Wash okra and wipe dry. Trim and leave okra whole. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Add the spice blend and let it sizzle for 20 seconds or until the cumin turns a few shades darker. Add the okra and onions, toss and mix, and cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are streaked brown.
Add water and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for about 10 minutes or until okra is soft. Uncover and continue cooking until the excess moisture evaporates and the vegetables look glazed. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt and serve.
Combine cumin, mustard, fennel and sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.
c. Julie Sahni 1998. Adapted from Julie Sahni's Introduction to Indian Cooking,Ten Speed Press1998. Used with permission