Okra or ladies finger is one of those vegetables that I had the most fun with as a child. Once my mom or an aunt chopped the tops off, my cousin and I would judiciously sneak off a few of the top ends and run to play Radio! In case you wondering, am talking about the vintage kind. The one with the round buttons and knobs that you actually have to turn? (No, am not that old, the world’s just going super fast.)
In our imagination, the okra tops were the knobs that we could turn the radio on and off or increase and lower volume and even change stations. Yes, we took turns singing/talking/even producing static as the other fiddled with these tops stuck on the wall! Good times, such good simple times they were. 🙂
My mom made this just 2 ways. The gooey kind and the really fried brown and very tasty kind. She would also dump them in a stew called Sambar (a tangy, bursting in your mouth flavored stew) and I didn’t particularly care for them then either. Yep, picky kid I was.
Then when you become an adult and have to do adulting things like making your own food palatable, you start inventing and getting creative. Then you decide a diet like so, and then you start churning the channels even more vigorously and occasionally you hit pay dirt! These days every time I stand at the fridge or stove, it is not about how low carb I can go, coz picking the right vegetable to eat is now easier than how to make that one dish also high fat!
Okra is considered relatively low carb, plus has plenty Magnesium, so one can barter some sugar for the satiety and familiarity of eating the vegetable the Indian way 🙂
The dish perhaps falls between the raw and the boiled version, so we good with the net carbs ! So, Bhindi, Bendakaya or Vendakka (okra) became this.
- Okra 3 cups
- Coconut oil 1 tbsp
- Full-fat curd 1 cup
- Roasted peanuts 1/2 cup
- Mustard seeds 1 tsp
- Green chilies 3
- Mango powder 1/2 tsp
- Coriander leaves
Take 1 cup of full-fat yogurt and strain with a muslin cloth or a tea strainer. Let it sit for all the water/whey to drain out from the curds, so all you are left with is the fat content of the yogurt. Takes a good 20 minutes or even more depending on the water.
Chop the okra (bhindi) fine!
In a pan with 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add okra (bhindi) and cook over a high flame, so no water forms. When it is half cooked, add that 1/2 tsp of mango powder or amchur and add the other 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil here continue frying. Will take some stirring and some blackening but it’s best that way than soggy.
Add red chilli powder and some salt when you find the okra all cooked through and to an extent even crispy. Let cool.
In a pan roast peanuts in 1/2 tsp of coconut oil and salt and add some red chilli powder to it while still hot.
Add to the fried okra and let cool. (peanuts are just to boost the fat content, u can skip if you’d like) By now the yogurt/curd is pretty thick, and all water drained. Add some salt, finely cut green chillies and the coriander leaves and let it sit.
Once the okra is cool, add it to the curds and mix well.
Can be eaten as is. I promise you won’t be able to finish 1 serving/cup of it 🙂
For the non-keto folks in the family or who insist on a “base”, serve as raita (or thin it with water after you take your portion out) along with rice/roti. Enjoy!