Okra is one of the most versatile vegetables around, isn’t it? I cook it with onions or without, deck it with Indian spices or sometimes look westwards for inspiration. Despite the same core ingredient, each of these okra dishes tastes worlds apart from each other. Dahi bhindi – okra with yogurt – is another such unique recipe.
This dish includes besan (gram flour) which adds body to the gravy, and there is a distinct kick from a ginger-pepper blend added to the dish. I picked up this way of cooking okra from Sanjeev Kapoor’s TV show Khana Khazana and have made a few adaptations to his recipe.
- Okra – 300 grams
- Besan (gram flour) – 1 heaped tablespoon
- Ginger – 1-inch stick
- Black peppercorns – 10
- Plain yogurt – 1 cup
- Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
- Dry red chilies – 2
- Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
- Asafoetida – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Vegetable oil – 2 teaspoons
1, Preparing the spices
Roast gram flour on a tava or skillet for 2 mins or till it begins to turn golden and give off a roasted aroma. Keep aside.
Peel, chop and using a mortar and pestle, crush ginger along with black peppercorns.
Bring yogurt to room temperature – keep it outside the fridge for a couple of hours. Whisk it well with a pinch of salt and roasted cumin powder.
2. Preparing the okra
Wash and wipe the moisture off the okra before cutting. Snip off the head, then cut into 1.5-inch long sticks.
In a non-stick pan, heat two teaspoons of oil. To hot oil, add cumin seeds and once the splutter, add broken dry red chilies. As soon as the red chilies turn color, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and okra in quick succession. Stir, cook covered for 6 minutes on medium heat, turning the okra around every other minute. At this stage uncover the pan and move on to adding the gravy masalas.
3. Putting it all together
Add ginger-pepper paste and salt to the pan, and cook uncovered till the okra is nearly done. Stir in roasted besan (gram flour) and continue to cook for 2 minutes, turning the okra pieces around so that they get coated with the besan evenly.
Set the heat to low and gently fold in the yogurt. Another minute of uncovered cooking, 5mins of covered rest – and okra with ginger-pepper yogurt is ready to serve!
My meal today: Ghee rice and dahi bhindi.