Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bhindi

My husband, A, tells me that through out his growing up years, he basically only ate 3 vegetables - potatoes, cucumber and okra (bhindi, ladies fingers) (accompanying veggies like tomatoes and onions don't count. Luckily for me, he was posted to indonesia for a few months and had such an overdose of non-veg that he came back with the firm resolution of eating all the veggies put in front of him. This was before we got married so I didn't have to suffer any "You're-going-to-make-me-eat-THAT?!!" tantrums. However, this still doesn't mean that any and every veggie is met with the same enthusiasm. Bhindi still reigns supreme, and our son has inherited this liking too. In fact, our son has to have bhindi at each and every meal, except breakfast - it's an obsession with him.

My dad came across a wonderfully crisp bhindi recipe when he was working with former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. This dish was pretty much always on the menu there, and he liked it so much he asked my mom to experiment and come up with a version at home for us. My mom is a great cook, so her version (having never tasted the PM House one, can't compare) is delicious. My son eats kurkuri bhindi every single day - and it's one dish that always whips up an appetite in him. A, on the other hand, hates kurkure bhindi, so we have bhindi cooked two different ways whenever we make it for the adults in the house.
Kurkure bhindi

Ingredients: half kilo bhindi, washed and wiped dry

Salt

Jeera powder

Chilli powder


3 tbsp oil


1. Cut the bhindi into 2 inch segments. Then cut each segment into shreds about 2-3 mm wide.

2. Spread the bhindi out in the sun to dry.

3. Once it is fully dry, put the oil on to heat in a wok.

4. Put the bhindi one handful at a time into the oil and shallow fry till crisp. be careful while frying - it can burn really easily and then you may as well eat charcoal.

5. Put the fried bhindi on a tissue to absorb excess oil.

6. Add salt, chilli powder and jeera powder to taste and mix well.

This tastes good with all kinds of things and is a very versatile dish. It goes well with roti or dal chawal. I like to add this to yoghurt just before serving, as a raita. You can even add it to a plain dal just before serving to perk up the flavour. It even works as a papad substitute with rice or pulao. Amazingly, it also serves as an interesting starter, served with a yoghurt dip or hummus!

For a heavier dish, you can prepare a dry dip of besan (chickpea flour) , salt and chilli powder. Do this with bhindi that you haven't dried in the sun. As soon as you finish cutting it, you can add it to the dry dip. Mix by hand so the bhindi gets coated with the besan - the naturally wet texture of the bhindi will ensure the dip gets coated and stays on. Then fry in oil.

Bhindi with tomatoes and onions

Ingredients:


  1. Half kilo bhindi, washed and dried well; topped and tailed, then sliced into 1 cm thick rounds

  2. 2 tomatoes, diced

  3. 1 red onion, chopped small

  4. 2-3 green chillies

  5. teaspoon cumin seeds

  6. 1/2 tsp aamchur (mango powder)

  7. salt to taste

  8. coriander leaves for garnish

  9. 1 tbsp oil

Heat the oil in a wok.


Add the cumin seeds and wait for them to turn toasty.


Add the onions and cook until they are browning.


Add the tomatoes and cook further, until the tomatoes are somewhat soft.


Add the bhindi and stir to mix. At this stage, add the aamchur - it helps keep the bhindi from turning slimy.


Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bhindi is cooked through - it will turn soft, almost mushy.


Add salt to taste.


This is a regular at the dinner table, and goes well with rotis, dahi chawal, daal chawal or saar-anna. The trick is to cook the onions until they are brown - this adds a wonderful touch of sweetness to the dish.



2 comments:

shilpa(AR) said...

Hi..The bhindi picture is from my blog. Please remove it immediately and please do not take any pictures from any blog without permission.
(I didn't see your mail id on the blog anywhere, so I am putting this comment here).

bird's eye view said...

Sorry, mea culpa! was not aware of blog protocol. Am removing the pics.