So more deep thoughts before i proceed...
I am a cook, not a chef and i am proud of this for i am beginning to believe something which may or may not make people mad.
I chef prepares and presents what they want you to eat, and there is nothing wrong with this because i learn a great deal from a number of chefs.
I also believe a chef will push new things, well, because...
I see a cook as someone who knows the person they are preparing a meal for intimately and caters to the likes and dislikes of the person they are serving.
I am proudly a cook, for i know what the people that i cook for like and dislike.
I may serve something out of the box, but ultimately it will be something they will eat because i know their likes and dislikes.
Having said that, i went out of the box on Wednesday, a meatless day for me during lent (and that is in of itself, out of the box for the people i cook for).
I have a wonderful Asian Indian friend who showed me many things and i do some of them well - like lentils (dahl) and a jasmine rice and then there is Okra.
First let me say, i grew up hating Okra. My mother prepared it stewed with tomatoes and the slimy texture i could not stand.
I still can not stand it, but there is a way...
First the spices, all dry - whole cumin seeds, coriander seeds, dry mustard seed, dry red chili pepper, whole black pepper corns, whole cloves and cinnamon are roasted with out oil till they just begin to give off their wonderful aroma, cooled and then ground fine and set aside. I use equal portions (except for the cloves, i use 6 per tablespoon of the other spices and ginger, which i use half the amount of the other spices), and you might want to reduce the amount of pepper to make it less hot, depending on your palette.
1 tablespoon of cooking oil .
1 red onion, sliced.
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 or 3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 dozen baby okra, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
16 oz canned diced tomato or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons of the fresh spice mixture
to the oil in a hot pan (heat on high) add the onions, pepper, okra and spice mixture until the onions are just translucent
add ginger, tomatoes, turmeric and garlic and reduce heat to medium - medium high to reduce the liquid.
Remove from heat, add the cilantro and salt and serve.
I usually serve this over jasmine rice with a side of yogurt (usually mixed with fresh cilantro).