Okra, if you're not familiar with it, is a tasty little pod that is common in Middle Eastern, African, Indian, and Southern dishes. Pros: It has a unique, mild flavor, is very high in Vitamin C, fiber, and folate, and can be cooked a myriad of ways. Cons: it is sometimes hard to find in stores, and the pods contain a somewhat slimy substance, a mucilage, that can either be used to thicken a stew or gumbo, or minimized by roasting in the oven as we do here. Okra can be found in many local international grocery stores, including Indian, Asian, African, and Middle Eastern, and may be available at stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Our local (and preferred) source in Seattle is Lenny's Produce in Greenwood, which is a great little place for many unique fruit and vegetable finds at great prices. If you can't find okra or aren't a fan, make this with just cauliflower or cauliflower and mushrooms instead! Wonderful with a side of basmati rice, this is a fast and very healthy dish that can be prepared easily on a weeknight. The spices are quite fragrant in this, and not only satisfy our taste buds, but also offer us many medicinal benefits. Spice liberally!
Crispy Cauliflower and Okra
Prep time: 10-15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 cups okra, cut into one inch pieces
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp brown mustard seeds
1 Tbsp high heat oil (avocado, coconut, canola, grape seed)
1 Tbsp rice flour (or potato starch)
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place tablespoon of oil on metal baking tray.
2. Chop okra into one inch pieces, discarding top caps, and pointy bottoms. Chop cauliflower into uniform florets. Place both on baking sheet and use your hands to toss in oil. Sprinkle with rice flour, all spices, and salt and toss to coat again.
3. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes, toss well for even browning, and bake for an additional 10 minutes until cauliflower and okra are both browned and crispy. Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Enjoy with a side of basmati rice, a nice tamarind chutney, a simple dal, or a la carte!