‘Bendekai Kolambu’, Spicy Okra Curry with Tamarind

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14.11.12

{Due to a recent virus attack I lost a whole bunch of recipe on my blog. I am slowly working on posting them back one by one. I am going to start with the recipes I am getting most requests for. If you remember/want to try one of my earlier recipes which is now not in this blog please write to be at chinmayie.bhat@gmail.com and i’ll try to post it as soon as possible. I am basically just going to re-post the recipe as it was. So some of the content might not be so relevant today but my intention is to get them all back  and I  have over 80 posts to re-blog. Thank you! }

 

'Bendekai Kolambu', Spicy Okra Curry with Tamarind

 

India is known as the land of curries. I surely don’t deny it. We really love our curries. But a lot of people think that our curries always start with onion and garlic and end with cilantro leaves. Now that’s something that is now true. Our curries are as diverse as our people. Not all the curries have a spice paste made out of onion, ginger, garlic and tomato. In fact, mom mom hardly ever used that curry base. I grew up with very little onion and tomato in my diet. In our region freshly grated coconut is the main base for all the curries. A handful of spices like dry red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin and turmeric is all that is used on a day-today basis. Much later on in life I started using onion and tomatoes in my curries and discovered that a lot of people can’t cook without them!

 

'Bendekai Kolambu', Spicy Okra Curry with Tamarind

 

The recipe I am sharing today is one such recipe. It’s simple and easy to make. It’s a curry without onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, cilantro and garam masala but it’s still very flavorful. Unlike most other South Indian Curries this doesn’t even have coconut base! Instead it had a lovely tangy tamarind base which is thickened with spices and raw rice.

 

Spices for a curry

 

I made ‘Bendekai Kolambu’ for lunch today. I am using the humble Okra (Ladies Finger, Bendekai or Bhindi) in this. Okra is a favorite vegetable in my kitchen and I love cooking it in various ways. If you believed you hate Okra because you think it’s slimy and yucky, you probably didn’t cook it the right way. Check out this great link for some tips on slime free okra.

Freshly pounded spices for the curry

 

Bendekai Kolambu uses tamarind which is a great way to avoid slimy okras. Unlike most other recipes Okra is not fried here, instead it’s cooked in tamarind water. This results in crisp yet tender and juicy pieces of okra in a tangy sauce. Whole spices are freshly roasted and pounded for a fresher stronger taste.

 

'Bendekai Kolambu', Spicy Okra Curry with Tamarind

 

All in all it’s a refreshing recipe with very unique flavors. Try this instead of your regular curry for a change and you will be amazed at how different it tastes. Bandekai Kolambu tastes great with steamed rice, roti or my personal favorite a bowl of cold curd rice (yogurt with rice) :)

 

'Bendekai Kolambu', Spicy Okra Curry with Tamarind

 

Ingredients:

  • 20-25 tender okras
  • 3-4 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 springs of fresh curry leaves

For the spice mixture:

  • 8-10 dry red chilies
  • 4 tbsp corriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp raw rice (uncooked)

 

Wash and wipe the okras dry. Cut the okras into 1 inch pieces with a dry knife. Use a paper towel to clean the knife in-between to wipe away the slime.

Place the okra pieces, tamarind pulp and 1/2 cup of water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Sprinkle some salt and simmer it till the okra changes it’s color and is cooked tender.

Dry roast the whole spices one by one, till fragrant. Chilies can take a little longer but make sure they are well roasted and crisp. Pound them all together to make a coarse powder. You can also use your spice grinder here.

Heat coconut oil in a new pan and add the mustard seeds. When it starts to splutter add the curry leaves and the spice powder. Fry it just for a second and add the cooked okra. Take care not to burn the spices or it’ll turn bitter. Now add a cup (or more) of water and salt to taste. Let it simmer for a few minutes till all the flavors come together.

Serve hot.

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