Friday, May 25, 2012

Oven broiled Okra / Bhindi sabzi & Potluck recipe for Bhindi Fry garnished with Roasted ripe chilies & Sesame seeds.

 Bhindi is my favorite routinely cooked vegetable. This slim shaped slimy vegetable can be cooked in different ways to make an interesting  subji.  Here I am blogging two recipes of  Bhindi /ladyfinger. One is every day sabzi by using oven to bake/broil bhindi and another one is potluck party recipe --- "Okra/ Bhindi Fry" with roasted ripe chilies and sesame seed garnish. Both the recipes are quite similar with some variation in ingredients and method.

Recipe for Every Day Stir Fry Bhindi subji  using Oven.

Ingredients :
  • 1.5 lbs Bhindi / Okra - cut into 1 inch long pieces.
  • 1 extra large onion - cut lengthwise
  • 3-4 Green chilies
  • 10-15 - curry leaves
  • 1/2 T.spoon - Turmeric
  • 1/2 T.spoon - corriander powder
  • 1/2 T.spoon - cumin powder
  • 1 T.spoon vinegar  (I used white wine vinegar.)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tb.spoon - cooking oil + some more to spray over Bhindi.
Cooking Method

Step A : Broiling Bhindi/Okra in the oven.
  1. Wash okra, pat them dry. Cut off stems, slightly cut tip portion. Cut into 1 inch long pieces. Spread them over aluminum foil lined baking tray in a single layer. Sprinkle salt, mix well so that each bhindi piece gets  coated with salt. Scroll down to see before and after broiling images of okra in a baking tray.
  2. Place baking rack 8-10 inches below heating element. Set broil setting to High. Place bhindi/okra tray, broil for 20 minutes. Open oven door,  slightly pull ahead baking rack, spray little oil over bhindi, stir and turn around bhindi pieces with wooden spoon. Continue broiling for another 10 minutes. I broiled for around 30 minutes. Switch off the  oven, let tray sit inside for 10 more minutes.
Step B : Preparing onion masala mixture for subzi.
  1. As you broil Bhindi in the oven start preparing  masala base. In a medium saute pan fry onions in 1 tbsp oil until they start to turn slightly brown. Add chopped green chilies and curry leaves, saute for one minute.
  2. Add 1/2 tsp of each turmeric, cumin and corrainder power, mix and roast for 1 minute over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low,  sprinkle 1 tsp vinegar, salt  and add half the quantity of chopped fresh cilantro. Mix and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Now add broiled bhindi to the masala mixture in a saute pan, mix well and continue cooking over medium low heat for 6-7 minutes. While cooking spray some water, adjust salt level. Lastly garnish with remaining chopped cilantro, shut off the heat. Enjoy bhindi subji with your daily meals.

 Salt marinated Okra spread - ready for broiling in the oven.

Roasted Bhindi after 30 minutes of broiling treatment.

 Bhindi Fry for Potluck Party.
In the beginning of 2010, I made this Delicious Bhindi Tray for friends pooja lunch. Every one loved it, asked for recipe, locally  I shared it over phone but on blog  this potluck recipe was pending to get published. This is simple two stage cooking recipe, you need to deep fry okra and later mix it with sauteed onion,ginger,sesame seeds, vinegar mixture. I had few fresh ripe red chilies with beautiful red-orange color, I used them to enhance garnish of the dish, it is optional and can be replaced with dry red chilies or red capsicum. This  unique Bhindi stir fry dish stands out at  Indian potlucks and parties.

Ingredients :
  • 4 lbs - Fresh tender Okra/Bhindi
  • 2 extra large onions - cut lengthwise (5 cup heaped yield)
  • 15-20 - pan fried ripe green chilies (roasting  method given below, check images below.)
  • 4-5 inch piece of fresh ginger - ground to dry coarse texture
  • 3 Tb.spoon - toasted sesame seeds
  • 1.5 cup - roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 cup oil to deep fry Okra+ 2-3 Tb.spoon for Masala base.
  • 2 Tb.spoon - vinegar
  • 25-30 fresh curry leaves
Cooking Method for Potluck Bhidi fry

Step 1 --- Roasting ripe chilies for garnish.

Slightly lengthwise slit each chili in the center, just half an inch slit is enough or you can poke each chili few times with toothpik. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small saute pan. Add all chilies, sprinkle salt and roast for 2 minutes on medium heat. Sprinkle 1 tbsp vinegar and continue roasting until vinegar evaporates. After they cool cut each chili into 2-3 pieces.
This roast chili method creates strong vapor -If you are sensitive then adapt another method. Give half an inch slit to each chili or poke few holes with toothpik. Soak chilies in vinegar for 1 hour, take them out and pat dry, place in the bowl, sprinkle salt and stir well with spoon to coat salt properly. Cut each chili into 2-3 pieces. Only problem with this method is people will experience raw crunch if they bite chili. Of course some people love to bite raw chillies. Check note for the use of red bell pepper instead of red ripe chilies.

Step 2 --- Preparing Masala mixture.
Cut onions lengthwise. Grind ginger to coarse dry texture. Toast sesame seeds in a small saute pan over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes. Heat  2-3 tbsp oil in a Large saute pan. Add onions, saute for 10-12 minutes over  medium heat, then add coarse ground ginger mixture and salt - stir fry with onions for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tbsp vinegar and half quantity of sesame seeds, mix with onion  mixture,  saute for 3-4  minutes at medium  low heat. Take pan off the heat and allow to cool.

Step 3 ---Deep Frying Bhindi/Okra and curry leaves.

Chop off stems and  slightly cut the other end tip of each okra -  cut into 1/2 inch long pieces. Heat 2 cup oil in  a Kadhai, deep fry Bhindi in batches until crisp. Don't make it too crisp, maintain green shade with slightly browned edges. Each batch will take around  3-4 minutes. After you drain  fried bhindi on paper towel, quickly sprinkle little salt and gently mix to coat fried okra pieces with salt. Repeat this for each batch.
After you complete deep frying okra add curry leaves in 2-3 batches. Deep fry only for 25-30 seconds, they turn shiny green and  crisp. Drain it on paper towel. Keep it aside.

Step 4 --- Mixing and setting Bhindi / Okra stir fry tray.

Take serving tray, evenly spread fried okra, over that spread masala mixture. You need to save little quantity of  pan seared ripe chilies, chopped cilantro leaves and roasted sesame seeds for final top layer garnish. Mix everything with wooden spoon, make sure masala mixture is well coated around fried bhindi. Check salt level, sprinkle little if needed. Finally garnish top with reserved sesame seeds, cilantro, ripe chilies, Deep fried curry leaves.
Alternatively you can add deep fried okra into saute pan with onion mixture. Mix all, spray some water. Cook for 8-10 minutes over medium high heat, stirring often. Halfway through cooking add little quantity of ripe chilies, chopped cilantro, sesame seeds. when you are ready to set tray for party, add prepared okra fry in a serving tray, garnish with reserved roasted chilies, chopped cilantro, sesame seeds. Lastly garnish with deep fried curry leaves. Your Bhindi Fry dish is ready to serve.

 Note : If you want to avoid deep frying, bake okra in the oven. (Refer first recipe above for baking instructions.) This quantity is good enough for the crowd of 20 people when menu consists of  other subji dishes. I would suggest to use 5 lbs okra. Red ripe chilies can be replaced with dry red chilies or you can use green chilies too, do the similar roasting as suggested in step-1. If you want to eliminate green chilies  then for maintaining  contrast of green and red color  you can use red bell pepper, cut them in one inch long strips and follow same step-1. For maintaining heat grind 5-6 green chilies along with ginger.

 Fresh Ripe green chilies on chili plant.

Pan fried fresh ripe green chilies.

Pot grown Green chili plant with red ripe chilies.

Hari Bhari Bhindi Fry for Desi Party

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spicy shrimp curry with Sichuan peppers and Black peppers...Recipe with Indo-Chinese Twist - Schezwan Prawns with Garlic Tadka.

Fresh wild caught shrimps from NC coast were put on sale at local  grocery super market for $6.99 lbs. which are otherwise priced @ 15$ per lbs. They don't sell them regularly so very few times we get to enjoy wild caught shrimp, rest of the time farm grown prawns/shrimps  are available. I made spicy shrimp curry with Indo-Chinese twist. I have used whole sichuan peppers but cooked this curry in Indian manner, completed cooking with garlic tadka.

  • 1/2 lbs - Ex. large 10 shrimp (I used wild caught from NC coast, any type of raw shrimp is ok.)
  • 1 large size onion - finely chopped
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic - thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium size tomato - diced (1 cup yield)
  • 2-3 whole dry red chilies - cut into 1 inch size pieces ( 5-6 pieces)
  • 1 Tb.spoon sesame oil + 1 T.spoon for Garlic tadka/tempering.
  • 1 T.spoon - chili oil (optional - in absence you can increase sesame oil quantity in garlic tadka.)
  • 1 T.spoon - red chili powder
  • 20-25 whole sichuan peppers
  • 1 T.spoon - whole black peppers
  • 1 Tb.spoon - soy sauce
  • 1 Tb.spoon - Vinegar
  • 1/2 T.spoon - tapioca flour or Rice flour or cornstarch
  • Any herb of your choice to garnish.

Cooking Method :
  1. Clean and devein shrimp. Very lightly marinate with salt.
  2. Combine black peppers and sichuan peppers - grind to fine powder.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a medium size saute pan. Add pieces of  dry red chilies, sizzle for 15-20 seconds or until chili color picks little darker shade. Add chopped onions, saute for 7-8 minutes over medium heat until onions turn soft.
  4. Add black pepper and sichuan pepper ground  powder, 1 tsp red chili powder - mix well, saute for 2 minutes over medium low heat. If mixture gets too dry, spray little water.
  5. Place marinated shrimp into the saute pan, increase heat to medium high. Mix well with onion-pepper mixture. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add 1-2  tbsp water if mixture sticks to pan bottom.
  6. Now Pour in 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp red chili oil  and 1 tbsp vinegar. Stir and mix well.
  7. Add diced tomatoes - continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes on medium low heat covering with lid.
  8. I kept thick gravy because this is very spicy dense curry, little is enough with roti or rice. You may add little water when you add diced tomatoes and to thicken the gravy add 1/2 tsp tapioca flour or rice flour or cornstarch dissolved in water. I had added 1/2 cup water and sprinkled little tapioca flour to get thick gravy. Check salt level,  add if necessary. I didn't add salt because soy sauce made it enough salty.
  9. Finally heat 1 tsp oil in a small saute pan or tadka pan. Add lengthwise sliced garlic.Stir fry for 30-40 seconds until they turn slightly brown.  Take off the pan from heat, pour it  over shrimp curry. Mix well, garnish with your choice of herb. Enjoy with rice or roti. If you want to skip Garlic tadka / tempering step then add garlic after you finish sauteing onions, stir fry for one minute before adding pepper powder.

Note : Vegetarians can try this recipe with baby potatoes, Nutrela soy chunks, mix blend of frozen or fresh vegetables also this curry will taste great with any variety of koftas.This is very spicy curry, if you need mild heat  then skip adding red chili power and reduce quantity of dry red chilies.

Monday, May 21, 2012

House Finches enjoying bath in the backyard. Two short videos of female and male House finches and some Spring time captured sparrow images.

Today morning I had wonderful time watching female and male house finches bathing in the small clay pot saucer that I have placed in the  patio for birds to drink water. I  watched them from patio glass door. I could take few pictures and took a very short few seconds video as female juvenile house finches enjoyed  splashing water. Later one single male house finch came, took bath and flew away. Quickly one more thirsty male finch came to drink water.  Enjoy few sparrow  images and  two short videos of House finches.

Chipping Sparrow - captured during early spring time.


Male house Finch

Male House Finch - Spring time capture.

Thanks for watching....