Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bhendi Chi Bhaaji (Marathi style okra)

I'm super excited to share today's recipe with you because it is my number 1, hands down, definite, complete, utter favorite vegetable dish ever. It is also ridiculously simple, quick, and easy. Even as a vegetable-abhorring child I would inhale this dish by the spoonful, and I still find myself going back for more. In fact, I don't think I've ever made it and not finished it in one sitting.

Ta da! Bhendi chi bhaaji - okra, cooked Marathi style.

Now this isn't your gumbo-esque okra (not that I'm against a good gumbo, of course, but this isn't it). There's nothing remotely sticky, gooey, soft or soupy about this. In fact, if you've grown up eating gumbo, take a moment to immediately discard any notions you might have about okra and start fresh. This okra is quite distinctly non-sticky. 

There are a few tricks to non-sticky okra that are in no way connected to cooking the life out of it (I probably go a little too far, and you certainly don't have to brown it as much as I do, but you really should because it's just so good)

M in the World commandments for non-sticky okra:

Step 1: After you rinse the okra, pat it down to dry. The wetter it is while you cut it, the stickier it'll be. 
Step 2: Keep a kitchen towel or paper towel on hand to wipe down your knife after every few minutes. 
Step 3: Use a little more oil than you think you'll need. 
Step 4: Once it's in the pan, leave it alone as much as possible. The more you stir, the more they stick. 

And so, without much further ado, here's the simple 5 ingredient recipe that I hope you adore.

Bhendi chi bhaaji


2 - 4 tbsp oil
1 lb okra chopped into thin slices
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili flakes
Salt to taste


Heat the oil on high until it shimmers. Start with 2 tbsp and add more later if you think the okra is getting too sticky. Add in the sliced okra, turmeric, chili flakes, and salt. Stir lightly just to distribute the spices. Reduce heat to medium and leave the okra alone. Stir gently every 5 minutes (don't over-stir!) until the okra is done to your desired level of brownness. Serve hot, preferably with a fresh chappati.

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