Wednesday, August 30, 2017

bhindi ka raita | crisp fried okra in yogurt

Raita is so simple why would someone need a recipe for it, be it cucumber raita or okra (bhindi) raita. We anyways customize our raita recipe depending on how simple or heavy or spicy the other dishes on the table are, the recipe is not so rigid and keeps changing according to the seasons too. The intrinsic beauty of Indian cuisines, especially home cooking, is that we use each produce in just the right way to suit ourselves.

Bhindi ka raita is often made with a little mature okra (bhindi) that has not turned fibrous but has lost the tenderness. The mature fibrous okra is also used in some curries I will share sometime, right now it is about bhindi ka raita. I had shared this bhindi ka raita on instagram and many had asked the recipe. I hope you like it when you make.

bhindi ka raita

In the traditional recipe the bhindi slices are deep fried to make the raita but I never do that. Slow cooking in very little oil in a shallow wide pan works wonderfully to crisp up the bhindi slices to make a great textured bhindi raita.

(2 large servings)
about a dozen large slightly mature okra or 20 small tender ones
2 green chilies chopped finely
4 springs of curry leaves chopped finely
1 tsp cumin seeds (sometimes we use ajwain seeds)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
2 tsp mustard oil
pinch of asafoetida (optional)
1 cup whisked home made cultured yogurt


Rinse the okra and pat them dry. Remove the crowns and hold them together over the chopping board. Slice them all together in very thin roundels.

Heat the mustard oil in a flat base and tip in the asafoetida and cumin seeds and let them splutter and get aromatic.

Now add the chopped chilies, curry leaves and the sliced okra, mix well and lower the heat. Spread out the okra slices over the surface of flat base pan and let them brown slowly and dehydrate a bit. Stir after every 3-4 minutes and let it cook for about 10 minutes on very low heat so the okra becomes almost crisp. Add the salt, pepper and roasted cumin powder and take off the heat.

You can bake the okra in the oven after mixing all the ingredients too. 

Now pour everything over the whisked yogurt, adjust seasoning and serve chilled or at room temperature.

bhindi ka raita

We serve this bhindi ka raita mostly with dal chawal meals but any roti or paratha subzi meal also feels great with this raita. The heat level of the raita is always adjusted according to the type of subzi and dal made for the meal.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

doodh wali guwar subzi | cluster beans cooked in a milky curry

Doodh wali guwar subzi or cluster beans cooked in a milky curry  is a discovery I made recently. I love it when my readers interact with me on my social media pages and exchange recipes too. I would admit I don't try those recipes always but some of those ideas are so good that I work on them immediately. Doodh wali guar ki subzi was one of them.

Guwar is one vegetable that can grow for almost all through the year I realised. A good news for me as I keep experimenting with this vegetable a lot. The mild bitterness and the fleshy texture is what I like but I think my mind starts preferring whatever is healthy for the body, I have some conditioning since childhood for sure. I remember how we used to get only a certain variety of guwar in Banaras as no one eats it there and it is used mostly for the animal feed, the beans are considered great for milch animals. 
The variety available in those days was smaller in size and used to get very fibrous if mature, everyone else in the family hated that fibrous guwar and my father always insisted it is so good for the body, him being the seasoned agronomist and seed technologist. Even I didn’t like that  in those days but now that we have started getting the bigger, softer and fleshier varieties of guwar I have started liking it a lot, much to my husband’s displeasure. Thankfully, this milky curry with guwar became his favourite too, just like the guwar with peanuts and guwar dhokli subzi.

The idea of this doodh wali guwar ki subzi came from a client who is on my regime to treat a few health problems of hers, she follows me on my Facebook page and it was there that she suggested a recipe of guwar with added milk. I was intrigued and cooked the guwar that way, and since the addition of milk reminded me of this doodh wali lauki, I decided to keep the flavours a little similar. The mild bitterness of methi seeds lends a really good flavour while the guwar changes its texture to a creamy softness so unlike guwar if you ask me. 

Such recipes leave me wondering how a humble ingredient can take a new identity if cooked differently. Such a wealth nature has given in our hands.

(2 servings)
300 gm guwar beans chopped in 1 inch bits (remove stalk but retain the tail) 
½ tsp methi seeds 
2-3 whole dry red chilies 
1 tsp chopped garlic 
1 finely chopped green chili
¼ tsp turmeric powder 
Salt to taste 
1tsp mustard oil 
1 cup of milk 
2 tsp ginger juice (just grate an inch piece of ginger and squeeze it into the curry when required) 

Heat the oil, tip in the methi seeds and dry red chilies. Wait till they get fragrant and then add the garlic and chopped green chilies. Fry them till fragrant again, keeping the flame medium so it doesn’t burn.
Add the chopped guwar, turmeric powder and salt, mix well and cook covered for 5 minutes. 

Add the milk, mix well and cook covered for 2-3 minutes or till it becomes soft and the flavours blend well. Add the ginger juice and mix well before taking the curry off the stove. 

You can add more milk to make the curry a little more saucy or cook a bit more to make it dry, I like it both ways and have been cooking it almost every week this season. 

Please try this doodhwali guwar ki subzi and let me know if your family likes it too.