Bharleli Bhendi (Maharashtrian style stuffed Okra)
all the ingredients for the stuffing..
The spice mix for the stuffing..
Stuffed okra being cooked..
Bhindi or okra is an all-time favorite in my house and it is a weekly must have in some or the other form. But this traditional Maharashtrian version of stuffed okra scores above all the other recipes with the vegetable for me. I really can’t get over the crunch of peanuts, the wholesome flavor of the goda masala and the delicate taste of okra in this dish. I slow cooked this one on a lohe-ka-tawa, a shallow iron pan and that really adds to the taste which comes out quite differently in a regular non-stick pan.
250gm Okra (bhendi/bhindi/ lady fingers);
½ cup crushed peanuts (shengdana koot);
1tbsp crushed sesame seeds (tilache koot);
1/4th cup fresh grated coconut (khavlela naral);
½ tsp turmeric powder;
1 tsp red chilly powder (lal mirchi powder);
½ tsp goda masala or kala masala (Maharashtrian spice blends);
½ tsp kanda lasun masala (another Maharastrian spice blend of red chilies, onions and garlic);
½ tbsp Oil;
¼ tsp mustard seeds;
A pinch of asafetida;
5-6 curry leaves;
1/4tsp sugar (optional);
Salt to taste.
- Wash the okra under running water and drain in a sieve. Using a kitchen towel, dry the okra properly.
- With the knife, chop off both the ends of the okra. Then slit the okra lengthwise using a knife, keeping the length of the cut to about 3/4th of the okra.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the crushed peanuts and sesame seeds, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, Goda masala, Kanda Lasun masala, grated coconut, salt and sugar.
- Stuff this spice mixture into the slit okra. Reserve any remaining spice mixture.
- Heat a pan on high heat and add oil to the pan. (I used an iron griddle for the lovely charred flavor it gives the dish.)
- Add the mustard seeds to the oil and allow them to splutter. Immediately, add a pinch of asafetida and curry leaves to the oil and lower the heat.
- Add the stuffed okra to the pan and toss gently to coat the okra with oil.
- Cook on a low flame, while intermittently turning it over so that the okra doesn’t burn, until it is well-cooked and slightly crispy. You could add the leftover spice mix at this stage and cook for another minute or two.
- Serve with rotis or rice, or can be added inside roti or any other flatbread to make a roll with a sauce or chutney of your choice.