Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mix and Match Subzi

There is a modest list of vegetables- cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, eggplant, peas- that I consider the "old faithfuls". They are available no matter what the season is, and we seem to like them cooked every which way. If you get tired of a vegetable by itself, you can always mix and match it with another to keep things interesting.

And that is how the cabbage from the crisper teamed up with okra from the freezer to become Recipe #17: Cabbage-Okra stir-fry, inspired by this recipe from My Treasure...My Pleasure. I would never think to cook cabbage with okra- and that's why I love food blogs so much, because of the big and small things I learn every day.

A lot of people won't cook with frozen okra. For me, it is very rare to find good fresh okra so I can either embrace frozen okra or put up with an okra-free existence. I chose the former and have learnt to cook frozen okra in a way that it doesn't get slimy. The disclaimer here is that tolerance levels for okra-slime vary and this might not work for everyone.

The "secrets":
1. Pouring frozen okra straight into the hot pan (don't thaw out).
2. Using an open pan and never ever ever covering the frozen okra as it cooks.
3. Of course, just as for fresh okra, don't even think of adding water to okra as it cooks.
4. Add salt at the very end, after you turn off the heat, because salt draws out moisture.
5. Patience. It can take a while for the okra to get browned and flavorful in the open pan.

To make this subzi, here is the way I adapted the original recipe:
1. Heat oil, temper with
mustard seeds
cumin seeds
curry leaves
2. Add onion, saute, then add
red chilli powder
coriander-cumin powder
3. Add shredded cabbage and frozen okra.
4. Cook, stirring once in a while, until the subzi is cooked through and the cabbage is slightly browned.
5. Turn off the heat, then stir in salt.

To go with the cabbage-okra stir fry, I made a cheater's mango dal. I simply pressure-cooked toor dal, then stirred in a generous amount of mango thokku (grated mango relish, see recipes here and here; the one I used was made by V's mom) and salt. What- don't look at me like that. It was delicious!

Here's the meal:

There's still time to sign up for a 7-day recipe marathon from the 25th to the 31st of December. I have 14 intrepid bloggers on the list; check this post for details if you would like to join us.


  1. I love mixing and matching various sabjis(and ingredients..:)) and discovering new combinations..Cabbage and okra sounds very interesting and come to think of it- very tasty.

    Mango thokku in toor dal sounds exactly like something I would do (and probably have done in the past)..LOL..

    Now you are making me crave mango thokku. I want some. now.

  2. Adding pickle to daal is my kind of a shortcut!
    Am tempted to join in; 7 days seems doable.

  3. Cabbage and okra very unusual pair, guess it tastes good. I love love okra, and I use frozen ones, dishes turn out pretty well with frozen ones. As you said Heat is the key, for okra.

  4. mango thokku in dal!! now why havent i tried it till now??!!

  5. This ombination is totally my kind, gotta' give it a try soon as i get my hands on some fresh okra.

  6. I love using frozen okra.. Cutting fresh okra is too much work for me.. :-) Cabbage & okra is an interesting combination. Have to try this one soon..

  7. wonderfully simple and delicious recipe, Nupur! I am in the category of those people who don't cook frozen okra but seeing your tips I am ready to give it another change :) I would have liked to participate in the 7-day challenge but being a new blogger don't have a stack of draft recipes yet =p may be next time...

  8. Different combo! Great tips to cook frozen okra.

  9. Very unusual combination for me cabbage and okra..2 cents of my limited gyan about okra-if you add a dash of lime juice while cooking doesn't turn slimy..already started warm up for the marathon on my blog!:)

  10. I dont cook frozen okra as it turns mushy and gives off enough thread to stitch a dress :) And I turned to growing fresh ones at home just for this:) I'll try your tips the next time I make okra kari.

    I'd like to join the recipe marathon. I tried contacting through the link but couldnt hence through this comment. Nice opportunity to try to cook some of the recipes old and new..

  11. wonderful dish Nupur. I love mango Daal and in winter i sometime make it with Aamchur. would love to participate in the 7 day recipe marathon. Just have sent you a mail.

  12. Lavanya- The combination really was tasty; something I will make again and again! Now I am all out of mango thokku- sigh :)

    TheCooker- True, it would work with any sort of pickle, not just mango thokku.

    Madhu- Yes, it it unusual but very tasty.

    Superchef- Try it; it tastes terrific :)

    musical- Yes, you'll love it! I was so sorry when I ate the last bite of this subzi.

    Pavani- Yes, fresh okra is labor intensive, but I must admit there are some okra dishes for which frozen just won't do.

    PJ- Frozen okra for me is completely OK for dishes like sambar etc; try it if you don't have access to fresh okra.

    Divya Vikram- Yes, a very unusual combo.

    Madhuli- Really? I had not heard that before; I'll add some lime juice next time and see how it works, thanks for the tip :)

    Sowjanya- Growing your own okra is the very best solution! Thanks for participating; I have added your name to the list of participants.

    Sayantani- I got your mail- thanks!

  13. Good way to get rid of the slime in okra is it broil it in the oven. I usually use the toaster oven , lighly coat the okra with olive and broil it for 10-15min.
    Though havent tried with frozen okra , but I think this approach might over , may need to broil it for couple more minutes


  14. mixing and matching veggies sometimes brings up great ideas resulting in awesome dishes.. my favorite is mushroom and okra combo :)

  15. Hii,

    It was only few months back that I realised that mix n match works well not only with clothes, but with veggies also.. my favourite is gherkins n green peas subji :)


  16. I too would never have thought to cook okra with cabbage, but I am not afraid of frozen okra. It makes great sambhar! Saute it with the seasoning, let it brown a little and then add to the dal and once it cooks down, yum!

    Next time I'll try it with cabbage :)

  17. Searching- Yes, broiling works well but I have not tried it for frozen okra either.

    Sujatha- Okra and mushroom sounds very intriguing!

    passionforlife- Gherkins and green peas sounds very good, only I rarely find gherkins where I live.

    Linda- You are so right- frozen okra makes terrific sambar! Okra sambar is a definite favorite in my home and something I learned from other bloggers.

  18. I love okra and here in CA we can get it year round.

    BUT...It really isn't very good from October through April. So I just don't buy it until the summer comes along. I never even considered frozen, but may try it just for the heck of it. Thanks for the tips.


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