Monday, March 7, 2011

Basic bhindi (okra/vendakkai/ladies finger) fry

Ladies finger is my most favorite vegetable. It is probably the only vegetable I can eat no matter how well or how badly it is cooked (I hate it when it is drenched in oil. When that happens, I grumble, squeeze out the oil and still eat it). I think ladies finger tastes best when it is tender and is cooked with minimal oil and mild spices just till the raw smell disappears.

Here is a basic ladies finger recipe which tastes good even when the ladies fingers aren't all that tender. It makes a great combo with rasam-rice though it tastes good with rotis and dal too.

Ladies finger fry

Ingredients (makes enough for 2-3):
Ladies finger (okra) - 1/2 kg (washed, dried and sliced into 1/8" thick rounds)
Onion - 1 big, finely chopped
Tomato - 1 big, finely chopped
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Dhania powder - 2 heaped tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

To Season:
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Broken urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Red chillis - 2, broken
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - a sprig

1. Coat the bottom of a wide, non-stick pan with about 1 tsp oil and place on medium heat.
2. Add the seasoning items: mustard seeds, urad dal and red chillis. When mustard begins to splutter, add asafoetida and curry leaves in quick succession.
3. Add onions and salt and fry till golden.
4. Add tomatoes and fry till it is more or less mashed.
5. Add the chilli, coriander and turmeric powders and fry for 30 seconds.
6. Add the okra a little at a time, stirring carefully after each addition so that the okra is mixed well with the onion-tomato mixture (use a light hand or you will mash the okra).
7. Spread okra over the bottom of the pan, lower the heat, cover with a lid and let cook for 6-8 minutes without disturbing
8. Uncover, stir okra, cover again and cook for 4-5 minutes.
9. Uncover, check for done-ness. If done, cook without the lid for 2-3 minutes. Else re-cover and cook in 2 minute additions
10. Check for salt and serve hot with rice or rotis.

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