Tuesday, June 25, 2013

a mixed fruit cake that is the real tutti frutti cake, not with the candied and colored papaya bits...

I remember I used to like the tutti frutti (candied mixed fruits) cakes when I was a child. But then I got to know too soon that the tutti frutti bits were no fruits but just colored and candied papaya bits. And then I never had a tutti frutti cake even in my childhood after the grim discovery. I would pick and discard any colored bits that were put into foods afterwards, I remember some people used to add those candied bits into pulavs and custard trifles back then. There was an ice cream flavor by this name too. How I hated all of that. Tutti frutti in it's real form was never encountered till I made my own, that too by serendipity.

The mosaic pattern that those candied fruit brings was always fascinating. Somehow it stayed in my mind and when I started cooking on my own I found out a way to bring about that effect in my cakes.

I keep making small amounts of jams and apple or pear butter all the time. Mostly when I buy fruits in bulk and some of the leftovers get all wrinkly and sad and no one wants them as fresh fruits. Wrinkled apples and pears make nice sweet butter as their juices have already reduced. Likewise wrinkled plums also make good jam. But I am talking bout making jams, keeping them in small jars and refrigerating them till I find 3-4 or more jars pushed behind all the fresh produce. We don't eat much jam ourselves, some is gifted away and some leftovers are bottled and refrigerated as I make them with minimal sugar and no preservation. Most such jams get dehydrated while they are in the fridge and make a good chunk of fruit leather. See how chunky the apple butter gets and how I chop it and use in my cakes...

This way I have something really useful for the cakes that I bake in a hurry.

Oh I do bake cakes in hurry when someone is visiting or we have to visit someone on short notice. I just chop those jam turned fruit leathers in different flavors and colors and add it to the cake batter. Some fresh fruit is added for bringing a moist texture and the cakes are way better than that artificially colored tutti frutti.

Otherwise the cake is just a basic recipe. This time I used maida and whole wheat both in equal amounts, some fresh tart plums and a mix of these fruit leathers and preserves.


maida (all purpose flour) 1 cup
atta (whole wheat flour) 1 cup
chopped fresh fruit 1 cup (I used tart plums)
chopped mixed fruit leathers or jelly or dehydrated jam total 1 cup or more
eggs 4
olive oil or sunflower oil 1 scant cup
sugar 1 scant cup
buttermilk 1/4 cup or a little more
baking powder 1.5 tsp
baking soda 1/2 tsp
salt 2 pinches
I did not use any fruit or vanilla extract in this fruit as there was enough fruit to make the cake flavorful. Use good quality extracts if doing so.


Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and keep side.

Line a baking dish of 9" diameter with parchment paper. Keep aside.

Mix the oil, eggs and sugar together and whip to mix. Add the chopped fresh fruit and chopped bits of dehydrated fruits/jam and preserve. Mix well.

Add the flour mix to this wet mix and fold the batter nicely with a light hand. Add the buttermilk to make the batter loose, add more if required. The batter is a little thicker than ribbon consistency.

Pour into the baking pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 50-55 minutes on middle rack. Check once after 35 minutes and place on the lower rack if the crust is browning too much.

Check with a skewer if the cake is done in the middle.

Let it cool or cut wedges when the cake is still warm. Take care if it is too hot to handle.

The slices are dotted with the colors of fruit and fruit preserves used. The taste is awesome if you like fruits. All fruit preserves and fresh fruits added impart their own flavors that remain enclosed in those tiny pockets and you get a different fruit in each bite.

The little girl who was in a mood to have a chocolate cake that day, enjoyed the brownie cake better. This cake was enjoyed by everyone else including the teenage sister of the little girl.

I gave away a large portion of this cake but the smaller portion that I kept at home for Arvind thinking he would have it over the week, he finished it having it for breakfast over two consecutive days. Such cake lovers I have around me.

This cake feels light due to oil used int he recipe, butter makes it feel heavy and the fruits don't shine that well when butter is used for fresh fruit cakes. The tart plums in this case provided a nice kick to the sweet fruit preserves used. I used a nice peach preserve that was just slivers of peaches preserved in sugar. A tart plum and black raisins preserve that I had made last summer and an apple butter leather (picture above). All these flavors were there in those small pockets and gave a different taste in each bite.

No wonder I think of cakes when I have some extra fruit at home, when I have some extra fruit preserve or some sun dried fruit too. A jar of sun dried apricots is waiting for it's turn now. All this when I myself don't enjoy cakes much.

But you know well I love playing with ingredients. Simple recipes turn into show stoppers if you just combine the flavors well.

Monday, June 24, 2013

kundru ki lehsuni bhujia : ivy gourd cooked with chilly garlic

Kundru is also called as tendli, tindora or Ivy gourd. A vegetable you don't need to peel and that helps a lot when you eat loads of vegetables every single day. I love okra and green beans more for the same reasons. These vegetables can be cooked just after rinsing them well, I wont mind the stalk attached to my okra or even the green beans. Kundru or tendli has nothing to be discarded, such a good design by nature. just slice them in rounds or in wedges and stir fry whatever way you like it.

Great source of soluble fiber and vitamins(A and C) and minerals. Good anti-oxidant food. The tiny Ivy gourds have potential to  stabilize mast cells (related to allergies), good antihistamine and anti anaphylactic. It means it is a good choice for people prone to allergies as it modulates the immune system. These are considered to be good for glucose regulation for diabetic patients too. Read here and here.

For diabetics and for everyone who is prone to allergies, kundru can be a good vegetable to be consumed 3-4 times a week. Here is an easy stir fry that cooked in about 10 minutes and takes about 5 minutes of preparation time. Kundru ki lehsuni bhujia ..

(2 servings)
kundru or ivy gourd 300 gm
garlic cloves 4-5 fat ones or about 10 small Indian ones
dry red chilies 2
green chilies 2
salt to taste
turmeric powder 1 tsp
mustard oil 2 tbsp
fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp or less if you find them too bitter


Rinse well, pat dry and slice all the kundru in thin rounds. You can keep them thick or just cut them all in irregular pieces. This bhujia can take it any which way. You can discard the pointed ends of the kundru but it's not mandatory.

Heat oil in a kadhai and add the methi (fenugreek seeds). Wait till the become darker and aromatic, and then add all the sliced kundru. Stir well to coat with hot oil and add salt also. Keep stirring on medium flame till it starts looking glazed and brownish. Turmeric will be added as soon as the kundru starts getting limp.

In the meanwhile make a paste of garlic and two types o chilies. This can be done in the chutney jar of your mixie or in a mortar and pestle. Add the paste as soon as the kundru slices are turning brown.

Keep stirring and cooking for 5-7 minutes more or till the garlicky aroma feels good.

Serve hot or at room temperature with daal chawal or with roti or parathas. It makes a nice lunch box subzi too. The slightly sour taste of the kundru complements the garlic very well. Chilly heat can be adjusted to taste but I like it fairly hot when having it with khichdi or daal chawal. Milder when I have it in huge amounts when I have my subzi based meals. I eat only subzi many times for a meal.

There are a few more versions of kundru I cook, but all my versions are dry stir fries. Do you cook them in gravies too? Share your recipe if you do.

Friday, June 21, 2013

a mughlai meal and the possibilities of a great take home nawabi zayeka...

I heart regional cuisines and any chance to taste foods from a distinct Indian regional cuisine allures me like a magnet. Mughlai is one such cuisine I have been very very curious about. The robust flavors of Hyderabad mughlai, the meats and the different ways they cook their meats with vegetables make me extremely curious. Awadhi mughlai is a delicate balance of flavors and Bengal mughlai is another shoot off from the main stock. Then there is Punjabi mughlai, Kashmiri Muslim cuisine and even Bohri Muslim cuisine. I am not sure if we would categorize Moplah as mughlai but it always amazes to witness such diversity.

I want to learn more and experiment more with this cuisine as I love my spices and have started loving my meats too in the past decade. Although I advocate using spices and even meats according to seasons and moods.

A Hyderabad foodie and caterer Sadia Durrani invited a few of us at Cal bloggers table to showcase her food. We all lapped it up as it was a nice opportunity to taste home cooked mughlai cuisine. We braved the hot sun to reach Sadia's home and taste the food, it was a hot summer day but it did not deter us carnivores at Cal bloggers table.

The table at Sadia's place was laid with old fashioned elegant wares and the food was served with much anticipation. All of us carnivores had great expectations and we clicked a few pictures of all the dishes before we dug into them. The tandoori rotis and sheermal was ordered from outside but everything else was cooked at home.

Fluffy breads like these tandoori rotis are the best way to enjoy the thick gravies these meat dishes are cooked in. The soda tandoori roti at Al Jawahar is the best I have eaten with the korma they serve, the mutton ishtoo and the nihari of course.

At Sadia's place also, I took a piece of Nihari first. I am so smitten with this slow cooked meat dish that it always tempts me to go to purani dilli every few weeks. I liked Sadia's nihari quite a lot too. Tender falling off the bone meat, the spices imbibed well in every fiber of the meat and juices of the meat seeped well into the gravy. Just as it should be, all flavors melded together well.

Gosht dopyaza was also done really well. The sweetness of onions balanced by well cooked tomatoes and overall balanced flavors. Some recipes of dopyaza used curds instead of tomatoes and some don't use any souring agent but all dopyaza varieties taste wonderful if cooked nicely. Well cooked meat that must have been cooked for a couple of hours, it didn't look like pressure cooked which kills the flavors of the meat in my opinion. This dish can be a good party staple for Delhi crowd I am sure.

I had taken a quarter of roti and used it as a palate cleanser only, I can't eat much roti with meats dishes as it makes me feel stuffed. And here I had to taste all of the dishes served. I was biting into my roti judiciously.

Sadia had arranged the kebabs prettily and I was very curious about the sesame coating and seemingly 'deep fried' kebabs rather than the shallow fried as we do it the 'awadhi shami kebab' way. I had never had deep fried kebabs earlier. Sadia's reason for deep frying the kebab is it's ability to retain the shape probably as she has to pack the stuff and hand it over to customers who would carry it home and by the time the kebabs are eaten it will be around 30 minutes at least after deep frying them. Although the shami kebabs we get packed from Dastarkhwan (in Lucknow) wrapped in ulte tawe ka paratha gets all shapeless, is still yummy to the core.

Anyhow, the kebabs were nice and crisp on the crust and melt in the mouth type inside. There was a stuffing of broken nuts and probably a little hung curd like it is done in shikampur kebabs, the texture was also much moist than the traditional shami kebab I have eaten till now. I found them really tasty, the sesame coating tasted great too, I wont go into the argument of what kind of kebab it will be, or it will be a hybrid. Something that tastes good, uses good ingredients is good enough for me.

The dish I tasted after the kebab was the awadhi murgh. The taste was good as a chicken curry but I failed to feel any awadhi spicing in it. May be everything was cooked with a bit more of chilly and the chilly had overpowered awadhi spicing. This awadhi murgh was a nice chicken curry but not awadhi for me.

I can eat quite a good amount of spices and chilly but by this time I had started feeling the heat that hit me. I was sweating like I had never before in this whole summer for sure. I wish Sadia had served some vegetables along with all the meats as well. Some lightness both in constitution as well as in taste was required and was missed sorely.

This achari murgh looked quite attractive and proved it's worth too. Very well balanced pickling spices , the right amount of sourness added by curds and nicely tenderised well seasoned chicken.  I would definitely try and recreate this recipe as I liked it as much as I like my murgh achari tikka.

This badami korma was nice too, but by the time I had this, it was clear that Sadia loves super spicy food. A korma should be very delicate to my understanding. The spicing is just a lingering aroma that you get apart form the smooth nut paste and the meat flavors. This korma was too spicy for it's name. Although I would like it if I am eating just one meat dish in the meal and there are loads of vegetables around my plate. Look how sorely I missed vegetables.

 And the last of the meat dishes I tasted was the laal maas. It was good, definitely spicy but not the best laal maas I have had. Average laal maas I would say as otherwise too I like laal maas only for the red chilly capsaicin flavoring it has. I think it would have been superbly good if it was cooked in ghee. I knew what I was missing in this laal maas, I inquired and found out all the dishes were cooked in refined oil. I wasn't expecting this.

I know many many great cooks use refined vegetable oils for cooking but I would prefer the good old mustard, sesame, coconut oils for my desi foods and ghee would rate the highest.

She served murgh dum biryani as well and we had high expectations for the biryani. Although I would say chicken doesn't make biryani at all, but still a biryani should have some flavors of the meat stock in the rice and the overall aroma that is so characteristic. It lacked everything. The rice was sticky and overcooked and I didn't find any flavor that would confirm it's a biryani. It would have gone by the name of pilaf probably.

The kheer looked good and tasted perfect. With the earthen aroma of the terracotta bowls this was a kheer one finds in wedding parties mostly. Perfectly cooked rice, reduced milk and whatever it takes to make a fairly good kheer. Not the best I have had but good.

Overall, it was a nice meaty meal. I liked most of them, but felt it would have been a lot better if it was cooked in ghee or mustard oil. Slow cooked meats don't use much ghee anyways but the flavor that develops is unmistakably rich. Ghee also cuts the heat of chilly that we all found so hard hitting.

I would emphasize one point that a meal can be predominantly meats but there should be enough options of vegetables and some cooling type raitas when there are so many meat dishes on the menu. I would have loved even a bhindi gosht or turai gosht for that matter.

A meal ordered from Sadia costs about INR 1000 for two. I would definitely order nihari and murgh achari form her if I do. May be the gosht dopyaza and lal maas as well. I think one can request her to keep the spicing low or cook the meats in ghee to get a better experience. She is an awesome mughlai cook I must say. Preparing so many dishes and serving them in one go is not easy for most of us. Apart from me,  Ruchira, Parul, Mukta and Sid khullar were also there to taste this spread.

You can contact Sadia on her fb page called Nawabi zayeka here and call her at 08588960966 to order your preferred dishes.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

sheer brunj, birunj or biranji, the kheer that cooks without rice....

Have you heard of sheer brunj? Well, this is a variety of kheer but not just another kheer I would say.

We all love kheer or milky rice puddings as I would introduce it to anyone who hasn't known Indian food. Which is quite unlikely in this age as I remember a Thai friend 23 years ago knew about kheer and pulav and he was introduced to pakode and much more at my place. You would agree people pick up Indian food pretty quickly and want to learn cooking once they taste it.

No I am not talking about a complicated recipe of kheer that takes 2 hours to cook. Having said that, all true kheers are slow cooked to get that taste. Otherwise it is just doodh wale chawal or mewe wala doodh for us. We wont call it kheer if it is any lesser.

Sheer brunj is the queen of kheers I would say. Or so I have grown up believing. This used to be the one kheer to impress the impressionables and to brag about when it was cooked for family get togethers. And yes, most people used to pronounce it like biranj or biranji. I figured now that most people have forgotten this name, have stopped making such a kheer just because it feels heavy on the calories scale. But then brunj was always served in small quantities. I wont add up to the mystery of this recipe any more.

This recipe takes about an hour to cook for 4-6 servings, but you don't have to work for more than 10 minutes that is for chopping the nuts and roasting the makhane. The milk keeps reducing all this while.


whole milk (full fat/6%) 1 L
malai 2 tbsp or amul fresh cream 100 ml
2 cups of makhane (fox nut or Euryale ferox) 2 cups
almonds 1/3 cup
cashew nuts 1/3 cup
a few strands of saffron
sugar 1-2 tbsp (this kheer is very mildly sweetened, you can add sugar to taste)


Pour milk in a heavy bottom pan and heat till it boils. Simmer on low so the milk starts getting reduced.

Place another thick bottomed pan on the other burner and tip in the makhane in it. Dry roast on low heat till they start getting pinkish in color and become crisp. You can add 2 tbsp of ghee to the makhanas so they would turn really aromatic and would make the brunj rich. I avoid adding ghee at this step as I find it too much heaviness for a dessert. Let the makhanas cool once they are all crisp and pinkish.

Place them into a deep bowl. This a large 600 ml katori I used.

And crush them all using the bottom of a tumbler or any instrument you find useful for this. A pestle would work nicely too. The nuts will be crushed roughly, so you end up with a few bits and some powder.

Chop the almonds and cashew nuts roughly. To make the chopping easy, just rinse them all with water once, wait for about 10 minutes (this was the time I was dry roasting the makhanas) and then chop them on a board.

By this time, around 10-15 minutes or more if you have been doing a few other things on the sly, the milk has been reducing. All these chopped and crushed nuts will be added once the milk is reduced to half.

Simmer the brunj for another 10 minutes or till it gets thick and creamy. Add the sugar and malai or fresh cream to it, stir well and take it off the stove.

Add the saffron, stir and keep covered for about 5 minutes. The pan is opened to welcome a wonderful aroma.

Most people like raisins in this kheer but somehow I always skip adding them. I am not too fond of soaked plump rasins. You can always add some chironji, some melon seeds and some pistachios as well. The mix of nuts is a personal choice so go with what you like. But there will be no rice or other grains in this kheer for sure.

Some people add khoya (dehydrated milk) to thicken it, that is also a personal choice. I like the aroma and rich taste we get from reducing the milk slowly. I cooked it in a copper handi that is tin coated on the inside. It doesn't add to the flavors but a handi is a convenient vessel to cook milky dishes.

This kheer called brunj or biranji is served hot or warm. Even at room temperature but I don;t remember having it chilled. Even now I don't like it chilled. Warm it should be for me. The nuts provide a nice mouthful of textures, makhana becomes soft almost giving it a feel of bread pudding when the brunj is served hot. Chill it and the makhanas will be slightly chewy, though the taste wont change. The texture of fried makhana in ghee is better if you like to do it that way.

Do let me know if you make it, hot, warm or chilled?

Friday, June 7, 2013

triple lemon cakes for a kid's birthday : the kind of cakes that spread sunshine...

Yes, a triple lemon cake with lemon glaze and another triple lemon cake with quark and cream filling and frosting. And the cake frosting was decided by the kid herself. She had told me her choice of lemon 2 weeks in advance. That's how a cake like this is born. I have been in love with lemons too, another lemon cake with zucchini has been a perennial favorite, a lemon pound cake with butterscotch sauce has been missed for long. But this one just beats everything else lemony. Even the lemon tarts that I used to bake using gondhoraj lebu long back.Yes, that good.

And why triple lemon? I used the fragrant grapefruit leaves, Indian lime zest and juice (common Indian nimbu is a lime not a lemon) and zest and juice of calamondin limes. The lemon flavor gets a really nice and refreshing depth and it's just not a tart flavor that hits your palate with a zing. The depth of lemony flavors is accentuated by quark cheese and cream frosting on one of the cakes and a lemon glaze in the second. This cake will let you know limes don't make tart cakes, they make fragrant refreshing cakes with the tingling flavors and just a hint of tartness that lifts up the sweetness of a cake.

ingredients...for the cake...
(this recipe made 2 medium sized cakes)

maida (all purpose flour/white flour) 2 cups
cold pressed sunflower oil or olive oil 1 cup
(I prefer using pure oil for citrus flavors as I feel the citrus flavors blossom nicely with oil, use butter if you wish)
sugar 1 cup scantly filled (say 1 cup - 2 tbsp)
3 large eggs (or 4 small)
baking powder 1.5 tsp
baking soda 1/2 tsp
grapefruit leaves 2
Indian lime juice 1 tbsp (or lemon juice 3 tbsp)
salt 1/2 tsp
freshly zested lime peel (from whole limes)1/3 tsp zest

ingredients for the lemon glaze
lime juice 2 tbsp
water seeped with finely chopped grapefruit leaves 3 tbsp (I microwaved the water and chopped leaves in MW)
powdered sugar 1 cup

ingredients for the quark and cream frosting

*quark cheese (homemade) 1 cup
amul fresh cream 200 ml
sugar 3 tbsp and lime juice 1 tbsp ( I used 3 tbsp of the lemon glaze)


Start with sieving the flour along with salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Start to preheat the oven at 180 C. Line the baking pans of suitable size with butter paper, no need to grease. I used 2 pans, one 7" and another 6" diameter. Keep the lines pans aside.

Finely chop the kefir lime of grapefruit leaves (or any lemon leaves you can get) and mix it with the flour. Make sure the leaves are completely dry before you roll them up and chop them in chiffonade.

Break the eggs in a deep mixing bowl, add the sugar, lime juice and zest, calamondin juice and zest and the oil and whisk till homogeneous.

Add the flour mix and fold gently till homogeneous. Pour into the pans and place both the pans into preheated  oven. On the middle rack these two cakes take 45 minutes to bake. But be careful after 40 minutes as the baking time and browning depends on your individual oven as well.

Do the skewer test and take out the cakes when done.

 Cool the cakes a bit and then invert the pans to take out the cakes. Peel off the parchment or butter paper and let the cakes cool of wire racks. If you don't have wire racks, use the atta chhanni (the sieve used for atta in every Indian home), or the perforated plate used to cover milk pan, for cooling the cakes.

One of the cakes was sliced horizontally using a large bread knife when cool. The kido wanted a sandwiched filling. She loved watching the cake being made and I loved seeing them so curious.

Let the cut halves of the cake cool completely before smearing the quark and cream frosting. I drizzled the lemon glaze mix in the cut side of these cake slices to make them taste richer.

See I used some confetti as well over the lemon frosting. The kids tasted it and declared it tastes like atta. Wow I say. Real ingredients always win. Confetti is not real. Quark and cream frosting was loved so much more than any bakery frosted cake.

Mean while make the lemon glaze and the quark and cream frosting.

For the *quark and cream frosting, just whip them both together till firm and homogeneous. Add powdered sugar and lime juice or just the lemon glaze as I did. Taste and decide how much sugar and lime you want. Keep it minimal.

For lemon glaze just mix the lime juice with sugar and mix till it looks like a thick slurry that can be poured on to the cake. I used some water seeped with grapefruit leaves too, do so if you are using the leaves.

I used the large grapefruit leaves in the base for one of the cakes. Just a crafty idea that made the kids delightful, tiny young lime leaves were used on the quark and cream frosted cake as well.

Nothing complicated, just the frosting sandwiched between the two layers, then the cake covered all over with the same and a fork run around to make a ziggly pattern. Slapped on some more frosting as the kids were feeling happy by doing so. The leftover cream was licked right away. And then the cake was cut without delay. I hurried to take a picture..

See the luscious cake inside...

The cake with lemon glaze was cut at her home. I was reported the cake didn't last even 10 minutes between 4 adults and 2 kids. Such things make us contented like nothing else.

*To make the quark cheese you just have to mix 100 ml of amul fresh cream to half a liter of full cream milk (6%), warm it and add 1/4 cup buttermilk or homemade dahi to it, mix well and leave it overnight. It gets set the next day, you would see it splits and releases some water, just pour all the contents into a cheesecloth lined sieve (placed on a bowl to drain the whey) and refrigerate the whole apparatus. The quark with will ready within 5-6 hours. Thick and creamy. I have been making fresh cheeses since long just as experimentation but Deeba uses then spectacularly, see how she makes them..

These cakes are made from scratch at home, with no special equipment for frosting or piping. Although that is not rocket science either but simplicity can be beautiful and you can always whip up something with homely ingredients. Real ingredients I would say, the way we have been using traditionally.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

sarson wali sookhi bhindi : baby okra stir fried with mustard seasoning...

Okra, ladies fingers or bhindi as we call it in Hindi, is a favorite summer vegetable at my home. We both love it and I get 2 kilos of okra every week when I do my vegetable shopping at the weekly market. I can have a dry okra stir fry for a meal, especially if it has some kind of souring agent added, be it yogurt or amchoor or tomatoes. A ghee fried salt and pepper okra is a favorite of the husband but I like it only when the okra is very fresh and the subzi is made freshly. Kashmiri spiced okra is another favorite and I love many quick ways to cook okra and have it as a meal.

That reminds me, Many people don't like okra due to the slime it has. I would suggest using baby okra for such people or cooking okra just before serving as the sliminess feels worse when you eat okra that was cooked sometime back. Using dry powders like besan (chickpea flour) or peanut powder can reduce the sliminess if you wish and deep frying the okra also reduces sliminess, but I never deep fry any subzi for daily consumption.

Washing and then air drying the okra before chopping also reduces the slime, cooking or steaming the okra whole also helps in preventing the oozing of slime from them. And try all possible variation you come across as okra is one healthy vegetable you shouldn't miss out on. As for me, I can even have it in sambar, kadhi or thin curries. Slime doesn't deter me when it is okra or bhindi.

For this sookhi subzi with okra, I use desi (heirloom) summer tomatoes and powdered yellow mustard. A stir fry with about 500 gm okra cooks in about 10 minutes, though you need some time to chop the vegetables. Using baby okra is best for this subzi, just remove the stalk and cut into two halves if the okra is more than 2 inches. Rest will come together in just 10 minutes.

(2-4 servings depending on how this is served)

baby okra (bhindi) 500 gm
tomatoes 150 gm or 2 large
finely chopped green chilies and garlic 2 tsp each or to taste
yellow mustard powder 1.5 tbsp or a little more
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
mustard oil 2 tbsp


Chop off the stalks from all the okra. Some of the larger okra can be cut into two so all of them are about an inch long pieces.

Chop the tomatoes into half and then slice them thinly. This can be done when the okra is being cooked.

Heat mustard oil in a deep pan (or kadhai), add the chopped green chilies and garlic and immediately tip in the okra. Add salt and turmeric powder and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.

Add the sliced tomatoes as soon as the okra get blistered. You don't want the okra to cook completely and get mushy. Stir fry along with the tomatoes till they are softer. Add the mustard powder and stir fry for abut 3-4 minutes more. This last phase of stir frying will be on low flame so all the flavors meld well together.

You can add a little water to make a light gravy, but I like it dry as the subzi is quite moist and soft already. A tangy taste of mustard is complemented well by the tart tomatoes. You can use amchoor if you wish as okra tastes yummy that way too. Garlic and chilly can be added in the form of a paste and the heat can be adjusted to taste. This recipe can be a regular at your home as it would be liked by everyone. I am yet to find someone who didn't like this subzi. Just take care of individual preference of heat tolerance and how much tartness one likes in a curry.

Serve this okra stir fry hot with any Indian meal as a side dish. I suggest cooking this just when you plan to serve it if you are serving it to a large gathering, in this quantity it stays well for about 3-4 hours at room temperature and tastes well even cold. I tell you the husband loves this in his lunch box and I have it like a meal sometimes along with some daal.