Dastarkhwan, a Persian term, literally means a meticulously laid-out ceremonial dining spread. It was the spread that came from the kitchens of Lucknowvi Nawabs. And I was so engrossed in reading all about it that I decided to try a recipe that would be worthy of being part of it. Masaledaar Bharwan Bhindi (spiced stuffed okra/ lady fingers)
In India, Okra or bhindi is the favourite vegetable of adults and kids alike. As a result it is part of dinner menus quite often, but on special occasions this humble vegetable is transformed into stuffed okra which can actually grace the tables of royalty. I found the recipe in a recipe magazine “Festive treats for Eid and Diwali” that was gifted to me by my friend Dipika. Another note; the list of ingredients might look too long but take my word, it’s all worth it!
When Sikander came back home from office I had just finished cooking it and he was like “mmmm… bade gazab ki khushboo aa rahi hai!” (it smells amazing here!)
Masaledaar Bharwan Bhindi (Spicy stuffed okra)
By Ashima Goyal Siraj
Prep time: | Cook time: | Serves: 4
500 gms bhindi/ okra/ lady fingers
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch ginger, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
2 onions, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
3 tbsps oil
3 tbsps bharwan masala
1 tbsp mustard oil
2 tsp chaat masala
A few sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped
A small tomato, chopped
Juice of one lemon
- Cut the cap and tail of the lady finger (cap and tail; Yup that’s what we call them)
- Slit them lengthwise through the centre.
- Mix together bharwan masala and mustard oil and stuff into the lady fingers.
( Note: Now I have bharwan or stuffed vegetable masala made at home by my mom (Bless mothers!) But there are pre-made bharwan masalas available in most shops; you can also use tava fry masala or you can use a mix of chole/ chana masala and chaat masala. You can also use the spice mix I made for stuffed chillies. )
- Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds begin to crackle add chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till the garlic starts to brown.
- Add the sliced onions and cook till they are translucent.
- Add kashniri chilli powder, turmeric and coriander powder. Mix well.
- Add chopped tomatoes for cook till the tomatoes are done. Keep stirring the mixture in between. Add salt and mix well.
- Add the stuffed okra and cook covered on medium flame till the okra is cooked. Stir the mixture in between so that the veggies don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and are cooked uniformly.
- Take off flame. Check the seasoning and finish with sprinkling chaat masala, chopped coriander, tomatoes and lemon juice.
- Serve hot with paranthas and curd.
- Another twist to the masaaledaar bharwan bhindi is to mix in 2 tbsps thick curd before serving. I think we should then call it dahiwaali bharwan bhindi! I tried both ways. Here’s a pic of the dahiwaali version