April 19, 2007

Bhindi Ki Subji/Stir -Fried Okra


Okra is one of the highly misunderstood vegetables. Tossed aside as a slimy gooey vegetable, best known for thickening Gumbos and soups here, you have to eat it in its crispy form to appreciate it. The only problem is getting the okra at the right level of ripeness. They are best at the 2-3 inch size , not too thick and not hard to touch. My mom used to snap off the ends of the okra to check the freshness. If they cut off easily, they are and if they bend without snapping off, better look for another vegetable for dinner.
I can't do the snap and bend routine here so its just eyeballing that works. At the Indian Grocery here, it is a common sight to see 2-3 women or men hovering around the okra counter, sifting through, trying to find the smallest and youngest. They dig deep, they dig far into the pile, hoping to find more. There is a slight edge to their glance as one more person joins in the treasure hunt and the pace quickens. If you steady your gaze and continue searching, the best ones will be in your bag.:)

Okra with raita is summer for me, spicy, crunchy and cooling. That was my favorite lunch coming home from school. I love it with hot rotis and cold cucumber raita. And now since summer is still dancing just around the corner, an okra- roti meal may work to hasten the approach.
Try to use tender thin okras which do not have thick seeds as they don't cook easily and tend to get hard. Traditionally, this should be made in an open pan in as much oil as you like.:)There are oven methods to make it with less oil, but for this taste of summer, do it the proper way.

You Will Need:
Okra-1 pound(1/2 kg)
Dried Mango powder (Substitute with 2 tsp lemon juice)-1/2 tsp
Ground Roasted Cumin -1/2 tsp.
Turmeric-1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder-1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder-1 tsp (more or less as you like it)
Salt to taste.
Oil for frying-3-4 tbsp
Garam Masala: 1/4 tsp
Cilantro leaves- 1/4 cup chopped
lemon Juice-1/2 tsp

Preparation:

1. Wash the okra well and dry each one with a paper towel or kitchen towel till its is absolutely dry. Cut them into small circles and keep aside. Mix all the powders (except the garam masala) with 1 tablespoon water.
2. Heat half the oil in a non-sticky pan and stir fry the spice powders on low heat till it smells good. Add the cut okra and stir well 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 salt and cover and cook on medium heat for 4-6 minutes. Open and taste. If it is cooked, now increase the heat, add the rest of the oil and saute it on medium high heat to dry it out and make it crispy.
3. At this point , if it is sticking to the pan, add some more oil. 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 with constant monitoring and stirring, you can reduce the oil.
This serves 2-3 people depending on how much they like bhindi.

27 comments:

Asha said...

YUM! YUM! I love the simplicity of the dish.Great photo Shaheen:)

Bharathy. said...

Good picture,as always..
I do make this dish once a week,with more shallots..but minus the amchoor powder/lime juice,garam masala...instead of chilly and coriander powders,I use the home made Sambhar powder..
Will surely try this one next...
P.S-will surely bring along,what you asked...on one condition,wanna learn photography for a day in your advanced model of canon..;)

Anita said...

Very North Indian today, Shaheen. This is a staple at my place - it does taste like 'summer' which is very much here in this part of the world. And we can have okra again!

Bharathy. said...

Wow,nice of you to add me(the humble me!)in your mighty blog roll...Didn't expect...A tiny star in a wonderful constellation!Thanks again...:)

Reena said...

my kind of vegetable. i get my okra from a farmer's market and fresh ones. too bad it gets over too fast. it was fun reading people digging for crisp ones:)):))

this recipe looks yum and i know i can have it all.

Nabeela said...

I know...I don't understand the people here either hating okra....it's a delicious vegetable!

Priya Bhaskaran said...

Shaheen, it took me 2 years to know why people were snapping off the ends-I realized when I picked all those hard ones and found those were not good to cook- so these days I am one among those people-lol, okra has always been a comfortable veggie at my home--just love okras

indosungod said...

Shaheen if you cook okra like that, does not matter if summer knocks on your door or not I am there and please please can I have them with those amazing aapams you make. I know the combination is kind of weird but I have to utilize the visit to the fullest.

Sandeepa said...

Looks delicious Shaheen. I love okras and even the simple Bhindi Bhaji with a hint of lime juice is best for me.

Anonymous said...

hi...

i have tried lot of recipes from ur blog..recenlty tried was fish cutlets...and i must say u have a wonderful blog....cheers to u....

thanks...

rash

Mandira said...

Bhindi fry looks delicious Shaheen. Somehow, I always associate bhindi with summer... and it's sunny here too. Maybe I need a trip to the grocery store for some bhindi :)

TRS said...

hahah...you're so right about that..but I too, am guilty of the snap and bend routine.

Crispy Okra is so good with some aamraas and puris,my fav meal.

trupti

Maneka Nirmal said...

looks so crispy and not sticky atall..nicely done shaheen...

Anonymous said...

Okra is one veg i buy from local night markerts here. and do u know why? for some reason , all non indians here, go for the big fat hard ones.(always wonderd what they do with it), so smart me just take all the discarded ones :)
ki

Shivapriya said...

Give me bhendi i'm ready to eat:D.
Love the receipe. Nice pic.

seena said...

What to say Shaheen, recipe, photo everything nice!

Gattina said...

My first taste of okra was when I lived in Singapore, immediately on hooked! Back then (... actually until before I read this post), I didn't know how to choose and how to cook, my dish turned awful! I'm gonna pin up this post of yours! Can't wait to try!!!

Mallugirl said...

Asha, the simple recipes are the best..great value for time.

Bharathy, twinkle twinkle little star, u are soon going to shining bright.:)

Anita, yeah, Very northie today.After I posted this, can u believe it is sunny here.. so it worked...

Reena, o ahead , have it all. yeah, it does get over fast.

Nabeela, how are u? how is studies? enjoying the warm weather i guess.

Priya,I always watched my mom but still i started cooking, never understood it.

Indo, cmon over, we will have a bean fest too.:)

Sandeepa, .me too, me too.

rash, thanks a lot.

sunita said...

Shaheen, I love okra...usually we have the fried version with plain rice and dal, a squeeze of lemon, and its heaven...

Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

bee said...

that's so true and funny, the okra competition. and desis in the u.s. snap them too. it drives me nuts.

Prema Sundar said...

Simple and neat recipe Shaheen.

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe last weekend and it was very good..... thanks Shaheen.

Rg.

KitchenFairy said...

Looks delicious!! I love Okra in any form..This is totally new type of preparation for me.Thanks for sharing dear.

Dilip said...

great...you have okra just as i like it...lovely recipe...thanks for sharing

Mishmash ! said...

Tried and Liked this one too :)
Liked everything about it except for the oil, but it wont taste good without oil too.

Anyway, I blame you for making me eat extra rice today with sambar and couldnt even move myself for sometime :))

Shn

Mallugirl said...

mishmash, hi hi! enjoy and eat well once in a while.:)