Monday, July 26, 2010

Bendekayi huli | koddel | Okra Sambar : Vegan Okra Side dish


Though I stayed in India for 5 weeks, I feel I could have stayed there for long (btw, this was my second visit this year..).., yeh dil maange more! My son's condition is no better than mine. Last weekend.., he was telling me.., appa mane aithalla, eega punah ajji manege hogona!! (Now that we visited daddy's house, I think we should go now to grandmom's home!!).


This recipe is to revive the memories I spent with my loved ones. My mom-in-law makes excellent ladies finger sambar. I learnt this from her. Before I jump into the recipe, here is a quick note. For this recipe, you don't have to fry the ladies finger to remove the stickiness from it. Tamarind water + jaggery + salt will do it for you. (I have mentioned here about how to remove the stickiness of the ladies finger). So, even if you are an amateur in using ladies finger, you can go ahead preparing this one.  


Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)
Ladies Finger/Okra: 2 cups (chopped into 1 inch long pieces)
Tamarind : 1 medium lemon sized (soaked in water)
Jaggery: 1.5 tsp (adjust according to your family needs)
Salt:According to taste
Toor dal/Pigeon peas: a fistful (optional, my mom-in-law never adds it)
Turmeric: a pinch


For sambar masala/spice paste:
Grated coconut: 1 cup (fresh/frozen)
Oil: 1 tsp
Urad dal: 1 tsp
Cinnamon: 1/2 inch stick
Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Dhania/Coriander seeds: 2.5 tsps
Curry leaves: a string (8-10)
Red chillies: 4-6 nos (adjust according to the heat needed)
Asafoetida: a pinch


For tempering:
Coconut oil: 1 tsp (any oil of your choice could be used)
Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: 4-6 nos


For garnishing:
Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp (finely chopped)


Method:
For spice paste:
  • Meantime, while the ladies finger is being cooked, prepare the ground paste. Add the oil to a small pan, when oil is hot, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds. When the seeds turn golden brown, add cinnamon, coriander seeds, curry leaves. Saute till the seeds leave out a nice aroma & curry leaves become crisp. Add the red chillies & saute till the red chillies change color(takes around 30secs to 1 minute). Turn off the heat & add asafoetida. Allow the roasted spices to cool. 


  • Once the spices come to room temperature, make a fine paste of the spices + grated coconut, by adding enough water. 
For the sambar:
  • Pressure cook the pigeon peas/toor dal with a small pinch of turmeric for 3-4 whistles. Allow it to cool & mash it gently.
  • Extract the juice from the tamarind. Squeeze the juice & dilute it by adding 2 cups of water. 
  • Pour the tamarind juice to a big vessel. Add salt, jaggery to the tamarind juice. Add the chopped ladies finger to the tamarind water. Boil the vegetable till soft & yet firm.
  • When the ladies finger is cooked, add the cooked dal, spice paste & mix well. Pour in a 1/2 cup (a little less is fine too) of water & allow the mixture to boil on a medium-high heat. 
  • Finally prepare the tempering* using the ingredients mentioned under tempering section & pour the tempering on the sambar prepared. Garnish it with corinander leaves. Mix well & serve hot with rice & a side dish of your choice.

*Here is the method for preparing the tempering. Heat oil in a small pan. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves & saute till curry leaves are crisp. Turn off the heat. Tempering is ready.