There’s a farm stand near my house that sells fresh produce throughout the summer. It’s the only place I know where I can get fresh, shelled lima beans, black-eyed peas, and several varieties of field peas. The last time I went I was happy to find vine-ripened tomatoes, peaches, sweet watermelons, and tender, young okra. I came home with several bags almost overflowing with fruits and veggies.
I decided to combine two of my purchases, baby lima beans and okra, into a curry. While okra is a traditional ingredient in Indian food, I don’t think that lima beans are. Nevertheless, they worked well in this recipe, which turned out to taste something like a gumbo with Indian seasonings.
Mango powder and red chilli powder are available at Indian markets, as is garam masala. Make sure the spices you use are fresh, and adjust the chilli powder and the garam masala to suit your level of spice-tolerance. The garam masala that I used was not very spicy, so this came out much milder than I expected. If you really want to turn up the heat, add a red or green chilli pepper to the onion as it’s sautéing.
Okra and Lima Bean Masala
1 pound small, tender okra
1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. mango powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1-3 tsp. garam masala (store-bought or homemade)
2 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped (about 3 cups)
1 cup fresh or frozen baby lima beans
1 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
Trim the tops of the okra and cut into 1 to 1-1/2 inch pieces. If the okra is small, you should just cut it in half.
In a large non-stick pot, sauté the onion until it begins to brown. Add the cumin seeds and sauté one minute more.
Add the mango powder, chilli powder, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. Stir and cook 1 minute. Add the okra and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the tomatoes, lima beans, and water. Cover and simmer on low heat until limas are tender. If you’re using frozen beans, this may be in as little as 20 minutes. Fresh beans take longer to cook, up to an hour.
After the limas are tender, remove the cover, add salt if desired, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve hot over rice or other grain.