OKRA/BHENDI KADHI (SPICED OKRA BUTTERMILK CURRY)
Its been really hot these past few days and what better way then to cool off with a “Gujju Ben” influenced Kadhi.As a kid I have tasted its close cousin the “Mor Kuzhambu” in the southern part of India,while they look similar, they vary in the ingredients & the tempering process itself.Gujarathis who hail from Western India are known for their amazing vegetarian dishes,”Kadhi” is one such dish which is served with the quintessential Khichdi in a Gujarathi Thali on an everyday basis.This dish is light and easy on your diet on a warm summer’s day.
When I grew up,though we had a lot of Gujju friends,I had only tasted most of their amazing sweets in their cuisine,not so much their everyday food.There is an advantage of being a student away from home,learning about different cultures,meeting different people tasting different cuisines…..one such encounters lead to this pleasant accident of learning to make this comfort food of the Gujju’s called the Kadhi/Buttermilk curry.Life is a journey and you learn each day,apart from the kadhi I also learnt that the Gujus loved flamboyant colors and you can easily spot them where there is more “bling” in the air.They are passionate about anything edible,they can do a “garba” for any song in the world &” Dandiya” is their Prom.They always needed to set the “Elaram” to wake up in the mornings in the dorms & they shouted their guts out on international calls,thinking they can be heard better on the other side when they were “Coal” ing people in India.Come Navarathri season, if you do not go for it, you do not exsist according to them,where Vile parle & New Jersey felt like home and they collectively owned the Reliance:).They always prepared authentic gujju food be it at home or in the dorms,the unlucky days we would have a taste of “Meggi” noodles,you are family as long as you can utter”Kem Cho” when you bump into one.Enterpreneurial skills & bargaining was born with them,infact that is their calling card apart from the wonderfully delicious food they make.This is my version of the Gujju food I learnt from my” Kem cho” friends while globe trotting & sure is comfort food for the soul.
One could use any vegetable, since I had Okras/Bhendi’s in my refrigerator sitting idle waiting for their turn I used them for this curry…what better way to bring a touch of the season into your home.
Okra/Bhendi- 15-20( cut in desired shape)
Oil- 2 tsp
Yogurt/Curds- 1 cup
Turmeric pwd- 1/2 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1tsp
Green chilli paste 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 1tsp
Dry red chillies- 3-4
Besan/Chick pea flour- 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Jeera- 1 tsp
Methi seeds-1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 3-4
Salt – to taste
Cilantro/Coriander leaves- a bunch( finely Chopped for garnishing on top)
Water -2-3 cups.
1.Clean & cut theOkra/ Bhendi into desired shape after wiping them dry with a cloth or kitchen towel.
2.Heat oil in kadai & fry the Okra/Bhendi in the oil ( with a little salt added to it)when its warm till the Okra turns a little brown & crispy.Keep it aside.
3.Take the Besan/chick pea flour &mix it with water into a thin paste, with no lumps & then add it to the yogurt/curds..Now in a separate vessel mix the yogurt,salt,turmeric pwd, coriander pwd,green chilli paste & ginger garlic paste together & set aside.
4.In a seasoning pan, do the seasoning with a little oil,dry red chillies,mustard seeds, jeera/cumin seeds & methi/fenugreek seeds & curry leaves.
5.Now add the seasoned mix to the yogurt /curd mix & then add the fried Okra to the same mix & together bring it to a boil after adding water to the required consistency & salt to taste.
5.Garnish with Cilantro/Coriander leaves.Serve hot with Rice & Pappads or it also goes well with chappathis.Some like to drink it plain as a soup too(the more watery it is in consistency it is taken as a soup)