Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Take-away style bhindi (okra) bhaji

Take-out. Take-away. Call it what you will, all it means is that you're going to be eating something cooked in some pokey little kitchen by Bangladeshi cooks (most likely if it's a takeaway in the Midlands) who labour under the misapprehension that a bucketload of oil is a good substitute for taste and flavour. I might be doing a disservice to the rare takeaway place which doesn’t follow this rule of thumb, but on the whole, my statement holds true, sadly enough.

I don’t see why takeaways shouldn’t be able to do good, healthy, wholesome food, considering they have at hand all the resources they need. Various friends have asked me – probably only in jest – why I don’t start my own takeaway, but the thought just doesn’t appeal. I do like cooking, but if I had to do it all day every day, whether from home or a business premises, I would come to hate it very quickly.
(I admit that about the only activity - if you can call it that - I could or would do all day, every day, all the time would be reading... but nobody’s paying me to read books just for personal enjoyment, more’s the pity.)

Anyway, since I had a couple of packets of okra from India (via Tesco, of course - "eat local" doesn't even come into the question!) to use up and Pete likes okra, I decided to make a restaurant-style side dish – with plenty of green chillies (fried separately) for myself, and with no chillies for him. Both versions were just so simple but tasty.

To harp away on the same topic, I honestly don’t understand how the takeaway chefs could oilify (new word there) a basic dish like this and ruin it. Shame that most takeaway eaters will never realise what they're missing in the way of authentic fare. If they only knew...

Recipe for:
Take-away style bhindi (okra) bhaji



500 gm okra (about 4 cups, sliced 1" long)
2 small onions
2 small tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, sliced into thin matchsticks
3-4 green chillies, sliced diagonally into strips
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Kitchen King masala (or use garam masala)
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil


1. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-cm thick wedges and slice up the onions thinly.


2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder; fry for 20 seconds. They should become a darker shade of brown.


3. Add the sliced onions and garlic, and green chilli strips (if using), and stir-fry till they begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.


4. Now add the okra and stir it in. Let it cook on medium-high heat, stirring once in a while.


5. Once the okra is cooked and the onions are nicely browned, add the tomato wedges.


6. Stir-fry on high for 2-3 minutes or till the tomatoes JUST begin to soften. They should not get mushy. Add the Kitchen King/garam masala and salt to taste, and mix it in. Cook the okra for another couple of minutes. Serve warm with chapaties and any dal.



Nupur said...

I remember eating incredible bhindi subzi in my hostel mess, but yes, it had copious amounts of oil. Your bhindi looks light and fresh!

People can certainly pay you to read, just take a job writing book reviews for your local paper or something?

Rekha shoban said...

nice combo with roti...healthy one

Asha said...

Shammi, you are SOOOO right! I saw all the other "books" in the shelf there in that movie except Gita!! I was like you too, what the.....!! Do you know Hinduism is not considered as a region here because we don't have one God like others?!! I was surprised too when I heard that. Well...I think we have the freedom to pray or not to pray or believe to whoever we like unlike others, so I like my Hinduism anyway! :)

I like the way they shot the movie but not so much about "The book". Another thing is it has to the "British" again to save and restore the faith...as always..even though it's the American who saves or remembers it! Haha!

Love the Bhindi fry. I never get fresh here(expensive even if I get it) except frozen which gets slimy

s said...

I would love this one as a take away!!!

Supriya Nair said...

This surely is one healthy takeaway! Luv Okra...

Revathi said...

Love bhindi fry. I dont think the takeaways want to have anything to do with it since they dont want to be washing and cleaning bhindi. Takes too much time when compared to say potatoes that can be washed in one go without individual inspection. Time is money for takeaways I suppose, that is one good reason I would never want to open one.
Waiting for a recipe on stuffed bhindi. I had it once in a sindhi household and never forgot the heavenly taste.