Ladies' finger/bhindi/okra is a versatile vegetable that can be made in various styles, from crispy stir-fried to flavourful curries. The recommended recipe below of ladies finger or bhindi masala is in the Kerala style. It is cooked in coconut oil and is made flavoursome with tomato, garam masala, red chilli powder, and curd, tempered in cumin seeds and curry leaves. Bhindi Masala Fry is known as Vendakkai Masala  in Malayalam.  

All about Ladies' Finger

The origin of Ladies finger is said to be in South Asia, West Africa, Ethiopia, and Southeast Asia, but there is debate over this fact. It is believed to have been introduced to the rest of the world via Egypt in 2000 BC and is said to have been introduced in India during the Mughal period. It is grown in warm temperate regions. The vegetable belongs to the Moringaceae family of plants, belonging to Asia and America.

It is also a healthy vegetable as it hardly contains any fat and is a rich source of fibre, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. It essentially contains water, negligible amounts of protein and carbohydrates, and a little bit of thiamin, folate, and magnesium.

An interesting fact is that the seeds have been known to be roasted and ground as a substitute to coffee and the seeds are crushed to extract oil from it. The young leaves of the okra are also cooked.

There are myriad ways of cooking bhindi: fried with chopped onions, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and salt; stuffed with different kinds of complementary fillings; made in spicy curries, converted into pickles, etc.

Ingredients

    ½  kg vendakka/bhindi/okra

    1 teaspoon cumin seeds

    2 big onions

    1 medium ginger

    2 tablespoons coconut oil

    4 to 5 cloves of garlic

    1 tablespoon red chilli powder

    ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

    A handful of curry leaves

    1 medium-sized tomato

    1 tablespoon garam masala

    5 to 6 tablespoons black pepper

    1 tablespoon curd

    1 cup bean flour

    A handful of coriander leaves

    Salt as per taste preference

Method

    Chop the bhindi

    Chop the tomato

    Chop the coriander leaves

    Crush the ginger and garlic till it is almost like a paste

    Heat the coconut oil in a pan

    Add the bhindi/okra and saute for 2-3 minutes, then keep aside in a bowl

    In the same pan add cumin seeds, wait till it sputters, and then add the crushed ginger and garlic

    Saute the mixture till it turns golden brown

    Add chilli powder and turmeric powder and then saute

    Add the chopped tomato and curry leaves, and saute till it turns soft and mushy

    Add garam masala, black pepper, and curd, and mix well

    Add bean and water and mix well

    Add salt as per preference

    Cover the pan with a lid and cook for a few minutes

    Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and mix well

    Remove from fire and serve

The Vendakkai Masala goes well with meals and can even be served with steaming rice or chapatis.