Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bendekai Gojju | South Indian Bhindi Curry | Indian Okra Sauce: Karnataka Recipes

...Okra in a sweet, sour 'n' spicy sauce....

Tender, fresh, light green colored, smooth skinned & small sized okra always tempt me to buy them. I'm also lucky to get fresh okra in the nearest Indian stores here. My son loves bhindi/okra & he always tempts me to buy them. He used to love the bhindi besan & nothing else from okra. This time I convinced him for this gojju & told him that it is amma's classic gojju recipe. He loved every bit of it. In the coming months, it will be only bendekai gojju at my home & you know why ;)

Bendekai gojju / Bendekayi gojju is a Karnataka specialty. It is spicy, sweet n sour & blends beautifully with the stir fried okra. Each & every member of my family/extended family prepare this gojju & I haven't heard from any of them not liking it.. Some love to eat them with akki rotti, some with white rice & some more with chapathi/roti. I love to eat them with all of them.

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 2-3 

Okra/Ladies Finger/Bendekai : 1 lb (around half a kilo)
Oil: 1 tbsp
Brown sugar/Jaggery/bella: medium lime sized
Tamarind paste: 1 tsp*
Salt: As needed 

For the spice paste:
Oil: 1/2 tsp
Gram dal /Channa dal /Kadalebele : 1 tbsp
Black gram dal/ Urad dal/Uddinabele : 1/2 tbsp
Sesame seeds: 1 tsp
Green chilies: 4 nos
Coriander leaves: 1/4th cup, tightly packed
Grated coconut: 1/4th cup, fresh or frozen

For the tempering:
Oil: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 4-6 nos, torn

Chop the okra into thin slices.(about 1/4th of an inch). If you are handling the okra for the first time, refer to the notes below before doing anything. It is that important!!

For the spice paste:
Heat the oil in a small pan. When the oil is hot, throw in the channa dal & urad dal. When they turn light brown, add the sesame seeds & broken green chilies. Turn off the heat after 30-40 secs. Let it cool.

Throw in the coriander leaves, grated coconut & the roasted dal + green chilies to a food processor jar. Add  about 2-3 tbsp water & grind it to a smooth paste.
In a broad pan, add oil & saute/stir fry the okra slices on a medium-high heat until the okra is soft & crunchy.
Transfer the fried okra to a bowl.

Take another sauce pan, to prepare the gojju. Heat oil. When oil is hot, add the mustard seeds & curry leaves to it.

When seeds crackle & leaves wilt, scoop in the spice paste, add the salt, jaggery, tamarind extract, and add around half a cup of water to it. Cook on a low-medium heat until the raw smell of the jaggery & tamarind disappears.

Throw in the fried okra to the sauce & boil it on a medium heat. Once it starts boiling, turn off the heat.

Serve it hot with rice, roti or akki rotti.

  • As okra is used in a sauce, it is very crucial to remove the slime from the okra. Below are some tips to remove the slime from the okra. 
  • Never cut a wet okra. Keep the chopping board, knife & the okra completely dry. 
  • After washing the okra, dry them on a kitchen towel & wipe them all dry again before using. 
  • Use a broad pan to saute the okra. Add more oil & saute it on a high heat to remove the slime & keep the okra crisp. 
  • Adding a pinch of amchur powder/mango powder (easily available at Indian Stores) while sauteing the okra does the trick of removing the slime too.
  • My other tips on how to remove the slime could be found here
  • Adjust the consistency of the sauce as preferred by your family. 

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