Looking for a tasty, vegetarian, onion free option for okra? Here is the tastiest bhindi (okra), made slightly deviating from the classic bhindi recipes.
There are a million ways to prepare okra in Indian cuisine. Every household has its own Indian recipe with okra. Some as simple as a stirfry- the vendakka mezhukkuperetti is one of our previous recipes that is a stirfry. Some more elaborate with filling, some simmered in curries like we have paired it with pumpkin in thalagam kozhambu.
The Mucilage in Okra
Most of the recipes with okra aim at getting the slime off the okra. That is the only sticky bit about this fantastic vegetable. The mucilage in okra is actually the soluble fibre. The mucilage helps the stomach lining, aids in smooth bowel movements. The low-calorie okra pods are highly nutritious. The young pods of okra are not just all about the slime. They are rich in folates, Vit C and B complex. They are a preferred vegetable in weight management and diabetic diets. Here are some tips to reduce the mucilage in okra while cooking
Choose young pods
The easiest way to check for young pods is to snap off the little tail. Older ones are stubborn and fibrous. These are tough to eat as well and are best discarded.
Cleaning the pods
Wash the pods and pat dry well, this helps a lot to reduce the stickiness. Cut the tips only after they have been dried off. This reduces a lot of mucilage runoff upon mixing with water.
The role of a souring agent
The use of a souring agent helps to break down the slime. Indian recipes with okra often rely on lemon, dried mango powder (aamchoor), yogurt ( like in – vendakka pachadi)or tamarind to manage the stickiness. In this recipe and thalagam kozhambu we have use tamarind.
High heat and slow roasting
Two other technique that has worked with cooking okra to its best is the use of heat. The prolonged heat breaks down the mucilage in okra. This is why the slow-roasted vendakka mezhukkuperattti works. The key tip here is however to use a thick, seasoned cast iron pan to do the cooking and don’t keep stirring. The Chinese Malaysian style recipe for okra rely upon quick high heat stir-fried that help to manage the soluble fibre.
Once you are through all this, the pods are just fabulous. However, much anyone tells you to stay away, give okra a chance.
Pairing up the Bhindi Kalimirch
Bhindi kalimirch is a tasty way to add veggies to the plate, especially gut-healing okras. Often called ladies finger in India, it is one of the top choices for vegetables for Indian dinners. The recipe pairs perfectly with flatbreads like – phulkas and triangle rotis. To make it an Indian meal, all that is missing is a gravy, especially lentil-based. You can try this bhindi kalimirch with dal tadka , spinach dal or moong dal khilma. Add up some kalonji pulao as you are building up your platter to create a sumptuous meal. Finish off with aamras in the mango season or some basundi.
- frying pan
- Cutting board
- mortar and pestle
- 250 grams okra (bhindi/ ladies finger)
To pound togther
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
To fry the bhindi.
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp Nigella seeds ( kalonji)
- salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- Wash and pat dry the okra.
- Slice off the tops and slice the okra into long thin strips
- Set it aside till you need it.
- Using the mortar and pestle pound together the black pepper, cumin and coriander seeds into a coarse blend.
- Set a frying pan on medium heat, add the oil and let it heat up.
- Add the nigella seeds and cumin seeds to splutter.
- Add the sliced okra, the salt, turmeric powder and the tamarind paste.
- Lower the heat and saute the okra from time to time to cook it. Do not cover with a lid.
- As the okra starts changing colour, add the pounded spice mix.
- Stir it around and let it continue roasting.
- Once the sliminess dissappears with slow heat, and the okra is roasted the pepper fry is ready to serve.
- Remove to a serving dish and add to a meal of dal and rotis.
The recipe has used bhindi as the main ingredient. Therefore is an apt addition to season 2 of the A-Z recipes. Though we are not going by the “aksharamala”, you will have some tasty authentic recipes coming up in this collection. The Bhindi for B and bhindi kalimirch to you.
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