Vendakkai Puli Pachadi (Okra In Tamarind Sauce)

You cannot imagine how good this tastes, especially when paired with a mulakootal (a bland wet dish to be mixed with rice). Some years ago, I ran a cooking class on behalf of Sharan. On the menu was a spinach mulakootal and this puli pachadi. All attendees were floored. They swore that they had never seem okra made this way. They also kindly said that the taste was awesome. If you like sour dishes (as I do), then you don’t necessarily have to pair this with a mulakootal. You can have it with any wet dish (kootan). It always tastes wonderful. I have already shared the recipe for the pumpkin puli pachadi in this blog. The procedure for the okra one is slightly different. Very easy to prepare and guaranteed to please.

Vendakkai Puli Pachadi

10-12 pieces of okra
An Indian gooseberry sized ball of tamarind, soaked and juice extracted (use 1 1/2 tsp of if you are using paste)
3 green chilis, chopped
1 tsp date paste
2 tsp rice flour (or any other thickener)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Unrefined salt to taste
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/2 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (sabut methi dhana, venthiyam)
1 dried red chili
Wash and pat dry the okra, dry them under a fan (there must be no moisture on the okra)
Cut the top and tail of the okra
Cut them into 1″ pieces
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the split black lentils, green chilis, fenugreek seeds and the red chili
Roast till the lentils turn a light golden brown
Lower the flame and add the chopped okra and salt
Sauté for a few minutes, but the okra should not change colour
Add the tamarind extract and turmeric powder
Boil for about 8 minutes on medium-low flame
Add the date paste and 1 cup water
Continue to boil for a few minutes more
Finally, mix the rice flour in 2-3 tbsp of water (without any lumps) and add to the pachadi
Keep the flame low and stir
The dish will begin to thicken
When it has reached the desired consistency, switch off flame
(The consistency can range from slightly watery to thick)
Serve hot with any wet dish to be mixed with the rice
Or serve it with idli, kozhakattai, etc. (all these recipes in this blog)

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