September 28, 2012

Bindi Masala

"It’s not that people hate cooking, they hate deciding” - I remember reading this somewhere. Have you ever felt that planning a menu is harder than the actual cooking itself ?!?!? I know a lot of you would agree! Yeah, finalizing a menu on a day-to-day basis is a daunting task for me!!

I don't know about others, but this is what happens in my home .. 

Scene 1: (@ 7 AM, when VJ leaves for work ..)
ME: "What's for lunch?"
VJ: "How about this?" (suggestion 1)
Me: "No, that 's boring!"
VJ: "How 'bout that?" (suggestion 2)
Me: "Err .. some other day! .. may be"
VJ (in an irritated tone): "Ok, cook whatever you like and is easy"

Scene 2: (@ 8:30 AM, while dropping my daughter at school)
ME: "What would you like to have for lunch?"
KID: "hmmmm.. Veg Biriyani .. wait .. how about potato fry ... no no .. Okra fry .. errr ... I don't know" (Best part is, this would be her exact same reply.. everyday :))

So, here I am - still clueless about what to cook. I come back home working my mind - thinking what to cook. Then, I spend some good 15 - 20 mins scanning the entire fridge looking for some inspiration, without any use ofcourse! Okay, next what? After thinking really really hard (read wasting lot & lot of time), I finally decide on something and start the day in my kitchen.

Bindi Masala is one such menu item that I came up after a lot of thinking! But, I don't regret the time spent in finalizing this as it was a BIG hit with VJ & my kiddo. 

It served a perfect side for avocado parathas.

Okra / Bindi / Ladies Finger - 3 cups
Medium sized tomatoes - 2 nos (finely chopped)
Large onion - 1 no (finely chopped)
Ginger - 1 inch (finely minced)
Garlic - 2 pods (finely minced)
Green chillies - 2 nos (finely chopped)
Raw cashewnuts - 8-10 nos (soaked for 10 mins in 4-5 tbsp of milk)
Grated Coconut - 2 tsp
Yogurt - 1/2 cup (well beaten)
Red chilli powder - 1 (or) 2 tsp (according to your spice level)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Amchur / dry mango powder - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf -1 no
Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch
Oil - as required
Salt as per taste

Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add okra pieces and little salt to it. Shallow fry them in high flame till they turn brown retaining their crispiness. Keep them aside.

Grind soaked cashews and coconut into a smooth paste with milk (used for soaking). Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a pan and fry bay leaf, cinnamon, fennel seeds. Then add minced ginger, garlic  and sauté for a while (you can also use ginger-garlic paste). To this, add onion, green chillies and sauté until onion turns translucent. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander power, salt, garam masala and amchur powder to it. Fry for a minute in a very low flame. To this, add finely chopped tomato and saute till they completely mash up with this masala and the tomato mixture starts leaving the oil.

Now, add cashew and coconut paste to it and saute continuously for a minute or two. Add water according to the required consistency. Let it boil in a medium flame for a minute or two.

Now add well beaten yogurt and mix well. Finally, add fried okra to this yogurt mixture and mix it well. Cook it for another 2-3 minutes in a low flame.

Remove from heat and serve with rice/parathas.

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