Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tried and Tasted a Fabulous Jugalbandi of Okra and Spices!

This month Zlamushka has the dynamic Jualbandi blog up for her Tried and Tasted series. What makes choice SO difficult is the mind boggling variety of food these Jugalbandits have cooked! The amazing recipes are topped off with photographs of food that I had hitherto come across only on glossy cookbook covers. The dynamic duo cook, garden, travel, give photography solutions and tips.. do everything!!Looking thru their extensive repertoire, I landed on this and my mind was made up!

I had a pack of okra sitting in the fridge these many days and I couldn't really decide what to make of it. I love okra in all it's forms, not so the Husband, he will eat it, but will have some comment to pass, like this one time I made okra the Maharashtrian fasting style and in my humble opinion, it tastes good with tamarind- jaggery and peanut powder gravy, but DH had only one word to describe it 'murder', okra he maintained is best either in Sambar or dry. So dry it was! And what better than a tongue tickler with spices like fennel, nigella, cumin, amchoor?!
Every bite is a delight! I tis easy to make, not time consuming (which is a priority for me now),my only crib was, the quantity .. in this case supply did not match demand.This recipe is definitely a keeper, I will only double the quantity the next time. Thank you Jai and Bee for this wonderful recipe.

I followed the recipe with only a couple of changes. I am also reproducing the recipe here with my changes but for the original version, please click on the link in the first paragraph.


About half a pound (1/4 kg.) tender okra

1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)

1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

3 green chillies slit

1 tablespoon besan (chickpea flour) * I used Rice Flour

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garam masala powder * I used 1/2 tsp Rajwadi Garam Masala

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/3 tsp amchur (dry mango powder) (or 1 tsp lime juice) * I used 1/2 tsp Amchur powder

3 tbsp oil



1. Wash and wipe the okra and cut it diagonally into inch-long pieces. .
2. Heat the oil in a wok or pan to nearly smoking, add the fennel, cumin, nigella seeds and green chillies, after a few seconds, lower the flame and add the besan and all the powdered spices except the amchur.
3. Fry for a minute or so, until the besan stops smelling raw, then add the okra and the salt. Stir gently to coat with the spices, and spread them out in an even layer.
4. Leave the pan uncovered on medium flame.Turn them over after 3-4 minutes (maybe more if you are using a non-stick pan) cook them until crisp.
5. Towards the end, add the amchur powder. Stir for a minute, and take it off the flame.
Serve hot with rotis or with rice and plain yogurt.

Mistakes I made and Lesson I learnt: MUST use FRESH okra (I made this mistake despite the list of ingredients stating tender okra). I used a packet that was in my fridge for a few days and heaven knows how long on the Vons shelf. If you do not grow your own (like the Jugalbandits) and rely on the store, try to select by testing the okra by simply bending the end of the okra, if it snaps easily, it is fresh. I also went a little overboard with the rice flour , it did not taste bad, no way, but visually a little less appealing perhaps?
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Batata Wada for Anita's Party!

My blog quietly turned two in July, I was excited but I could not celebrate that special day, being Mommy is a 25 hr job! Oh well, I'm just glad that I can post something... as and when I can. So when I saw Anita's invitation, I knew, this was one party I did not want to miss!

And it was a while since I had made these! Deep frying though very gratifying to the tongue is a disaster for my waist! I am one of those unfortunate beings who magically manage to gain weight by just looking at stuff, I kid you not!

Apart form being the sole means of nutrition for 2 solid years of MBA, Batata wada, for me, is anytime food.. think picnics, guests for tea, kitty party, a savoury served on the side at a dinner, at movies, rains and hot wada-pav!

Torrential rains and Wada Pav is my favourite combo! I love the rainy season in Mumbai (except when the streets are waterlogged and life is disrupted for days) perfect time for a walk in the rain, get soaking wet, stroll to the nearest wada pav stall ( eat this snack on the roadside, restaurants do serve it on their menu, but it can NEVER taste half as good) and devour this awesome snack, standing under the awning .. with a cuppa ' cutting chai'. Warms the cockles of your heart and completely satisfies the taste buds!
For the Wadas you need:

4 Boiled Potatoes
1 tbsp. Oil for tempering
1/2 spn. Mustard seeds
4 Green chilies chopped ( +/ - according to individual taste)
A few curry leaves, torn to pieces
1/2 spn. Turmeric
3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 inch piece Ginger grated
Salt to taste
1-2 spns. finely chopped Cilantro

For Covering : (No measures here, I use approximates)

Besan / Chickpea flour
Red chilly pwd.
Salt (only so much that the covering does not taste bland)
Pinch baking soda (optional)
Water to make a batter
Oil for deep frying

Mash the boiled potatoes.In a kadhai, heat 1 tbsp. oil, add mustard seeds,after they sputter, add green chilies and curry leaves, ginger-garlic, turmeric. Saute a while. Add mashed potatoes, salt. Add chopped cilantro.

To make the batter for covering, mix all ingredients listed above. Mix well to ensure that there are no lumps. Careful with the water, the batter mustn't be too runny nor too thick.Heat oil in a kadhai. Make balls of the potato vege. Dip the ball in the batter and deep fry in oil till it turns a nice golden brown. Drain on a tissue.Serve hot with garlic chutney, fries green chilly and Pav.

I served these with green chutney -Grind together 1 bunch Cilantro, 5 Green chilies, 1/2 inch Ginger, 1 small clove Garlic, Salt to taste , juice of 1/2 lime

And Sweet n Sour Tamarind Chutney : (I used approximately) Lime sized ball of Tamarind soaked in hot water for about 15-20 mins., Jaggery twice the amount of Tamarind , 1/4 tsp. red chilli powder, Salt to taste, 1/4 tsp. cumin powder
Squeeze out the tamarind pulp, discard solids. Heat a saucepan, add all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture for about 10 mins. till it thickens to the desired consistency. Cool and serve with wada-pav.

Typically Wada Pav is served with dry Garlic / Lasun Chutney

This wada pav is my contribution to Anita's Party! Do you have your platter ready??

* On a different note... the Husband gifted me a Nikon DSLR as a pregnancy + birthday gift!! I was very confused when I was asked to choose a model and so I asked the experts. Thank You Bee and Jai!!I am yet to learn everything but as of now I am just going crazy clicking Little S!!! and in between took a hasty shot of the wada pav and back to S!!!

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