Thursday, 17 March 2011

J is for... Jhatpat bhindi

Jhatpat bhindi is an okra dish and I am certainly no fan of this particular lady's fingers. I find their gelatinous centre about as appealing as a sprout-flavoured ball of phlegm; which is essentially what okra tastes like. The outer, crisp skin is OK enough, it just tastes of something fresh, green and healthy. Bite deeper though, and it is beneath its inoffensive exterior where the true horror lies. Sinking your teeth into these fingers releases an oozing, viscous, snotty gunge - which also tastes green, but not in a fresh or healthy way. None of my dining companions seemed to object to this dish of curried cold and I know that some favour its jellied texture - my uncle included - but I, for one, am no convert. Okra's catarrhal charms are wasted on me. 

Jhatpat bhindi

300 g/ 12 oz of okra, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 onion, finely sliced
1 red chilli, chopped (seeds in or out, depending on your feelings on hot spice)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
2 green chillies, slit
A squeeze of lemon

Fry off the onion in a generous glug of vegetable/ sunflower oil until soft and golden. Stir in the spices and fry for a minute or so to allow them time to cook through, before adding the chillies and okra, leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring intermittently, before adding lemon juice and salt to taste. Leave to simmer again until the okra is cooked but firm.

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