Okra and Bitter Gourd Sabji

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My brother-in-law, Tony, prepared this Kashmiri recipe for us after an exciting visit to the Afro-Asian market in Ipswich to stock up on exotic vegetables. Both bitter gourd, known in Hindi as Karela, and okra, are noted in Ayurveda for their antidiabetic properties, so this recipe is great for people with diabetes or insulin resistance or who are trying to lose weight.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

4 Tbsp. ghee or sunflower oil
3 medium bitter gourds
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 green chili, thinly sliced
2" fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
1 whole clove of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of madras curry powder
2 tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
15 - 20 okra, washed and cut in small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup of cold water

Preparation

Cut the bitter gourds lengthwise, remove the seeds, sprinkle with salt and set aside for an hour. Meanwhile, wash, peel and chop the other ingredients as indicated on the ingredients list.

Now rinse the bitter gourd halves and chop in small semicircles.

In a wok, heat 2-3 Tbsp. ghee or oil and fry the bitter gourds and onion for fifteen minutes. Set aside.

In a smaller pan, heat 1Tbsp. ghee or oil, add the chili, ginger and garlic. Stir-fry until lightly browned. Now turn down the heat, add the madras curry powder and fry for a few seconds, taking care not to burn the powder. Quickly add the tomatoes, a little water and half the cilantro and cook on high heat for 15 minutes until it glazes and forms a tomato sauce.

In the wok, pour this sauce over the partly-cooked bitter gourds and add the okra. Sauté for ten minutes. Add the rest of the water, cover and steam on low heat for about 6 minutes until the okra and bitter gourd are tender but not falling apart.

Add salt and the rest of the cilantro and serve with cleansing kitchari or tridoshic kitchari.

Adapted from this recipe.

Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

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