10 December, 2012

Bhindi Masala with Baby Corn

Bhindi or Okra is one of the most versatile vegetables there is.  There are some veggies which are state specific, cuisinewise – that is to say that that veggie is normally found in food or the cuisine originating from a particular state in India – e.g Surti Papdi is essentially used in Gujarati dishes.  Okra / Bhindi does not conform to state borders.  It is used in the cooking of a wide variety of delicious dishes, far and wide.  Even in the Southern states of America, Gumbo is a very popular dish and one of the integral ingredients of a Gumbo is Okra.
Aside of being a vegetable that has its own personality, okra has a distinct taste and texture and it blends into and absorbs any gravy or masala that it is cooked in.  Another advantage of okra is that it cooks really fast. 
We use a lot of okra in our cooking and with the exception of Pecan (who hates okra with an intensity that has to be seen to be believed), it happens to figure on the list of favourite vegetables for the three of us.  Pecan, outnumbered as he is when it comes to okra, has to chew and bite the bullet (in this case the bullet being okra).
Okra, at home, is cooked in many different ways.  An all time favourite, however, is Bhindi Masala / Okra Masala.

This is a dry veggie (no gravy) and is complemented by many other veggies that go with it.  A hearty mix of masalas results in our version of Bhindi Masala which leaves a distinct tingle on the palate, leaves one wanting more.
Ingredients
450 gms (1 lb) okra – washed, de-stemmed and cut into half
1 large onion (cut lengthwise into strips)
I large potato (cut into cubes)
1 large carrot (cut into cubes)
200 gms baby corn (cut into half)
½ tsp kala jeera, ½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
½ cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp sugar
1/8th tsp turmeric
1 tbsp kasoori methi
2 tbsp oil (corn / canola – any cooking oil)
Salt to taste
Steam or microwave the cubed potato and carrot together.  You could boil these until they are cooked but I find it faster to just nuke them in the microwave.  Sprinkle a little water on the veggies and make sure the lid is on when microwaving, else the cooked carrots and potatotes look rather aged and would be a mass of wrinkles when they come out of the microwave.
In a pan, heat 2 tbsps of oil and add the mustard seeds.  Once they splutter, add the kala jeera.  After a couple of seconds, add the sliced onion, a pinch of salt, ½ tsp of sugar.  Adding sugar to the onion brings out the sweetness of the onion and helps the onion slightly caramelize – wonderful flavour that brings in.  Toss that around for a bit and then add the okra.  Toss some more, put the lid on and turn the flame to low.  Basically, the veggies do not need any extra water to cook.  The steam that builds up releases water and that is enough to cook these.
Keep an eye on the onions and okra because of the sugar that’s been added.  Once they’re cooked enough, add the cooked carrot, potato and baby corn.  I say cooked enough because some people like the okra mashed up a bit, some others like them browned a bit.  Personally, we cook the okra just enough for it to retain a slight crunchy texture. 
Give the veggies a good toss, add salt to taste, the dry masalas and the kasoori methi.  Mix it all up well and at this point of time all the veggies should have a good coating of the dry masala that’s been mixed in.  The aroma is heady J.
Cover and leave the pan on low fire for a few mins just to release those extra few drops of water which help the masala coat the veggies well.
Serve with hot phulkas, parathas or with dal and rice.

4 voice(s) said so:

Pinksocks said...

2 of my fav things in one. Ah the spoils :) Loved it.

Trishna said...

Ditto Pinksocks... two of my favorite veggies in one dish- if there was every one morsel of paneer,I would be in veggie heaven!

Simran said...

I love bhindi in the dry form. So just bhindi and onion sabzi or stuffed with coconut bhindi :) N loves bhindi too!!

Aparna said...

Looks nice! The hubby does not like baby corn on it's own, so I hope this will make it more interesting for him, will definitely give it a try soon!