Bendekai/lady’s finger/okra/bhindi- so many names for this simple, high fibre, low calorie vegetable. Some people just avoid this slimy vegetable without knowing how to cook. It is just simple, if you know the right technique.
We normally don’t use any onion, garlic or tomato in festive cooking. In Mangalore, we prefer this simple coconut based side dishes for any weddings or festivities.
Here we use tamarind base to cook Bendekai to remove its slime. To avoid sliminess , you should remember 2 to 3 things. First thing, drops the veggie, only after tamarind water starts boiling. secondly, don’t over mix the veggie, while cooking. Thirdly, don’t cover the lid, while cooking lady’s finger. These are all the tricks I learnt from my elder’s while learning cooking from over the years.
You can use any varieties of lady’s finger for this recipe. Here I have used local variety from Mangalore which I have grown and harvested from my terrace garden. It is Red Okra and after cooking, it becomes like any other okra.
Ladies’ finger – ½ kg
Tamarind – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
Fresh Coconut – 1 small cup
Red chillies – 2 to 3
Mustard – ½ tsp
Hing – very little
Coconut oil – 1 tbl sp
Mustard – 1tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Red chilli – 1
Curry leaves – 1 string
-Wash and cut the bhindi into half inch pieces.
-soak tamarind in one cup of water.
-Roast red chillies and hing in a drop of coconut oil.
-Dry grind coconut, roasted red chillies, hing, mustard and keep it aside.
– Take one tawa, do the seasoning by putting oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilli.
-When mustard starts spluttering, add curry leaves and pour tamarind water (squeeze soaked tamarind in water and use)
-Add required amount of salt, jaggery and red chilli powder.
-When it starts boiling, add chopped Bendekai and cook this in a low flame.
-when water drains or Bendekai cooks, add ground coconut mixture and mix thoroughly and keep this in a simmer for couple of minutes.
-serve this as a side dish with hot rice or Chapati.