Okra ~ Bhendi ~ Bendakaya ~ Ladies Finger is one of our favorite vegetables. I cook this vegetable very often and always buy it whenever I visit my local Indian grocer. When Lisa asked us to share one of the most cherished Indian dish, I was in a fix. As soon as I started reading the announcement, I thought of Biryani. That is the most cherished food in my family and I cook it very often but not as often as I make Chicken Shorva. I have already blogged that recipe and then I realized, to participate in the event; the dish has to be a vegetarian dish. I eat all vegetables and am not very picky when it comes to vegetable curries & stir fries. I even love bitter gourd. There was a time when I was not very fond of dals. When growing up, my mom had to bribe us to eat pulses & dals. One incident I still remember is, during one summer holidays, my cousins were at my place and dal was one of the items on the menu. None of us touched it for lunch and then my mom told us dal is rich in protein and eating it would improve our complexion. One of my cousins was obsessed with her complexion and fell for it. For dinner, all she ate was dal! Now I even relish dals.
Anyways, coming to the vegetarian dishes that I cook regularly are palakura ~ spinach fry, chikkudukaya & bhendakaya. In fact, I make spinach more often than I make any other vegetable but since I have already blogged spinach fry and also chikkudukaya fry, I am sending this to Lisa’s event.
I made bhendakaya fry before leaving to India and forgot to note down the ingredient list. All the measurements mentioned below are approximate and use your discretion. This is such a simple and easy preparation that you can’t go wrong with it.
- 1 ½ lbs. Okra / Bhendi / Bhendakaya / Ladies Finger
- 2-3 tbsp. Oil
- 1 small Onion chopped
- 4-8 Curry Leaves
- 1 – 2 tbsp. crushed Garlic
- 5-8 Green Chilies cut vertically into two pieces as you prefer
- 1 ½ – 2 tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 – 1 ½ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder
- ½ tsp. Garlic & ½ tsp. Cumin crushed (I did not use it)
- Cilantro to garnish
- Wash okra and let the water drain for 10 – 15 minutes or for few hours if you have time on hand.
- Cut okra into ½” circles. Don’t slice them into thin slices as it is done back home. My mom and aunts slice okra to thin slices. The okra we get here in the United States is very sticky. Thinner the slices, sticky the stir fry / curry is.
- Heat oil in a pan and sauté onions till translucent.
- Add curry leaves, green chilies and sauté for a minute till the curry leaves change color.
- Add crushed garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and mix well.
- Add okra and stir well until the spices coat okra.
- Cook on high heat for 3-5 minutes so that the okra is nicely roasted.
Reduce the heat to medium – medium high and continue to cook, stirring it frequently until the stickiness is gone the okra is tender. This should take about 5- 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook it for another 5-10 minutes or until the okra is completely done.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve it with steaming rice or roti.
and Lisa’s Celebrating Indian Food