Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Achari Bhindi - Okra

Okra/Lady Finger - Bhindi is a seasonal vegetable in Pakistan. Its available during the peak summer season and is regularly cooked for lunch in Pakistani household. While posted in various cities around Pakistan, my mother's  home garden would regularly feature okra. As much as i love eating Okra, plucking it from the plants is no fun for a kid. The plant grows pretty tall for a kid to deal with. It also has small spikes all over its stem which can prick your hand. I was never happy to lend a hand in that activity. Ammi likes to use the bhindi that is same size as the index finger. She always insisted that this length ensured that the bhindi was tender and tasted better. 

I confess my favorite way to cook and eat okra is with minced meat or with goat meat. I will share those versions in future. Acharai bhindi/Okra is a delightful way of cooking and enjoying an all vegetarian meal. I am using fresh Okra but frozen okra can be used as well. It just takes a bit longer to cook. 

Achari Bhindi is served with home made chappati - flat bread and salty lassi drink in peak summers.

Ingredients:
Okra/Bhindi – ½ kg (cut in small pieces). 
Vegetable Oil – 5 Tbsp
Tomatoes – 2 large (Sliced)
Onions – 1 Large (Sliced)
Lemon – 1 Large
Ginger/Garlic Paste – 1 Tbsp
Cumin/Zeera – 1 tsp
Mustard seed/ Rai – 1 tsp
Nigella Seed/ Kalonji – 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds(Methi Dana) - 1 tsp
Method:
  1. Heat a pan and add oil.
  2. Add Okra/Bhindi to it and saute on high heat till the stickiness goes away and the okra becomes lightly brown. It will take around 10-15 mins. Fresh Okra will take less time, Frozen one takes longer to get rid of slimy stickiness.
  3. Once the okra is brown, add ginger Garlic Paste and cook it.
  4. Now add sliced tomatoes along with all the spices.
  5.  After 3 minutes add sliced onions and let it cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. Add a half cup of water and mix. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 8-10 mins over low heat. The aim is to soften the tomatoes and onions.
  7. Once the tomatoes and onions are well done, increase the heat to reduce down the extra water  completely. The dish is done once the oil comes out on the sides.
  8. Switch off the stove and add juice of one large lemon. Garnish with fresh green chilies and serve with roti.