Punjabi Bhendi Masala

One of my summer pleasures (there are several) is bhendi (okra, vendakai). Like the brinjal, this is indeed a versatile vegetable. It is abundantly available in the Indian subcontinent. But I am not sure that this super-tasty vegetable is available in many other parts of the world. Some years ago, I was having dinner with my Chinese colleagues in Shanghai. The talk came around to okra – and none of them had even heard of this vegetable! I understand that the situation is similar in the United States of America, though it is available in specialty stores.
The Punjabi bhendi masala is a very popular dish in North India. During summer, this dish is made at least once a week in my home. I am sure it is the same situation in most North Indian homes. The dish is super-tasty. Most restaurants serving North Indian cuisine will have this dish on their menu.
Many households add tomatoes to this preparation. I too, sometimes, use tomatoes. The image featured here, however, does not have tomatoes.

250 gms okra
1 medium sized onion, chopped fine
1 tsp cumin powder (jeera, jeeragam)
1 tsp coriander powder (dhania, kothamalli)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp grated coconut
1-2 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp chopped ginger
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Wash the okra and dry with a cloth (if the okra is not completely dry, it will turn sticky while cooking)
Discard the head and tail of the vegetable
Chop the body of the okra into 1/4″ roundels (some cut it lengthwise)
Set aside
Grind the green chillies, ginger and garlic into a coarse paste
Set aside
Heat a pan and add the chopped okra
Roast, on medium flame, till the it turns dark green and shrinks (about 6-8 minutes)
Sprinkle a little salt and cook for a minute more
Remove from flame and set aside
Heat a wok and add cumin seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the green chilli-ginger-garlic paste
Saute for a minute
Add onion and a little salt
Cook till the onion turns translucent
Add tomatoes at this stage (if using) and cook till tomatoes are mushy
Add turmeric powder and garam masala
Mix well
Add the okra and cook for a minute
Adjust salt
Add grated coconut, cumin powder and coriander powder
Mix well
Remove from flame and transfer to a serving bowl
Garnish with coriander leaves
Serve hot with red/brown rice or Indian breads


One Comment Add yours

  1. good one !! this is certainly a regular one in summers


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