On day 600 of COVID quarantine, I craved my favourite takeout Indian meal: warm butter chicken, soft garlic naan, and crispy fried okra (Kukuri Bhindi). Since we definitely don’t have delivery at the farm, I set out to replicate the flavours with what I had in the kitchen. These warm, spicy flavours are exactly what we need for comfort right now, and it's loaded with healthy spices, like turmeric, nutritious fats, like coconut oil, and is plant based as the chicken is swapped for cauliflower. This is the first time I’ve ever made Indian food, and okra, which was slightly intimidating. But. I found the perfect recipe on Half Baked Harvest, one of my favourite food blogs. I loved that we marinate the cauliflower in coconut milk, then roast it in the oven, to develop really beautiful flavours that you’ll appreciate when you bite into the cauliflower covered in the coconut sauce.
I found this recipe for the fried okra. It is definitely more authentic, and a little more complex but I managed to find substitutes for things I didn’t have and it turned out perfectly! I didn’t have semolina, so I used corn meal instead. It served its purpose, but did leave it with a corn flavour, reminiscent more of Mexican food than Indian. I didn’t have Nigella seeds or fennel seeds, so I used ground coriander seeds to mimic the citrusy flavours. Instead of red chili powder, I used cayenne.
My mom jumped in to make the naan - it was so delicious (and ate the rest for lunch today). This recipe is great because it doesn’t require yeast, which is unfortunately hard to get right now.
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