When I started school I was told that eating ladies fingers would improve my mathematical skills, and because I disliked mathematics I made it a point to eat as much of ladies fingers as possible. Though it did not make me any better with numbers I love this vegetable and have tried to create different recipes with it. This particular poriyal/fry uses only 4 ingredients apart from the ladies fingers. It is very easy to make and can be dished up very quickly. One can use different curry powders to give variety in flavour.
The total folic acid content of ladies fingers is 105 µg and the free folic acid content is 25 µg, which is way above what is present in other vegetables. This must contribute to the popular (but unproven) belief about ladies fingers boosting mathematical skills as there are no other nutrients at significant levels. Folic acid is one of the vitamins essential in producing healthy red blood cells and to prevent anaemia.
- 500 gms Ladies Fingers (Okra)
- 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
- 2 tsp Madras Curry Powder/other curry powder
- 1 ½ tsp Salt, or to taste
- 2 T Vegetable Oil
- Wash and wipe the ladies fingers.
- Cut them into 3 cm pieces.
- Heat a kadai or wok.
- Broil (without oil) the ladies fingers initially on high heat and then on low heat to dry out the sticky mucin.
- Remove to another vessel.
- Heat the oil in the same kadai. Add the ladies fingers and cook till tender.
- Add salt and the Madras curry powder, and mix.
- Fry for a minute more.
- Add the curry leaves, mix and remove from heat.
- Indians do not like the slimy or sticky mucin that the ladies fingers give off when cut. Therefore they are broiled before the actual cooking to dry out the mucin.
- Madras curry powder is a combination of Indian spices known primarily outside India. It is not found in the local markets. I came across in Nuts and Spices. I find it most suitable for this preparation but if it is not available any Indian curry powder (rasam powder, chicken 65 powder, tandoori chicken powder, etc.) can be substituted.