October 19, 2006
Bhindi Pakoda/ Stuffed Okra Fritters
Okra/Bhindi fry is one of my favorite veg dishes,hmm... along with phulkas/rotis and a cucumber raita, it is the lingering taste of summer. But Okra dipped in besan/gram flour and fried is definitely not reminiscent of hot days.
The fall weather is making me throw off my low oil diet by craving for something fried, something spicy and something tangy. Dipping it in gram flour converts it to be so crisp and crunchy that even my son( who only eats okra because its his friend's favorite vegetable)was not hesitant in trying it. The spicy-sour stuffing inside saves it from being bland once you are past the crispy coating. The original recipe from my mom calls for dried mango powder(aamchoor) but I had to adapt and substitute with lemon juice as my better half doesn't like the taste of amchoor.
Try it next time you are making stuffed okra. The mix inside is the same.My friends have made it stuffed with chaat masala too, or cut and dipped in a paste of chaat masala mixed with gram flour. Let me now if you have similar recipes with okra.
You will need:
Okra/Ladies Fingers: about 15
1/2 tsp. Dried Mango powder (Substitute with 2 tsp lemon juice)
1/4 tsp. Ground cumin
1/4 tsp Garlic salt
1/8 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp Red chili powder
1/2 tsp Salt or to taste.
Oil for frying
3-4 tbsp Gram flour( Besan/ Kadalamaavu)
3 tbsp water and a pinch of salt.
If using whole cumin and coriander, dry roast it in a skillet till the aroma is released and then dry grind it. Mix all the dry spices with the lemon juice to make a thick paste.
Wash okra and wipe it completely dry with a kitchen towel or paper towels. If there is any water, it will become lacy while cooking. Slit each okra vertically half way down its length. Stuff each one with some of the spice paste, with your fingers, pushing the spices in, taking care not to split it into two pieces.
Make a semi thick paste of the gram flour, salt and water. It should be as just thick enough to coat the okra with a thin layer.
Heat some oil for frying and when it is medium hot, dip each okra in the flour paste and slide into the hot oil. How many can be fried at a time depends on the size of the pan or wok used. Fry for about 3 minutes on each side or until it turns golden brown all around. Maintain medium high heat throughout. Dip the okras in the flour paste only just before frying, otherwise it will become clumpy.
Drain onto paper towels and sprinkle with some coarse powdered sea salt.
Stuffed Okra Subji:
Additionally, you will need
Garam Masala: 1/4 tsp
Onion-1 medium sized one
Cilantro leaves- 1/4 cup chopped
lemon Juice-1/2 tsp
I can make this only when okras are fresh and tender. Try to use tender thin okras which do not have thick seeds as they don't cook easily and tend to get hard.The spice powders used in this recipe are the same, so I am continuing the post.
Use the same proportions of the spice mix and stuff the okras as explained. Only difference is that try to get as much stuffing in as possible. You may need to double the quantity of spice powders as more will be used for same quantity of okras.
Slice an onion thinly and saute over medium heat in 3 tbsp oil. Did I hear adouble take? Well, okras are known to be oil drinkers, so the more the tastier. Traditionally, this should be made without covering, on open flame in lots of oil.
Add the okras almost immediately to the onions and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes on high heat till the lacy threads of the okra leaves it. It is important to do this on high heat. ONlY after that, add lemon juice, cover and cook on medium heat for 4-6 minutes. Open and taste. If it is cooked, again saute it on high heat to dry it out and make it crispy. When it looks sufficiently brown, remove from flame and sprinkle garam masala and cut coriander leaves.
If you have the patience to hover around the stove top, you can reduce the oil. In that case, lower the heat, cook it covered and add more oil only if you see it sticking to the pan.