Here’s something mighty easy…Dharosh bhaji or Okra fry.
These little beauties are also called Dhyarosh in Bengali and known as bhindi or ladies fingers because of their delicate and dainty design. A bit more on Dharosh and other veg can be found here Lets Talk about Indian Vegetables – and Tips
Okra has a sweet, grassy flavor that takes on more depth with longer cooking and a texture that can be crisp and juicy or dense and creamy.
The pods of the plant are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic “goo” or slime when the seed pods are cooked. One possible way to de-slime okra is to cook it with an acidic food, such as tomatoes, to render the mucilage less viscous.
I remember as a kid shopping and picking the big long fat pods. Squeezing them till they pop. As quick as I put them in the bag my mum was taking them out and putting them back. Mum said get the smaller ones, those tender to the squeeze that do not pop. They are best to eat when cooked, soft and not stringy or woody.
The baffled kid learnt her first lesson that big is not always the best!
If you can get past the slime…which is only apparent at initial stages of cooking dharosh you will be rewarded. Although to be honest in recent years the dharosh we buy tend to have less of the slime texture!
Dharosh are delicious. Not for everyone but definately for me. I love them in meat and chicken curry, cooked with fresh and dry fish, absolutely as a veg curry, simply steamed with butter and rice but nothing beats a simple bhaji.
This is a slight variation of my childhood version, one we grew up having as kids. Only difference is because I add tomatoes and sugar. That’s just for my palate as dharosh are not as good as the flavoursome ones we had as kids and not to reduce the slime, I like the charecteristic slime! And oh, sometimes I cut them small, my mum slit them in half lengthways!
Other than that it remains in its simplicity a flavoursome side dish intact with tradition. The light spicing allows for the true glory of dharosh to be fully appreciated.
The first time I served this to my father in law he said it was such a delicious dish he could eat all his rice with it. It was a welcome change as my in laws usually prefered them fried with potatoes. Not with the onions and garlic I was used too!
My girls love them…any way I serve them, but the bhaji was a regular at meal times!
It’s so easy and simple. Pick the tender ones, do the simple prep, gather the few ingredients. Try this dish…!
20 okra, tender ones
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tomatoes chopped
1 large onion sliced
3 green chillies slit
1 tsp sugar
6 cloves of garlic sliced
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp oil
Prepare the okra by washing first then topping and tailing.
Cut them into inch size peices or half lengthways.
Take a nonstick pan.
Add oil and when hot add 3/4 of the garlic. Fry till golden.
Now add the okra, onions, tomatoes, green chillies. Give everything a good stir to mix.
Now add the salt, sugar, rest of the sliced garlic and turmeric.
Stir fry on med heat untill everthing is well coated and mixed.
Cover and cook on the lowest heat till the okra and onion is soft.
Now increase to medium flame, uncover and gently cook folding occaisionally till you get some browning.
When you have a golden colour on the onions and a few spots of fried brown on okra its done.
Serve with rice or roti.
Its lovely as a side with masoor dal.
If you don’t want to add tomatoes then cook without but sprinkle 1 tsp of Amchoor with the turmeric to help with slime texture.
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