Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Okra with Taro Stir fry

Do you fast? I have never fasted in my life. Not that I do not respect the practice just the opposite saw it practiced regularly, just that I never took to it. Fasting is a common practice done on auspicious days. In my maternal grandparents house on amavasai or no moon day fasting was observed as a mark of respect for the dead. The kitchen was cleaned and an amavasai special meal was prepared, (if memory serves me right was one of the best, make a mental note to record the foods and customs on my next visit) and lunch was served on banana leaves after offering and prayers were done. It is customary for the people on a fast to break the fast before the others can eat.

An article(Why not just stop eating?) in my local paper (can't find the article online) says that fasting is a also used for weight loss. Intermittent fasting or avoiding eating during certain times of the day tricks the body into thinking it is starving thereby making it burn calories. Intermittent fasting the article goes on to say, offers the same advantages as long-term calorie reduction. I thought it was interesting.

Most practices written off today as superstition had a scientific reason behind it though at the time it was not thought as such. The pomp and show that have accompanied some of these traditions is a later day addition which is what puts off a lot of people. Fasting I have heard cleanses the body of toxins. So it makes perfect sense to use fasting as a health tool. It helps to know that tests on animals have shown that intermittent fasting or calorie reduction has helped to reduce cognitive decline in diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Okra with Taro Stir Fry - Just for You

Alka of Sindhi Rasoi has this wonderful Just for You event and this dish goes off to her event. This dish is dedicated to friends who I have lost contact during the course of life. I have been thinking about this friend a lot lately, she was in the room next to mine (she was a year junior) in the hostel during higher secondary (read 11 and 12). Her parents lived in a town close by, so they would visit her every weekend with home made goodies. She was a sweet heart and I always got a big share of it. Some of my other friends even considered me lucky! What I remember most about her was she was a devout Christian and Sunday was a day for God, she would not study even if it were exams the next day. She would just wake up at 1.00AM on Monday. She even avoided watching TV and rarely if ever watched Oliyum Oliyum (songs from movies) and movies. These were days before the proliferation of satellite TV channels so these were sought after TV programs. What amazed me most was her discipline and self control. For a TV junkie like me I could not even dream of such discipline. Well to make a long story short,one weekend her parents brought chips made from elephant yam that looked really delicious and spicy. I know I am not exactly allergic but intolerant of that particular yam. Get a severe stomach pain after consuming them. Not known for discipline or self control and with something that is spicy and looked so tasty I was a goner. I not only tasted but ate quiet a few and suffered from the worst stomach pain ever. Nothing serious happened just a lesson in holding the tongue and I was fine the next day.

On a recent visit to DH's friend's house (his wife is an amazing cook) I saw some okra stir fry and it looked very inviting so I helped myself to of course a huge helping. As I was eating it along with the crunchy okra I bit into something smooth and soft. She revealed that it there were elephant yam pieces, don't think that stopped me enjoying the okra nope continued eating and waiting for the stomach pain to hit but thankfully nothing. She had used frozen yam, the freezing process probably blunted the enzymes that I was intolerant to. Ever since I have been thinking about my afore mentioned friend (I am all set to scour the networking sights to see if I can spot her somewhere) and also cooking the okra stir fry with taro root. Taro root when cooked has almost the same texture.

So dear friend this dish is for you and I hope to find you soon and Alka hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Okra with Taro stir fry
1. 1 1/2 Cups of okra sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2. 4-5 Taro root cooked peeled and cubed
3. 1/2 onion chopped
4. 5 green chilies slit
5. 2 Red chilies deseeded and torn in half
6. seasonings: curry leaves, 2 tsp urad dal a pinch of mustard seeds and cumin seeds
7. 1 tsp amchur powder (to remove the slime)
8. 2 tsp turmeric powder
1. Heat a kadai or wide mouthed pan and add oil when hot add the seasonings, urad dal first followed by curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds. When the mustard starts to pop
2. add the chilies and the onion and fry till translucent
3. add the okra and stir fry for about 5 minutes, now add the turmeric and amchur powder
4. Add the taro root pieces and salt, continue to stir fry on low medium till the okra is completely cooked and the taro root turns brown on the outside (about 20 minutes)

Tip: To reduce the okra slime, make sure the okra is well dried after washing. Once chopped again leave them in the sun to dry for a little bit. The amchur powder aids in removing the slime quickly, lemon juice or a tsp of yogurt helps as well.

Serve with rice or chapatis. The kids absolutely loved it.


  1. Never fasted in my life, not even for the DA MAN Shiva on Shivaratri, even as a sorry excuse for being Shaiva myself ever! :P

    Fasting is good to detox your body though atleast for a day, religious reason or not but can I handle it? NAH! Haha!

    Never tried Taro, looks delicious. Must but one day and taste it, never know.I might like it! :))

  2. ofcourse i loved them all,i mean the memories,the recipe,the pic.Only ouch was tht stomach pain....more than us,our friends felt bad if our body responded negatively to their food .....saying this from my personal experience;-)

  3. I have fasted but it was not a complete - eat nothing fast.. more like fruits and milk during the day and then I would have dinner.. but since i haven't done that in ages, it seems like I've lost the ability to... Tried it a while ago for shashti viradham and found it near impossible. I agree with you on quite a few of our customs having a scientific base to them... learnt quite recently how wearing a toe ring can help avoid sciatica pains during pregnancy. How cool is that?

    This is such a unique combination... very interesting.
    Hope you find your friend soon.

  4. I used to fast on Thursdays or a set of days and then gave it up when I went to college.. I was just thinking yesterday that I should get back to it. IMHO, Fasting is as much as for detoxing as much for self control. And maybe to give that poor tummy a break :)

    About the taro - that's oxalic acid - I think... Or is that for senakilangu?

    Loved reading about your friend! You never know.. you might get in touch with her soon.. Check orkut or Facebook - I got in touch with many of friends through orkut.

  5. Btw, Is that fasting called orusindhi in your place too?

  6. Sounds different and interesting. Looks delicious. will try soon.

  7. It's a lovely looking dish ISG, and an even lovlier story along with it. I have never tried elephant yam nor taro.

    Hope you find your friend!

  8. I never fasted in my life, if i did ever skip food it would be that sudden obsession to diet or becoz i didn't get time to eat during college exams...
    I have seen people eat & eat & eat in the name of not eating & religion... (the things that are allowed, & that happens to be a LOT)... & I cannot support fasting in that form.

    That is one unique combination! but it must be tricky to cook, since both are kind of slippery right?

  9. Kay, I am not sure if the amavasai fast is called orusindhi, I thought it is done during wedding and if I am not mistaken it is more like "orupandhi" where the bride and groom's families meet to break the fast. Will check when I call mom this weekend :)

  10. I've never fasted either, but I've never been religious. I have seen people take up fasts that don't include rice but a lot of other cereals, fasts that don't have anything sour in them, etc etc. I've always wondered about the rationale - I wish these things were explained properly than associated with various Gods and Goddesses because then we would take them more seriously.

  11. Nice combo and great way of including veggies that one wouldn't normally eat. In fact, it looks delicious :)

  12. Looks delicious! Nice combo..

  13. very unique combo.. i love okra.. is taro root-sepankizhangu?

  14. Wat a creative dish, gonna try soon..

  15. Mahima, yes taro root is sepankizhangu.

  16. Alka, I know what you mean. I forget what exactly I did and I am hoping I did not make my friend feel bad.

    Sra, yes a little explaination of the reasons behind doing these things would go a long way to dispel myths. I agree.

  17. Unique combination, am pretty sure I have never had okra and taro root together, you make it look inviting, will give this a try....all the best with finding your friend :-)


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