Quibombo in Spanish, gombo or bamia in French, bhindi in north India, bamiesr in the eastern Mediterranean and okra in english, popularly known as the 'ladies finger', okra is a green fuzzy tapered pod with ridges around it. It is rich in vitamins A, B, C, iron and calcium and is a good source of dietary fiber which is low in calories.
This particular variation of bhindi sabji has always been a favorite in our family. The fresh green bhindi contrasts beautifully with the bright color of the masala. Always take your time , picking and choosing your okra as it is the key to making a crunchy juicy dish. Choose the tender medium ones, bright green in color, so they have less seeds. The larger the okra pods get, the tougher they become. This sabji comes alive from the moment you hand pick each okra.
• Bhindi: 1lb (500gms)
• Barbeque or Garam Masala : 4-5 tbsp
• Amchur: 1 tsp (only use with garam masala as the bbq masala includes amchur)
• Turmeric: 1/4th tsp
• Chili flakes: 1tsp
• Sugar: pinch
• Salt: to taste
• Oil: for shallow frying
Make sure you taste a pinch of the masala before you add in the salt, as sometimes it includes salt.
Wash the bhindi and pat dry with paper towel (this is an important tip as it will reduce the gumminess, characteristic to okra) Trim the head. Split the bhindi vertically 3/4th way down to the tip. (You could do a single split or a double, as shown in the picture).
In a small bowl mix the rest of the ingredients other than oil. Fill the bhindi with masala using your fingers or scooping up the masala with the knife to stuff the bhindi.
In a shallow skillet/ wok or preferably cast iron pan, heat some oil on high, when the oil is hot, drop in the stuffed bhindi one at a time. Sauté it till the oil coats almost all the pods, reduce heat to medium and let it roast. Cover it on low heat for about 2-3 min. Do not over sauté; it will split the pods open. You will know if the bhindi is done when it changes color from bright green to dull green. Enjoy with hot rotis and daal.
Health tip: Roast 1tbsp flax seed, grind them into a fine powder and sprinkle over the bhindi masala and sauté. The nutty flavor of the flax seed compliments the okra very well.