As a self proclaimed foodie I never pass an opportunity to look for new and exciting ingredients. Yesterday we decided to do our weekly shop in the treasure trove, the Aladin’s cave of wonders and one of my favourite shops in the whole wide world, Bristol Sweet Mart. Whenever I go I discover new exciting things to try and to cook with.

First, I must apologise for slowing down the shoppers who came to get their shopping done and found themselves stuck behind me and my kids (the alleys are quite narrow). We treat this shop as a museum. We explore the produce, the spices, the colourful lentils, the olives and noodles.... We look at sauces and teas and I teach them what I know and marvel over the things I have never seen before.

Guava and amla

We sure found some new treasures: beautifully scented fresh guava (forget pot-purri these guys can perfume your house much better), fresh and dried powdered amla (AKA indian gooseberry or hog plum). I asked the cashier how to eat the fresh amla, she said she just eats them as they come. We tried that and they were incredibly tart and bitter. I may just stick to the dried powder and use it in smoothies as Dr Greger recommends:

My son wanted to try okra after seeing it on a Hairy Bikers episode and of course the Sweet Mart is the place to acquire some. I discussed the preparations with the helpful staff in the shop. I was instructed to wash it before I slice it, the other way the slime oozes out. Another advice was to fry it. I also talked to my friend who does cook okra, she stews it with meat. She made me laugh when she likened it to octopi as the slime reminded her of tentacles. I was a bit worried what my okra will end up like, but honestly it was great, no sea creature lookalikes coming out of my pot. Being warned about the slime I chose to fry, but still keeping it low in oil with only 1 Tbs. As we served it next to my spicy aubergine curry and some fiery parsnips (from Sweet Mart) I kept the chilli heat low using only half a chilli pepper, use more if you wish. The okra was definitely the star of the dish and will be gracing our table again soon.




Serves 4 as a part of an Indian meal

400g okra
1 Tbs rapeseed oil (canola)
1 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
15 curry leaves (fresh or frozen)
1/2 - 2 chillies (I used just a half due to other curries being spicy)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 large beef (beefsteak) tomato, peeled,deseeded and chopped
2 Tbs shredded coconut (fresh or
unsweetened dessicated)
salt and pepper

  1. First prepare the okra. Top and tail the pods and cut into about 4 pieces each (my daughter did that beautifully).
  2. In a wok or a frying pan preheat the oil. Add the mustard seeds, they will start to pop. Next add the curry leaves and the chilli. Cook for about half a minute or the leaves should sizzle but do not burn.
  3. Add the cut up okra, turmeric and stir fry for about 5 min.
  4. Add the chopped tomato flesh to the okra and cook for about 5 minutes or until okra softens.
  5. Last add the coconut to the okra and just stir together. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve alongside other curries, rice and chapatis.