Ladies’ fingers, for me, have always been associated with moar kozhambu and a simple Tam-Brahm style of curry, made with nothing but a generous dash of oil, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. The curry has always spelled out ‘home’ for me – no wonder that I prepare it with dal or rasam rice whenever I am in need of some comforting. 🙂
When I miss Gujarat too much, though, it is another type of ladies’ finger curry that I turn to – the Gujarati version, made with salt, sugar, lemon juice, cumin powder and coriander powder. This curry, with its hints of spiciness, sourness and sweetness, goes wonderfully well with rotis.
It was only recently, while reading some cookery blogs, that I thought of using ladies’ fingers in a way that is completely foreign to me, in terms of cooking – in bhindi masala. While I have had bhindi masala quite a few times in restaurants and weddings, I have never attempted to make it at home. The Alphabet Cooking Challenge provided me with just the perfect opportunity to do so, and I grabbed it with both hands. Ladies’ fingers were duly bought and all the other ingredients were assembled. 🙂 It turned out delicious! Quite a nice change from the usual, for us, and I am sure this is not going to be the last time I have made it at home.
The recipe that I used is a mixture of what I read on different food blogs. Here’s how I made it.
Ingredients (for two people):
500 grams ladies’ fingers
3 large, ripe tomatoes
1 large onion
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled
A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
About 4-5 tablespoons of curd, sourness depending on taste
Salt, to taste
Turmeric powder, to taste
Red chilli powder, to taste
Coriander powder, to taste
Cumin powder, to taste
Oil for cooking the ladies’ finger + that for garnishing
A pinch of asafoetida
Mustard seeds, for garnishing
Fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped, for garnishing
1. Remove the heads from the ladies’ fingers and chop them into small pieces (or large ones, if you so fancy!).
2. Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan. Put in the chopped ladies’ fingers, and let them cook on a low flame till done. Keep stirring intermittently. this will take about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked ladies’ fingers in a plate and keep aside.
3. Peel the skin off the onion. Chop it finely. Keep aside.
4. Grind the tomatoes, ginger and garlic into a paste in a mixer. There is no need to add water. Keep the paste aside.
5. Heat the oil for garnishing in the pan, and add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Then, add the asafoetida.
6. Add the chopped onions to the pan, and let them cook till they turn brown.
7. Add the tomato-ginger-garlic paste. Let it cook till the raw smell goes away.
8. Add the chilli powder, salt, turmeric, coriander powder and cumin powder. Mix well. Let everything cook together for 5-7 minutes. At this stage, add a bit of water, if you think it is necessary.
9. Add the curd to the mixture. Mix well.
10. Put in the cooked ladies’ finger pieces. Mix well. Let it cook for 5-7 more minutes, so that everything is nicely incorporated together.
11. Garnish with the finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rotis.
How do you use ladies’ fingers at home?