Okra makes a surprisingly flavoursome, satisfyingly textured curry when cooked in this way. Rose's trick is to keep the cut vegetable well away from any water, which will absorb like a sponge, ruining its silky texture and turning it slimy. When buying okra, look for bright, crisp pods with no dark or soft patches.
12 ounces okra
3 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
large pinch of fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon dhana jiru
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cloves garlic, crushed with 1 teaspoon salt
Wash the okra pods well while they're whole, then drain and dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper. Top and tail the pods, then cut across into rounds about 1/2-in thick.
Heat the oil gently in a wide pan (one that has a lid). Add the mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds. After 20 seconds or so, add the asafoetida and increase the heat slightly. When the seeds start to pop, add the okra pieces and toss them in the spiced oil until thoroughly coated.
Reduce the heat to low and add the dhana jiru, chili powder and turmeric, and stir gently. Cover with a lid and cook gently, stirring from time to time, taking care not to break up the pieces. The juices from the okra will run out -- keep cooking until they evaporate and the okra is quite soft. The curry should be quite dry. Add the garlic paste and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes, then serve.
To make dhana jiru:
Preheat your oven to 350°. Scatter the seeds on a baking tray (pan), then put the tray into the hot oven. Roast the spices for 5 minutes (use a timer if you're likely to forget). Remove the tray from the oven and allow the spices to cool completely. Grind to a fine powder in small batches using either a coffee grinder or spice mill.