Pishima’s Stuffed Okra

-Recipe from Yamuna mataji

     This is my favorite stuffed okra recipe, and I have stuck as close as possible to the original version I learned from my well-wishing Vaishnava teacher and cooking inspiration, Pishima.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Serves: 6

1 pounds (685 g) tender okra, preferably 4-inch
   (10 cm) pods, washed and thoroughly dried
2 table spoons (30 ml) coarsely crushed coriander seeds
1 table spoon (15 ml) coarsely crushed cumin seeds
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fennel seeds
teaspoon (2 ml) freshly ground pepper
1 table spoon (15 ml) garam masala
teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper or paprika
teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafetida powder (hing)
teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1 table spoon (15 ml) ground almonds
teaspoon (2 ml) amchoor powder or
  table spoon (7 ml) lemon juice
5 table spoons (75 ml) ghee or sunflower oil
table spoon (7 ml) salt

This amount applies only to yellow Cobra brand. Reduce any other asafetida by three-fourths.

1.    Slice off the stem end and 1/8 inch (3 mm) off the tip of each okra pod. Slit each one lengthwise, leaving inch (6 mm) unslit at both ends, taking care not to cut the pods in half.
2.    Combine the crushed coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper, garam masala, cayenne or paprika, asafetida, turmeric, ground almonds and amchoor powder if you’re using it. After mixing the ingredients together, drizzle in the lemon juice (if you haven’t used amchoor) and 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of ghee or oil, and crumble through your fingers to blend well into a dry, oatmeal like consistency.
3.    Using a teaspoon or butter knife, ease about teaspoon (1 ml) of the stuffing evenly into each slit. Working one at a time, stuff, then press the cut edges closed and set aside, until ready to cook.
4.    When you are ready to fry the okra, place the ghee or oil in a heavy –bottomed 12-inch (30 cm) frying pan over moderately high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the stuffed okra and spread the pods into one layer. Cover, reduce the heat to moderate and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid, gently turn the okra to ensure even browning, and fry, turning frequently, for 20-25 minutes or until the okra is tender, golden brown and crisp. Depending on the size of the pods, cooking time will vary. Transfer the okra to paper towels, salt and gently toss. Serve piping hot.