- 1 1/2 pounds okra
- 1 medium yellow or red onion
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chile powder (I like ancho chile powder for this dish, but it’s very flexible)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Trim off and discard the stem ends from the okra and cut the pods into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices.* Set the prepped okra aside. Peel and thinly slice the onion; set it aside. Chop the tomatoes, reserving their juices; peel and mince the garlic; set them both aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or saute pan over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until brightly fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chile powder, cumin seeds, turmeric, and cayenne, if using, and cook, stirring as the spices sizzle, another 30 seconds. Add the okra and stir to coat the pieces with the onion-spice mixture. Add the tomatoes, any juices they’ve released, the salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine everything and then cover. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until the okra is tender and the flavors are well blended 5 to 10 minutes. Take off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and add more salt to taste, if you like. Serve the okra hot or warm (although, as mentioned above, the cold leftovers are pretty tasty, too).
* If you have tender, young, small, truly fresh okra, you can also cook them whole. You may need to increase the cooking time by a couple minutes, but otherwise, you can proceed with the recipe as written but without the okra chopping.