Thursday, January 22, 2015

Achaari Dahi Bhindi (Okra or Lady Finger)

Abbie is a Bhindi (Okra) expert! She cooks the most delicious tasting Bhindi in the world and I fail to understand how she does it. That is what motivated me into trying out Bhindi myself. I've always been a fan of this vegetable; it tastes awesome and I've always thought it looks very pretty! Maybe that is why it is called LADY finger? Because it's pretty? No?
I ended up looking for a recipe online that had good reviews and then got all my stuff together. I had all my ingredients in front of me, my camera ready to snap pictures, and the Bhindi expert!! Abbie kept giving me her magical advice as I cooked this dish and the end result was a VERY tasty Bhindi dish that I loved to the last bite!

Now a few helpful tips I learnt from Abbie!
First of all the key to the achaari flavor are the nigella seeds (kalonji) so whatever you do, DO NOT leave them out or this dish will be incomplete!
Secondly, DO NOT add salt to the Bhindi unless it has cooked completely or will leave a lace-like sticky something and you won't end up with the separate beautiful pieces you see in the picture. So when cooking Bhindi the salt comes at the very end when the dish is completely ready.
Third, adding yogurt to very hot dishes will make it curdle and form lumps so you need to cool the Bhindi before you add the yogurt mix in.

Ingredients:
  • Bhindi (Okra or Lady Fingers) - 1/2 kg. chopped (I used half of a frozen packet of chopped Bhindi, you can use fresh ones too)
  • Oil - about 5 tbsp.
  • Fennel Seeds (Saunf) - 2 tsp.
  • Mustard Seeds (Rai) - 1tsp.
  • Nigella Seeds (Kalongi) - 1/2 tsp.
  • Fenugreek Seeds (Methi) - 1/4 tsp.
  • Ginger (Adrak) - about 2 tsp. chopped
  • Tomato - 1/2 large one chopped o(I use the fat ones from Costco)
  • Tomato Puree - about 3 or 4 tbsp.
  • Yogurt - 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric Powder (Haldi) - 1/4 tsp.
  • Red Chili Powder (Laal Mirach) - 1/2 tsp. or according to taste
  • Coriander Powder (Pisa Dhaniya) - 2 tsp.
  • Salt - to taste
Method:

Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped Bhindi to it. Use enough oil to coat the Bhindis.

Measure out the fennel (saunf), mustard (rai), nigella (kalonji), and fenugreek (methi) seeds. Add them to the Bhindi while being fried.

Fry the Bhindi with the seeds till you can smell the aroma and they are crackling.

Add the chopped tomatoes and the chopped ginger (adrak) and continue frying.

Add the tomato puree and continue frying until oil leaves from the sides of the pan.

While it is frying, mix together the yogurt with the turmeric (haldi), red chili (laal mirach), and coriander powder (pisa dhaniya). Keep aside.

When fried and the oil starts to leave from the sides of the pan, remove from the heat and keep aside to cool slightly. This was one of the helpful tips Abbie had for me: if you add the yogurt to the super hot Bhindi, it will curdle and form lumps. So she made me cool down the Bhindi by setting it aside before I added the yogurt mix.

Pour the yogurt mix into the pan once the Bhindi has cooled down enough.

Mix everything together (mix before placing it back on the stove). As the picture shows, my yogurt did not form any lumps! Yay!

Then place the pan back onto the stove and let the Bhindi cook in the yogurt.

Keep stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Cook till the oil separates from the sides of the pan.
Now is the time when you add salt in. Add about 1/4 tsp salt, mix, and taste. Adjust according to taste.

And there you go! Delicious Achaari Dahi Bhindi is ready to be served and devoured!

Doesn't it look juicy and delicious?
I cooked this some time back (from today, as I type!) ... time to have some Bhindi again! Yum! Can't wait to taste this again!
Happy cooking!

- S. Ali

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