Stuffed Okra ~ Masala Bhendi
My neighbors back home are from Uttar Pradesh, a northern state of India and migrated to Hyderabad, capital city of a southern state of Andhra Pradesh, 5 decades ago. They are family friends of my paternal family. Their family was big, seven children and the youngest child S was my classmate. We went to same school but were in different sections and we had our own friends circle. I use to go to school with S and her sisters and sometimes use to join S and her sisters for lunch at school. Their mother always packed parathas with some subzi, mostly potato or bhendi subzi in their lunch boxes. Sometimes they used to get lemon rice and occasionally, when we did not have exams or until test at school, one of the sisters use to help their mom in the kitchen in the morning and then they would get masala bhendi with parathas. Whenever they brought masala bhendi, I use to eat their lunch and that was the only masala bhendi I ever tasted and it used to be so tasty.
Now in my kitchen, I usually make bhendi fry and once in a while, may be once a year I make masala bhendi just for a change. The recipe I follow is similar to my neighbor’s. The ingredients are the same but the quantities are to suit my palate. Whenever I make it, it reminds me of my neighbors back home and the masala bhendi I use to savor at their place and from their lunch boxes! Since this bhendi reminds me of my school days and old times with my neighbors, I am sending this is to Gayathri’s Walking Through the Memory Lane. Gayathri asked as to send her a dish mom used to make. So, I don;t know if this qualifies for the event. Nevertheless, I am still sending over to the event because it reminds me of childhood days.
Like everyone else, Harini faces the same problem every day, deciding the menu for the day. She asked us to help her create a three course menu card using the vegetables okra, bottle gourd and spinach. The pulse she wants to use is toor dal.
The menu I designed for her is –
Appetizer/Starter – Spinach Soup or Spinach mini quiches
Main Course – Masala Bhendi or Stuffed Okra, Bottle Gourd stew with tomatoes~sorakaya shorva, Raw Mango Pappu Chaaru or Raw mango Sambar with some plain rice and roti.
Dessert – Depending on the time, I would make either apple custard or Apple Chenna
Since I started late, I will share as many recipes as I can from the above menu card. Today, I am sharing this masala bhendi recipe for her Design the Menu event. The preparation of the bhendi masala is time consuming but the cooking doesn’t take that long. The time consuming part of the preparation is cutting and filling each the okra. The recipe for sorakaya shorva is similar to tomato shorva, substituting eggs and lima beans with bottle gourd. Both sorkaya shorva and masala bhendi go well with both rice and roti. We can start the main course with some roti served with bhendi and sorva, followed by mango sambar served with some rice and finish of the course with some yogurt rice.
Total Time: 30 – 35 minutes
Preparation: 15 – 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
- 1.2 lbs. Okra (approx.)
- 2½ – 3 tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
- ½ – 1 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder
- ½ tsp. Amchur Powder / Dry Mango Powder
- ¼ tsp. Cumin Powder
- 2-3 tsp. Coriander Powder
- 2 ½ tbsp. Oil
- 3-4 Curry Leaves
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin Seeds(opt. I did not used it)
- 2 tsp. crushed Garlic
- Wash okra and let them dry.
- Cut off the tips and horizontally slit the okra. Do not cut it in two. Make a slit such that it can be stuffed with spices.
- In bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. All the spices and seasoning go in to the stuffing mixture.
- Fill the okra lightly with the spice mixture. If there is any leftover stuffing, keep it aside. We can add it later.
- If the okra is too long, cut it in half, after stuffing it. It is easier to stuff long okra than a small one.
- Heat oil in a skillet and add curry leaves and jeera, if using. Add the okra and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then reduce the heat and cook until almost cooked.
- If there is any extra filling, add it at this point. Mix well.
- Taste the okra and add more spices or salt, if required. Give it a good stir and add garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes are until the okra is fully cooked.
- Turn of the heat and serve with roti or steaming rice.