Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bhinda Sambhariya (Gujarati Style Stuffed Okra)

Okra is my favorite vegetable. It surprises me, as almost everyone, when I say this because I am known for my picky habits where many food items are concerned. 

The humble okra however, to me, tastes good in all forms. The only issue I have with it is, you start out with a lot of okra and after cooking it shrinks to half the quantity! What a loss! One way I make it often is okra smothered in coconut or another is the 'upvaas' or the fasting version, which is a peanut based curry version. But the stuffed version, I believe takes it to the next level! Stuffing does that to most things, doesn't it? Take for example the everyday humble Roti (Indian flat bread) and the big fat potato, match the two, add some spices and viola!you have Aloo Paratha! or, or... take Paav ( bread / burger buns) and use this recipe to transform it into one of Mumbai's favorite street food! See what I mean?

The same theory applies to okra, now there are so many combinations of stuffed okra, what appealed to me about the recipe I am going to present, is the simple list of ingredients and  how well balanced they are to create a harmony in your mouth. The second reason why I zeroed down on this version, it has coconut, an ingredient I indulge in, when the hubby is away from home. he has a psychological allergy to coconut, and this recipe packs in a lot of that! 

Tarla Dalal works her magic with this stuffing and the slightly sweet taste, the natural one in coconut and the added sugar and with the heat coming from ginger and green chilies, cilantro lends flavor and lemon juice the tang! What's not to like?

Here's what you need, right from the Mistress of Gujarati food :

2 cups Okra / ladies finger (bhindi)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp Asafetida (hing)

For the filling

6 tbsp Grated Coconut (fresh or frozen)
6 tbsp chopped Cilantro(dhania)
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp Ginger-Green chilli paste
1 tsp Turmeric powder (haldi)
2 tsp Coriander-Cumin seeds (dhania-jeera) powder
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tbsp Sesame seeds (til)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp oil - I skipped this
Salt to taste

Wash and cut the ladies finger into 50 mm. (2") pieces and slit lengthwise carefully, so that the segments do not separate. Or choose tender small Okra pods.

Fill each ladies finger with a little of the prepared filling and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a kadhai and add the asafetida. A cast iron skillet works well.

Add the stuffed ladies finger and mix well.

Cover and cook on a medium flame for 15 to 20 minutes or till the okra is cooked, while stirring occasionally.

Serve hot.

You can also add 2 tbsp of coarsely ground peanuts to the filling.
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  1. Oh this looks so yummy! Okra is basically my favourite vegetable, but most days I am so lazy I will just fry quickly and add a tablespoon of chaat masala in the end. But this recipe is truly inspirational and I am going to have to try it out. Gujarati cuisine is something I haven't tried very often, so this will be a treat for sure.

    1. Thanks Michelle,the chaat masala option sounds lovely. i must try that next :)

  2. very delicious u even I like coconut but I dont use it more in my cooking..

    1. Thanks Prathibha, it is an occasional indulgence for me and that makes it all the more interesting.

  3. M has physiological allergy to Coconut.. Love it... Poor M..I agree to his allergy as I tend to have 40% of the same allergy with some recipes that use too much of coconut. I love wadi and sweets from fresh coconut, but not in all things. MY MIL tends to be a lover and uses it in almost everything. Took some time for me to adjust the coconut in all bhaji's amti and even chutney everyday.
    Love Ash.

    1. Ash, i don't think I can tolerate it everyday... nope! but with M, I had kept off it so long, now the longing is a bit strong and I like to indulge!

  4. Very nice. But I always have a tough time trying to fill the Bhendi!

    1. Radha, I agree, filling every pod is kind of time consuming, but oh so rewardingly tasty at the end!

  5. Love this especially since it has two of my favorites, okra and coconut, book marked. Next time when I bring fresh okra home, this is what I will make.

    1. I'm so glad Nagashree, that u liked the recipe! I hope when u try it , u like the ed result as well. do let me know how u did!

  6. I love okra but always end up with the same simple curry or gravy. Our okra are pretty small like almost like the finger size :) Never did the stuffed way- looks delicious!

    1. Cham, this is a nice variation to the everyday curry. A bit time consuming, however, worth the effort!

  7. Looks delicious! Okra is my daughters favorite and would love to make them this way for her but as Cham mentioned we get very small ones and I too opt for a simple fry most often.

  8. Hi Manasi, first time on your blog. Nice recipes with neat clicks.. good to see another versatile fellow blogger :)

    Glad to follow you, looking forward to more exiting posts from you :)

  9. Have been trying different stuffed bhindi recipes. So far I've loved the one with tomato-onion mixture filling. I'm definitely trying this one with coconut!


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