Bhindi, or okra, and potatoes

For a long time I would suddenly lose my appetite if I knew bhindi was on the agenda. The sticky, sometimes slimy, “mess” at many a dinnertime was not designed to make anyone fall in love with this vegetable.

But I learned eventually that they all were cooking it wrong. There was a way of preparing bhindi which got rid of the mucusy dollop which we were sometimes presented with.

The trick is to keep water away from it … at least in the early stages of cooking. In fact one writer I read somewhere suggested leaving the uncooked bhindi to dry for a few hours after chopping them up (I’ve tried it a couple of times – and I think it’s worth it). It also means that after you wash the bhindi (before chopping) you must give it some time to dry properly … I try to pat them dry with a tea-towel and then leave them overnight on the tea-towel.

What you need (serves two)

150gm bhindibhindi-6
120gm onion
150g peeled potatoes
½ teaspoon jeera (cumin)
1 teaspoon garlic/ginger paste
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons oil (I use olive oil)
½ teaspoon chilli flakes

How to cook
Top and tail the bhindi, then cut each into pieces about a centimetre long.
bhindi-9Chop the potatoes to about the same size as the bhindi pieces. Parboil the potatoes.
Finely slice the onion

Have your jeera and onion to hand, and in a large pan or wok, heat the oil. Before the olive oil starts smoking, add the jeera and as soon as they start popping, add the onions.
Stir and cook the onions. Add the ginger/garlic paste and stir.
When the onions start browning, add the potatoes, stirring to coat them well with the onion/oil mixture. After about two minutes add the turmeric and mix well.
After another two minutes add the bhindi, stir well and cook until the bhindi has lost its crunch (should not take more than 10 minutes). Add small amounts of water if you need to to stop the bhindi from burning.
Add the salt and stir before turning the flame off

Serve with rice and dahl, or with roti.

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