Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My love affair with Bhindi (Okra) continues

" I had eight, how many can you have?" 

These were the words uttered by a very proud, over stuffed 8-9 year old me. I was referring to the fact that I had 8 chappatis with bhindi (okra) and was teasing my cousin who claimed to be another bhindi lover, and was obviously not in the same league as me. The fact that I was a skinny 9 year old  who usually ate 1-2 rotis did not matter at the time, all I wanted was glory and lots of bhindi. 

Not much changed over the years, even during dinner parties at home mom would keep a secret stash of bhindi fry for me. During my undergraduate studies when I used to return to India every summer this was my first meal - Bhindi Fry and Roti. It's a relatively humble meal but I absolutely adore the crispy yet gooey vegetable doused in a spicy masala accompanied by hot inflated balloon like rotis. I have once eaten almost a kilo of bhindi at one time, talk about dedication!

Bhindi/Okra/Lady's finger whichever name you prefer is a green vegetable with a slimy interior and gooey seeds. It is very popular in Ethiopian, West African and South Asian cuisines. It has great health benefits too, high in Vitamin C, folate, calcium, potassium, antioxidants and fiber content.

I am of course showing you the Indian way of making okra. There are numerous ways of preparing the vegetable, bharwa bhindi (stuffed bhindi), Jaipuri bhindi( crispy bhindi with besan coating) and bhindi fry - the little rounds cut and fried with onion and spices - all delicious. Some preparations keep the okra/lady's finger long and some short so as a kid I used to call it choti bhindi (small) and badi bhindi (big) to make my choice clear.

So my dear readers I give you choti bhindi fry - one of my most loved vegetable dishes of all time. 

Recipe                                                                                              Print Recipe

serves 2-3


500 g Okra

2 Medium sized onions - small diced

2-3 tsp Cumin Seeds

1/2 tsp Asfoetida Powder

3 tsp Coriander Powder

1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

11/2 tbsp Vegetable/Sunflower oil

Salt to taste


Wash the okra thoroughly and wipe them dry with a tea towel. Slice the okra into thin rounds and keep it aside. (you may need to wipe your knife as the slime will stick to it when you are cutting the okra)

In a wok heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and asfoetida powder. let the cumin turn a little dark brown and add the chopped onions. Saute till the begin to colour. Now add the sliced okra followed by salt and spices. Give it a good mix so that the spices are uniformly coated. 

Now cover the pan and let it cook on a low flame for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes give everything a good stir, the okra should have softened. Now cook it uncovered for another 10 minutes on a medium flame to get it slightly crisp.

Choti bhindi fry is ready to be served. Enjoy with hot rotis.

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