The first sighting

Mallika Basu - The first sighting

Posted 19th February 2007

bhindi-masala.jpgI grew up loving bhindi or okra but it wasn’t one of those vegetables I could drop into my shopping trolley at the local supermarket.

Until recently.

When my mother was here last summer, she let out a high-pitched yelp on first sighting of okra or lady finger at the supermarket. My mother is prone to drama, as an Indian theatre actress. The skill I have sadly inherited is her drama queen antics and not her passion for the stage.

One evening I decided to try out my favourite home recipe for bhindi with the newly supermarket-acquired veggie. A quick search around the blogosphere warned me about the slime that pours out of them like superglue.

Chopping okra was a bit gooey, but it didn’t bother me. What’s a bit of edible glue when you’ve cried for onions and bled for garlic.

The recipe is very much quick and indian. We ate this with rice, as I had made dhal too. Eaten on its own, it’s dry and a better match with rotis, parathas or simply bread.

Bhindi shrivels up and softens when cooked and can be deceptive when raw. Always use more than you think you’ll need.

Serves four:

350 gm bhindi/okra/lady finger, topped and tailed and cut into 1 cm pieces

1 onion

1 tsp whole cumin

1 tsp coriander powder

Half tsp turmeric powder

Half tsp chilli powder

Pinch of mango powder or amchoor

1 tbsp oil

Salt to taste


Wash chopped bhindi well and leave to dry. Heat oil in a frying pan, and when hot add the whole cumin.

As the cumin sizzles up, add the onion and cook until translucent.

Add the chopped bhindi and all the spices apart from the amchoor. Stir gently until the okra turns dark green and softens.

Finally add salt to taste and sprinkle amchoor before serving.

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