I was engrossed in the vegetables section of the supermarket, leaning over to reach the farthest corner of the over the plastic basket that held the Okras / Bhindis / Dharosh, when I felt someone come and stand very close to me. While it did irritate me a little ... I hate it when strangers stand too close to me, and that happens all the while, especially in queues, I did not have the time to look up.
I needed to pick up my weekly vegetables real quick and rush to meet B, who was waiting for me at the corner for a midweek lunch date at a newly opened Rajasthani food joint.
But the presence continued to bristle me and I finally gave in.
Riled, I looked up to give a big frown, only to see a very young face gaping at my hands working at picking the okras.
The girl was very young, possibly still in college. Seeing me look up, she broke into a smile and asked "Why are you breaking them?"
I couldn't help smiling.
And showed her how to select good bhindis.
And decided to include it in my post on Bhindi / Dharosh too.
I have been trying to click photos for all the dishes with bhindi that I cook and have come to the conclusion that they are one of the most difficult things to photograph, especially the dharosh bhaja. Unless I deluge the set with a number of props and some light and shadow play, etc. etc.
And since I don't have the time or patience for either, I decided to post them as they are.
But first, how to buy good bhindi.
Pick up a bhindi / okra, preferably small in size, and break the tip of its tail.
If it breaks with a snap, it is fresh. If it does not break immediately, discard it.
It is old and will be chewy.
Always buy the medium to small sized bhindis. They are the freshest ... though do put them through the snap test too.
That is, unless you are planning to use it in a dish with gravy like the Kadhi, or the ambol or the jhaal.
The best way to deal with it is to chop it and keep it on the fridge for a night or day, preferably without cover or loosely covered.
And not too tightly packed too.
Spreading them on a plate works for me well.
This way ensures much of its slime dries up and results in a better, dryish dish after cooking.
I cook with bhindis very regularly. While my favourite is the stir fry / bhaja , this is one way that is great as a side with rotis.
Slightly moist and a little spicy with the masalas, that the usual bhaja does not have, this version of the Bhindi ki sabzi is very common at my in laws' place.
I love it with parathas too.
Okra / Bhindi / Dharosh - 250 gms, chopped into mid sized pieces
Onion - 1 medium, chopped into big sized pieces
Ajwain / Carom seeds - 1 tsp
Dhania / Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Amchur / Dried mango powder - ½ tsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Mirchi / Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1 pinch
How to :
Heat oil in a heavy kadahi.
When smoking hot, lowder heat and add the onions.
Lightly toss and add the ajwain seeds. Stir well.
Do not fry the onions for too long.
Add the bhindi and mix well.
Fry for a while on low heat, spreading it all around in the kadahi.
Add the haldi + mirchi powders + salt.
Fry well for a minute.
Cover and cook till the bhindi is done.
Remove cover and fry well till the slime dries up.
Add the dhania + amchur powder + sugar.
Fry for some more time.
Remove from heat and serve hot.