Bhindi (okra) is one of my most-loved vegetables, but it is a seasonal favorite whose availability further varies by location. In the southern US, I’ve mentioned before, you can find it fresh in grocery stores mostly year-round, but dismal demand in the midwest renders its delivery spotty even in summertime–and impossible during winter. I was floored to find it fresh in the waning summer Saturdays at our local farmer’s market, buying up at least a couple pounds each morning it was available. (And subsequently offered my tips toward choosing fresh okra here.) I mostly used it in bhindi masala, trying variations on Tara Shetty’s outstanding recipe. Here’s what it looks like with fresh okra and fresh tomatoes:

In despicably inhospitable climes I’ve been forced to consort with bagged frozen okra. Desperate measure, but I’m managing. Our local Kroger sells the whole frozen okra essential to this dish–pre-sliced just doesn’t, ahem, cut it. The former’s slime factor helps the spicy sauce cling to the vegetable better, evenly distributing the flavors. All I do is steam the okra and, once it has cooled, chop it lengthwise and continue with the recipe. Instead of using two chopped tomatoes (& paying a fortune for pinkish hot-house grown monsters), I simply use one 14.5oz can of organic chopped tomatoes (unsalted if possible). The results? Not too bad! Two separate occasions:

January bhindi

February bhindi

PS. I recently (VERY MISTAKENLY) adjusted some unfamiliar setting on my camera and am mostly taking gloomy-looking pictures as a result. Hopefully getting that figured out soon.