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Punjabi Bhindi Masala

My love affair with cooking started young when I was merely 12-year-old. I was always a curious kid who wanted to know what is cooking in the kitchen.
Let me be very clear here, it’s just not my kitchen, it also involves peeping into the kitchen of other households.

One such incident happened when there was a family function, and just like every sister, I wanted to do what my elder sister used to do.
And voila! She was preparing Punjabi Bhindi Masala. I stood there looking at what she is doing, without knowing the entire recipe I picked up my flavours just by tasting it. However, I didn’t want my first dish to be a disaster. So, I sought her help to make the dish. 

Punjabi Bhindi Masala is a very simple preparation made with Okra which goes very well with phulka, or plain steamed rice.
This North Indian dish is quite easy to make, and I can assure you it will leave tinkling sensation in your mouth with all the sourness. Okra has a universal appeal attached to it. In Asian cuisines, it is used as a stir fry.

In India, it is prepared differently in every state. This humble vegetable finds its way in every cuisine. Be it a Kurkuri Bhindi, or Bhindi ka raita, and even a sambhar. But I love this preparation for many reasons, the taste you get from caramelized onions and the bitterness from charred Okra’s.  I often make this side dish on a lazy day. So, thought of sharing the recipe with all of you too.

Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients

• Vegetable Oil- 3 tbsp + (For deep frying)
• Bhindi- 250 grams (Cleaned, washed, wiped and cut into 1-inch piece)
• Onions- 2 medium-sized chopped
• Tomatoes- 2 medium-sized chopped
• Ginger Garlic Paste- 1 tbsp
• Green Chillies- 2 split lengthwise
• Cumin Seeds- 1 tbsp
• Coriander Powder- 2 tsp
• Cumin Powder- 1tsp
• Turmeric Powder- ½ tsp
• Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
• Dry Mango Powder or Amchur- 1/2 tsp
• Garam Masala Powder- 1/2 tsp
• Curd- ½ cup beaten until smooth
• Salt to taste
• Chopped Coriander for garnish

Method

• Heat oil to deep fry Bhindi in a Kadhai. (You can use any oil of your choice. I mostly use mustard oil for its pungent taste)

• Deep fry the bhindis in two separate batches and keep it aside on a plate.

• Now, take another pan put oil from the same kadhai add cumin seeds and let it splutter for a few seconds.

• Add chopped onions and fry until they turn slightly brown.

• After few minutes add ginger-garlic paste and fry until onions turn golden brown.

• Add it’s time to add green chillies and tomatoes, cook them for another 2 to 3 minutes until they are mushy.

• Add all the masalas like coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, amchur powder, cumin powder and salt and cook until oil starts to separate from the cooked masala.

• Now, it is the time to add beaten curd. Stir continuously on low flame to avoid curdling.

• Wait till the curd is nicely cooked with the masala mixture.

• Now add little water if required or the masala looks dry.

• Add the fried bhindi and cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat.

• Now add garam masala powder and mix well.

• At the end, add chopped coriander as a garnish.

• Serve piping hot with paratha, roti or a side dish with rice and dal.

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