I love Bhindi – or Okra or Ladies Finger, as it is called otherwise. This green vegetable has plenty of health benefits and has a sweetness to it that is complemented well by our Indian spices. However, a lot of people dislike Ladies Finger owing to its gluey, resin-like liquid that it secretes once its cut; moreover, some species also have a lot of seeds that tend to get stuck in the teeth that makes it further unlikable.
But, those who love Ladies Finger, do so with a passion. It can be used in any kind of cooking – a stir fry, crisped up by deep-frying, in a Sambhar (South-Indian dal preparation), or even a gravy. Possibly the most popular preparation in India is the Bharwa Bhindi – or Ladies Finger stuffed full of a spice paste and then fried gently in some oil – it is simply delicious! But, my favourite preparation is a simple stir fry, with or without onions, with the basic spices. That is why it is the best recipe for my #HomeCooked series.
Before, we proceed with the recipe, it is important to understand how to choose the right Ladies Finger. Choose Ladies Finger that is bright green, has a soft (almost furry) texture. The best test is to bend the pointy end of the vegetable to see if it is ripe. If it is, then the end will snap off cleanly. If it just continues to bend, then it is not ripe to cook. Some okra will have the seeds almost bursting out of their skin – you will be able to feel the seeds against the skin. Try not to pick those up – they may just be tough.