Vendakkai Pepper “Fry” (Okra/Bhendi Pepper “Fry”)

Okra is also called by the quaint name of Ladies Finger. It is called bhendi in Hindi and Vendakkai in Tamil and Malayalam. Several interesting dishes can be prepared with this versatile vegetable. One of my favourites is this recipe. Traditionally, the okra is deep fried in this recipe. But it can also be ‘fried’ in an air fryer. I don’t do either. My method is much simpler without any compromise on taste.
There are several variations to this dish from each of the South Indian states.

500 gms okra, washed and dried completely so that not a drop of moisture remains
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
2 green chillies, slit
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt to taste
Wash and dry the okra under a fan till no moisture remains
Cut it into 1/2″ roundels
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add green chillies and asafoetida
Add the chopped okra and stir
Continue cooking till the gooey liquid from the okra has dried up and the vegetable is well cooked
Add salt and pepper powder
Mix well and remove from flame
Add the lemon juice and mix well
Serve warm with red/brown rice

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