For about ten years (and counting), my mother's bhindi-ki-subji has been an absolute favourite. She would make it once in 6 months (if at all), and only if someone was expected for dinner (and preferred rotis over rice). I would always hover around the kitchen, and keep having one bhindi-per-visit, so much so that she always made extra to accomodate my cravings.
Of course after marriage, I tried making it and found that though the recipe was straightforward, making it wasn't as easy. Either the bhindi was half-cooked, or it was crispy-fried. The gravy was never the right consistency - it was too runny, the proportions were always wrong and what not. About 8 unsuccessful tries later, I realised that the key to making it right was "to not make it healthy". It explained why amma made it so rarely.
- Ladies Fingers/Okra - 200 gms
- Onions - 2
- Tomatoes - 2
- Green Chillies - 3
- Ginger - 1 inch piece
- Garlic - 5 cloves
- Mustard - 1.tsp
- Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
- Salt - as required
- Oil - for frying.
- Keep a thick bottomed vessel on stove with enough oil for deep frying.
- Cut the Okra into long pieces (roughly 2-3 pieces per okra).
- Start putting them in oil (about 10 pieces at a time).
- Grind the onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic together and keep aside. Also, grind the tomatoes.
- In another pan, heat a little oil, and add mustard seeds.
- When they cackle, add the onion paste. Add turmeric powder and salt.
- Wait for the pieces to shrink slightly, before taking them out.
- After the paste becomes semi-dry, add the tomato paste. Keep stirring in medium flame till the gravy is thick and dry.
- Add the fried okra pieces, and mix them well.
- Garnish the subji with coriander leaves and serve.
- The dish is best with a higher ratio of Tomato:Onion.
- The Okra should be fried so that it shrinks and is ready to absorb the taste of the gravy. The colour would have become darker green. If the oil is very hot, this usually takes about two minutes on low flame.