|Okra with the stem ends trimmed away.|
Another technique they use on okra in the Middle East is to wash them in a bowl of water with some vinegar added. It's supposed to help keep the sliminess at a minimum. Indian cooks apparently don't bother with this, instead washing them quickly and drying them individually with a towel before cutting them.
Anyway, I began the dish the way many Indian dishes do--first infusing flavor into the cooking oil by gently frying mustard and cumin seeds until they start to pop and release their fragrance. I used to use ghee, or clarified butter, which is a good nonvegan choice, because it will not form transfats, no matter how hot it gets. I now use coconut oil, which as a harder fat, is even better. Coconut oil is also a healthy fat, in spite of being highly saturated (who knew?).
Once the seeds had toasted sufficiently, I added a bunch of very finely diced red onion, fresh ginger and garlic. This is cooked slowly first, well before the other ingredients are added--in much the same way as onions, shallots, and other aromatic vegetables are allowed to "sweat" in French cooking. This further flavors the oil and allows these vegetables to soften into a kind of sauce base before adding the main ingredients.
That's the way we fight cancer in our house--eating delicious food packed with therapeutic spices. That, and laughing as much as possible. Joy is the most important component, both for the healthy and the sick. Among other things, it keeps hope in peak condition--so crucial when we're not feeling so good. Without hope, why would you even bother getting well?