At the onset let me admit that neither am I sure about the origins of this recipe, nor do I know much about the evolution of this recipe. What struck me, however, was the fact that I read in an article about Bhindi (Okra) and Rajasthan. Okra is one of the most famous and popular vegetable crop that is cultivated in Rajasthan. This article piqued my interest and I started reading more about the topic.
I had this clichéd idea of Rajasthan being a water scarce state, and farmers there having absolutely no way of growing any other crops than those that require less water like Bajra, Maize, Jowar. I had the notion that Rajasthan would be getting their supply of green vegetables fulfilled from other states. I would attribute my ignorance partly to me being averse to subject of geography since my school days. However, I think the major reason for such clichéd mind sets are the lack of meaningful information disseminated in today’s glitzy world. In this TRP hungry world, when television channels are competing against each other in talking out of the back of head, expecting anything informative is too much to expect.
Let me come back to our topic which is Bhindi. Bhindi, Onions and Brinjal are the 3 vegetables that have been increasingly cultivated in Rajasthan. The reason for this development is the work done by government and other organizations in regards to fulfilling the water requirements of people in Rajasthan. Several check dams has been built in villages that prevent rain water runoff and aid in improving ground water levels. This has resulted into people from Sikar, Alwar and other districts now finding it possible to grow vegetables like Bhindi, tinda (type of gourd), tomatoes and even sugar canes. This was unheard of till few years back. There is in-fact a village named Jasauti which is also known as “village of lady’s finger” (Lady’s finger is another name for Okra). This village has round 80% of farmers growing Bhindi, and selling them into neighboring states. They find it more profitable to grow these vegetables and are making some decent money in the course.
The main ingredients of this recipe are Bhindi, Besan (gram flour) and spices. Since we have already discussed about Bhindi, now let’s talk about besan. Besan (gram flour) is a very essential ingredient of Rajasthan cuisine. Due to water scarcity, vegetables were not very easily available, whereas Chana (chickpeas) which is used to make besan is grown in abundance. This resulted into the birth of several recipes that were besan centric. Besan Gatte ki sabzi, Shahi gatte, Missi Roti, Rajasthani kadhi and several other recipes became part of Rajasthani cuisine. I think Rajasthani Bhindi must have been incorporated much later in this rich cuisine but as I said I am not very sure about the origins of this recipe, so I can’t say this with complete authority.
The recipe of Rajasthani Bhindi that I am sharing today is an adaptation from Neeta Mehta’s cookbook. We prepare a stuffing of besan and some dry spices like dry mango powder, red chilies, coriander powder and few other spices. Bhindis are stuffed with this stuffing and finally crisp fried in oil tempered with flavors of fennel seeds, nigella seeds and cumin seeds. Rajasthani Bhindi can be relished with missi roti, hot phulkas and naan. You can share your feedback about this recipe in the comment section below.
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- 250 grams Bhindi/Okra.Wash and pat dry okra. Cut off the tops and bottom. Slit them along the lengths.
- 2 long green chilies slit lengthwise
- 4 tbsp besan (gram flour)
- 4 tsp cumin seeds powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp fennel seeds powder
- 2 tsp dry mango(amchoor) powder
- 1 and ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1 and ½ tsp garam masala powder
- 1 and ½ tsp turmeric powder
- salt as per taste
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 4-5 tbsp Oil
- Take a large bowl. Add gram flour, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder.
- Add cumin seeds powder, dry mango powder, fennel seeds powder,cumin seeds powder, dry mango powder, fennel seeds powder,garam masala, salt as per taste. Add 1 tbsp oil and mix them all well.
- Stuff all the bhindis with this stuffing.
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan. Add fennel seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds and stir them.
- Now add green chilies.
- Now line the bottom of the pan with all the bhindis(okra).
- Pour 1-2 tbsp oil at the side of the vessel.
- Cover and cook the bhindi for 10 mins.
- Bhindi gets cooked in 10 mins.Now cook the bhindi uncovered to make them crispy.
- When Bhindi turns crispy and brown from one side, flip it to make them crispy from other side.
- In about 10 mins, Bhindi becomes crispy from all sides. Turn off the flame .
- Rajasthani Bhindi can be relished with missi roti and phulkas
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