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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bhindi (Okra) Subzi

I'm not the kind of girl you offer flowers to.  Seriously, I don't get why females go so crazy over flowers that just die and end up stinking up the house.  They take up space, and you can't just throw them away because that's apparently rude.  You have to act all mushy and happy when somebody offers them, but come on, you can't even eat them!...well most of them anyway.
If you want to make me mushy happy, offer me shrimp, a bouquet of basil, grow me some fenugreek leaves, or let me buy okra.  Once you've got that part figured out, the rest comes naturally.
Okra.  That's what my little speach is all about.  I've been seeing recently at my local market, but it didn't look very green or feel very soft.  There's nothing worse than fibery unfresh okra.  Actually, there are a million things worse than that, but what I'm saying is that today, it was calling my name, and it was looking pretty sexy in its little "world" section basket.  Yes, world section.  It's popular in the US, mostly in Cajun cuisine, but here in France the cashier had to look it up in her little book because she did not recognize the strange vegetable.  It's ok though, we have cheese au lait cru here.
Back to the okra.  How I love thee.  Many do not appreciate the sliminess, but I have found that to be one of the reasons I desire it so.  I recently learned that it can be deslimed, which is what I'm going to do tonight, just to see which way I like it better.  Oh the delicious bhindi I shared with Monsieur Patel in Samode....o how I was happy nobody else wanted any so we could eat the whole thing ourselves...oh how that memory makes me happy.  (I told you I wasn't into flowers!)
So here is a Bhindi Subzi inspired by ShowMetheCurry.  I tweaked it just a little bit, but it's basically the same recipe.
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion seeds (nigella or black cumin)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 medium onion, slided
1/4 tsp turmeric
pinch asofetida (hing)
chili powder, to taste
1lb (500g) okra/bhindi, washed, dried, and cut
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
1 Tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
1/2 cup beaten yogurt
salt to taste
1 medium tomato, chopped
1.  In a wok or heavy based pan, heat the oil and add the seeds until they start to crackle.
2.  Add the onion, turmeric, some chili powder, and hing.  If you're using regular chili powder, you can go ahead and add 1 tsp or more.  If you're using crazy chili powder, add what you can handle.  I added about 1/2 tsp.  Cook until he onion is translucent.
3.  Add the bhindi (okra), lemon juice, and amchur.  Stir gently and then leave it alone.  The sour ingredients (lemon + amchur) will take the slime out of the okra.  Agitation of the okra while cooking will guarantee slime.  Also, it is important to let the okra cook uncovered to avoid the slime.  Slime is such a bad word, I prefer the term natural viscosity.  Anyway, stir gently every 5 or so minutes to make sure nothing burns.  The okra will be done when it starts to have little spots and all the fiberous texture is gone.  I told myself I was going to time it and I forgot.  I'm guessing maybe 20 minutes total?  Just do a taste test.  It should be tender on the inside with a slight bite on the outside.. unless you like yours soft..which in that case, you would need to cook longer.
Here's what it looks like at this point.  It is perfectly fine to stop here if you are vegan or have an aversion to tomatoes.  It is already divine...
4.  When the bhindi is done to your liking, add the chickpea flour and salt, then stir in the beaten yogurt.
5.  Stir in the tomatoes, remove from heat, and cover.  Let it hang out until you are ready to eat.  Mine is hanging out right now.  I'll give it a quick high flame heat before serving.

My taste test was fabulous.  I love the texture of this insanely good for you vegetable.  Is is full of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, anti cancer...and all that good stuff.
The viscosity was very low or even non existant in this dish.  I agree that it is more pleasant to eat this way.. the only downside being that I won't get it all to myself since everybody liked it so much.
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