And then there was a ladyfinger. (Stir fry and Ladyfingers, thinking right?)
Yes, the Indian Ladyfinger is America’s very own Okra! A beautiful green colored long vegetable just like a lady’s fingers.
However, after migrating to the US (post marriage) I was amused to learn that ladyfingers are a kind of biscuit (low density, egg based and sweet sponge like) used as a dessert ingredient and not a vegetable. Ironical isn’t it? :P!
Besanwali Bhindi (Bharwa Bhindi/Bharleli Bhendi/ Stuffed Okra with Chickpea flour) is one of my favourite stir-fries! Getting fresh bhindi here is a rarity. At least I have not come across a single store that carries a nice sharp stock of it with it’s tails intact (those of you who have shared same pains of selecting amongst broken tailed okras,my heartfelt empathies!)
In childhood, my Aai (my mother) used to be so upset when I used to gobble down all the okra even before the lunchtime. Loved munching on these.
They obviously taste great when the oil dollop is bigger (or so I thought!)
Believe me there are so many people like me who believed that fat, bacon and ice-cream are mandatory sins of the culinary world! The humungous addition of these ingredients alone would make a dish taste out of the world! But, this version of “besanwali bhindi” will change it for all thinkers.
It’s light, time effective and delicious! What more other than a detailed recipe would one ask for?
Ingredients: (for 2 persons)
- 20 okras/ladyfingers washed, towel dried and slit lengthwise.(select smaller ones, they are perfectly tender.)
- 3-4 tbsps. Besan or Chickpea flour.
- 1 tsp. red chili powder.
- Salt to taste.
- 1 tbsp. jaggery or palm sugar.
- 2 tsps. cilantro powder.
- 2 tsps. cumin powder.
- 1 tsp. roasted dried garlic powder.
- 1 tsp. carom seeds.
- Oil spray.
- Oil for tempering.
- 1 tsp. asafetida.
- 1 tsp. turmeric.
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds.
- 2 tbsps. Garam masala (all spices powder).
- Mix the besan, chili powder, cilantro powder, garam masala, cumin powder, salt, jiggery, garlic powder, carom seeds and turmeric along with little salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Hold the slit okra is a hand and stuff the besan mixture in it. Gently coat the okra into the bowl of mixture after that. This seals the okra and the stuffing well and does not allow the filling to come out while cooking. (Even if it comes out, it still tastes great J). Repeat the same for all the ladyfingers.
- Heat 2-3 tsps. Olive oil (or any of your choice) in a pan and make the tempering. Add the cumin seeds and asafetida in hot oil and allow it to crackle.
- Add the stuffed okra in the pan.
- Oil spray the okra and sauté.
- The colour of okra changes to a brighter green, that’s when it is cooked well.
- But, we need the okra to be crisp and crunchy so allow it to crisp on a medium-slow flame. If you fear the okra to burn in the deep pan, add a flat pan (tawa) beneath it until it crisps.
- And it’s ready!
I understand that it takes a while stuffing each okra and then crisping it up, but the results are worth the trouble! I have seen a couple of my friends broil it in the oven to crisp it up, you can try doing that and share how! One word of advice though, while cooking okra do not cover the pan with a lid, the gel like saps within comes off and is sticky. It’s not very appetizing to the eyes L.
Serve besanwali bhindi with your choice of bread or eat it JLT! I have had this as an appetizer for many gatherings and it’s a crowd pleaser!!