Sunday, January 06, 2013
Doi Dharosh -- Okra in a spiced yogurt sauce
Before I wrote this post, I thought twice. Actually several times. Was it okay to start the New Year with something like "Dhyarosh" ? "Dhyarosh", "Bhindi". "Ladies Finger" and now "Okra". After all when a Bengali twists her mouth and utters "Dhyarosh Kothakar", she is not exactly praising the person she is addressing. It is neither a term of endearment nor of highest praise. She is not really saying that the person is green and slender and really tasty when fried. Instead it is rather a term of disapproval, of disdain and contempt, of labeling a person as lazy, clumsy and even a nincompoop. Now you know that why I was in two minds to start the first post of new year with "Dharosh".
But then I stood my ground and decided my love for Dhyarosh has not been visible around this blog much so this year that vegetable will get its place of honor. It will sing the opening song...Do-Re-Mi.... I will write paeans about it, maybe a novel, an epic. I have always loved the Dhyarosh in all its slimy-ness and never once thought that the texture was a deterrent to anything. I have loved eaiting it steamed with drizzle of mustard oil mixed wth rice in a dharosh sheddho. I have loved it fried with a squeeze of lime juice in a kurkure bhindi bhaja. I have loved it in a dharosh posto, in dharosh shorshe, in a bhindi masala in a kadhi.
But inspite of all that love I have not been able to cook dharosh that often. Mostly that has been due to issues dealing with buying okra.Until a few years back we did not get very fresh bhindi here and the ones that were available looked so tired that you wouldn't even call them Dharosh. The other issue was the board put out around the Bhindi corner. Its ays "Do not snap" and there is always at least 3 persons standing around doing exactly the same. It is hard to elbow them out and then grab a few of the remaining good bhindis. So I mostly stayed away.
Since last year however the Indian grocery store I frequent has had reasonably good bhindis, this also meant there wasn't much paparazzi around it. I have been trying to get this veggie home more often. Now the hurdle I face is the kids who do not like its texture and refuse to eat it. I hope that will change some day too and we can be a "Dharosh family" with pride.
Now this Doi Bhindi is something I came upon after discussions with my Mother. There are "Dahi Bhindis" and then there is "Doi Bhindi". The latter has a Bong touch with the spices and sauce base similar to the "Doi Maach". It tasted really good. With white rice it was a winner for our lunch yesterday. Did I say the kids still did not eat it ? Oh well.
Wash and pat dry around 20 okra/bhindi/dharosh. The drying is important
Next chop off the head and tip of tail of each okra.
Heat about 1 tbsp oil in a fry pan . Add the whole okra and saute them with a sprinkle of turmeric powder. When the okra softens and is part cooked take it out and keep aside. Sprinkle some salt on the sauteed okra.
Meanwhile make a smooth paste of the following
1 small onion
2 hot green chilli
3 heaped tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp cashew
Note: If you fear that your onion will get bitter on grinding, saute it lightly and then make the paste
Heat little more oil in the same fry pan.
Temper the oil with 1 bay leaf, 2 green cardamom, 2 clove and 1" stick of cinnamon.
When the whole spices sizzle, lower the heat and add the paste you just made. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch and at low heat cook the masala for 3-4 minutes
Next add the sauteed okra to the pan and mix with masala. Cook okra with masala for couple more minutes. Add some water(say 1/4 cup), salt to taste, little sugar and let it simmer. Once the okra is done and the gravy is clinging, taste and adjust for seasonings. Serve with roti or rice