Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Masala Bhenda - Malvani Okra Curry

Around the month of Shravan/monsoon, a different variety of okra appears in the markets of Mumbai. They are long and a lighter shade than the usual okra. Though they look big, they still are very fresh and tasty. My grandmothers used that variety of okra to make masala bhenda and bhenda sagalay. Here, I have used the usual okra.

Masala Bhenda
Malvani Okra Curry
1 lb fresh okra, remove both ends, slit & left whole
salt to taste
1/2 tbsp jaggery
1 tsp tamarind pulp

2 tsp oil
2 tbsp chopped onion
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Roast & Grind
2 tsp oil
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
9 black peppercorn
3 cloves
5-7 byadgi chilies
1/2" piece of cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 - 1 cup coconut
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 small onion - approx. 1/2 cup sliced

Suggested Accompaniment
Rice Bhakri
or chapati
or plain rice

1. Trim okra on both ends. Make a slit while leaving each okra whole. If okra is too big you can make two pieces and make a slit. Set aside.
2. Roast all the spices one after the other and set aside. Roast coconut. As it gets brown, add turmeric powder & poppy seeds. Roast for 1 minute. Set aside. Roast sliced onion till brown but not burnt.
3. Grind all the above roasted ingredients adding little water and tamarind pulp. Make sure you make a fine paste.
4. Heat oil in a saucepan. Saute chopped onion and turmeric powder. Add okra and 2 tbsp water. Cover with a lid. Let it cook till okra is soft.
5. Now add the ground masala paste with 1 cup water, salt & jaggery. Bring to boil.
6. Let it simmer for 7 minutes.

Note -
1. The gravy should be neither too dry nor too watery.
2. This gravy should be on the mild side with sweetish taste with jaggery.


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