September 25, 2012

Dhania Bhindi (Coriander Okra)

Okra (New Veggie #28) is an all-time favorite vegetable for me. I think most of you who've read my blog know that already. When T got back a bag full of fresh Okra and a packet of store-bought Naan for me yesterday, I knew I had to eat them together. I made a very traditional recipe tonight, with a very slight modification. I took away almost all the oil that is traditionally added to it, and instead used a very tiny amount, before I started cooking to grease my pan. A good non-stick pan .. goes a long way in ensuring  success. 

Dhania Bhindi
Prep Time: 20-30 min

  1. 20-30 pieces of Okra, washed, dried completely and halved lengthwise. 
  2. 2-4 tsp Coriander powder
  3. 1-2 tsp Chili powder
  4. 1-2 tsp Amchoor (dried young mango powder), to taste (or lemon juice)
  5. Salt to taste 
The best way to ensure that the least amount of Okra mucilage is released during preparation and cooking of this dish is to ensure that each pod is 100% dry before its cut. I washed it last night, dried each piece with a towel and left the okra sitting on the counter in a dry dish. This evening, I trimmed both ends of each pod and cut each one lengthwise, into 2 halves. Add a couple of drops of cooking oil to a good non-stick. Use a paper towel and wipe that drop of oil all over the surface of the skillet to grease it. Once done, most of the oil you put in the skillet will actually end up on the towel, with only a thin film across the skillet. Turn the stove to medium high, add okra and coriander and chili powders, and a dash of salt to the okra and mix well. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook on medium until the okra is tender (about 15-20 min). If needed, and if the okra begins to stick to the skillet, add a sprinkle of water and re-cover. The more water you add, the more slimy it is likely to get, so the best approach is to leave it as dry as possible. Once done, sprinkle amchoor or lemon juice on top and enjoy with roti or naan. 

Okra Buying Tips: If buying from the bulk produce section, always hand-pick (cherry picking is allowed in most stores), the smallest, most tender pods. One way of checking freshness is to try and break the tip off a couple of pods - if it snaps off easily, the okra are fresh and in prime condition. If the tip bends, but doesn't break off, the pods are way past their prime and are best left in the store ... !! 

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