groups etc. You can send me an email at : nomeatnovember@gmail.com for suggestions/ questions, and I will mention your efforts on my blog and twitter (@NoMeatNovember). If you can’t find a cause , you could always donate to : http://www.wspa.ca !But do let me know as I would like to make a shout out to all the amazing people who are joining me and doing something great this month 🙂

Till then- I hope you had a great weekend! No Meat November, signing out!

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