Friday, March 26, 2010

Bhindi Dopyaza (Ladies-Finger & Onion Stir-fry)

Couple of weeks before, we went to Phuket, an Island in the south of Thailand. Here are some of the pictures. White sand, crystal clear water, beautiful beaches & great food. Exotic place to say the least. We were in water for almost 5-6 hours a day & got tanned to the core. We normally do not experiment with food since my hubby prefers Indian vegetarian food. But, this time, we tried Thai veg food and I was thoroughly impressed with it.

Now coming to today's recipe. I have love/hate relationship with okra/ladies finger. If it is not properly cooked, I hate it , otherwise I love all the dishes with okra. My mom, mom-in-law & sis-in-law all have their own secrets to fry the okra to reduce the slimness. My mom fries the okra on a high flame for sometime. My mom-in-law usually cook the okra in tamarind water & avoid frying them. My sis-in-law adds a little hulipudi/amchur powder while frying the okra as it helps to reduce the stickyness. I have found that all these methods work.
This recipe is adapted from the great cook Tarla Dalal.I followed her recipe, except for adding the curd/yogurt at the end. I added lemon juice instead. Also, I caramelize the onion to get a sweetish tinge to the dish. Our family loves it this way. 

Ingredients:
Okra/Ladies Finger: 30-40 (tender & small ones)
Onion: 2 medium sized (sliced)
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Green chilli : 2 no (finely chopped)
Oil: 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Kalonji/Nigella seeds: 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder: a pinch (optional)
Sugar: a pinch (optional)
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp (for garnishing)
Salt: According to taste
For frying the okra:
Oil: 2 tsp
Amchur powder/huli pudi/tamarind powder: a pinch (optional)

Method:
  • Wash the okra & pat them dry. Ensure no moisture on the okra. Clean & dry the knife too. Cut them into 1cm rings or slice them. 
  • Frying the okra/ladies finger: Heat the oil in a broad pan. When oil is hot, add the okra & fry them on a medium. After a minute or two, add the amchur powder & continue frying until the stickiness of the okra is completely removed. It might take around 5 minutes. Also, fry the okra in batches if you are planning to prepare in bulk. Remove the okra from flame & place the fried okra on a plate (ensure plate is dry).
  • Wipe the pan with the kitchen towel & heat the pan again. Add oil. When oil is hot, add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds turn golden brown, add kalonji & fry for 3-5 secs. Add sliced onion, ginger, green chilli & saute for a minute or two.
  • At this stage, I would like to caramelize the onion. Hence add a pinch of sugar & saute for a min on high flame
  • Now add the fried okra, salt, red chilli powder & cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Finally add the lemon juice & coriander leaves & mix well.
  • Serve it hot with roti or any other Indian bread. 

Tips:
  • I personally feel caramelizing the onion adds a zing to the dish. But you can skip it if you do not prefer it. 
  • Ensure to use a broad pan to fry the okra as it helps to reduce the sliminess of okra faster.