One of my all-time favorite Indian dishes is bhindi masala. First of all, it's star attraction is okra, which I positively love. Second, it tastes like a dream within a dream. It's spiced and has a bit of astringency, while also maintaining a buttery, savory flavor.
When I was thinking of today's soup, I was thinking about bhindi masala, and that is absolutely clear from the ingredients--garam masala, turmeric root, curry powder, okra, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and little heat from chiles. This soup is perfect for a rainy day or the cold of winter. This soup lives up to it's name, there are many spices indeed. And, the flavor leaves you thinking only about your next bite.
I used a yellow curry powder that was a blend of the following spices: coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, mustard, black pepper and cayenne. I was going to add each of these spices on their own, but didn't have to because the blend did it for me. Again, because there can be differences, I used a garam masala blend with the following spices: coriander, cinnamon, fennel, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, and cloves. I also used frozen whole okra, but you are welcome to use fresh okra, if you have it on hand. For a variation on the soup, serve it over rice.
Okra Masala Soup
1 inch turmeric root, peeled and minced
1 tsp garam masala (see note above)
1 tsp curry powder (see note above)
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp crushed red chili pepper
½ jalapeno, minced
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp vegan butter
1 12 ounce bag of frozen whole okra
1 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes, diced
1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
2 cups broth (fake chicken or vegetable)
Fresh cilantro (to serve)
1. In a large, deep stainless steel pot, heat vegan butter and olive oil. Add turmeric root, spices, jalapeño, onion, and garlic and saute over low heat for 7-10 minutes--constantly stirring. The onions should take on some of the yellow from the turmeric root and be cooked through. Add okra and diced tomatoes, and cook 1-2 more minutes. Some of the spices may have stuck to the bottom of the pot, so use the tomato juice from the diced tomatoes and the back of your spoon to break it up and incorporate it into the main body of the soup.
2. Add the tomato sauce and broth. Cover with a lid, and simmer for 20-25 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat, and serve topped with fresh cilantro.