30 November, 2018
Chinch Gula Chi Bhendi Bhaji
Chinch Gula Chi Bhendi Bhaji translates Lady Finger vegetable with tamarind and jaggery and is a tangy, sweet yet pungent offering from the state of Maharashtra.
This vegetable has a unique place in my memory as this was one of the first vegetables I learnt to cook after marriage.
In my mother’s place, we made the stir-fried vegetable with bhendi( OMG I have not blogged it???) Bhendi fry, Bhendi Bhaji or much later Amma made Pepper Bhindi. So this was a totally different ball game for me. I loved to add a lot of water then tamarind in my typical South Indian fashion and neglected to add the jaggery in the vegetable because I never did enjoy the combination of sweet and sour. Not at all a done thing in my new home their food was sweet.
Needless to say, I tried cooking what was needed by the rest, never enjoyed my food and resented it hardly ate. The result was I lost weight like anything from 44 kgs I came down to about 28-30 kgs. Being tall I was totally underweight and used to be dizzy all the time. It was only later when the doctor spoke to me, told me to eat something I prefer if not at home outside I became better.
Now I enjoy these sweet-sour taste but still do not want my dal or vegetable on the sweet side.
Why am I taking you on a nostalgia trip??
This month for Ssshhh…. Secretly Cooking we are exploring Maharashtra! In case you do not know we are a group of bloggers who blog on a theme. We are paired and we share ingredients. The 2 ingredients star in our dish for the state chosen.
So for this month, my partner is Sujata Shukla. Sujata has an amazing place called PepperOnPizza do check out her recipes the one I have my eye is Roasted beetroot hummus to begin with then recently she has blogged Spanish Romesco Sauce. There are others that I had bookmarked but then my laptop was reformatted and all of them are gone. ( Learn at least now Archana, tu nahi sudregi).
Anyway, Sujata gave me tamarind and salt as my secret ingredients. I tried 2 recipes one was rejected this one was acceptable. I gave Sujata the commonest of ingredients oil and chilli and Sujata came up with this delicious and famous Maharashtrian Amti with Goda masala and kokum .
The other Maharashtrian dish you can make with tamarind and salt combo are Alu Vadi or Taro Leaf Roll, Amti/ Tur Dal Amti/ Toor Dal Amti, Dal Dhokli| Stew of Dal and Wheat Flour Noodles, Tamarind Chutney, Black and White Wednesday and Vada Pav~~ A Blog Hop #8.
So let us get down to making
Chich Gula Chi Bhendi Bhaji
- Serves: 4 people
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Cook time:15-20 minutes
- 1/4 kg bhendi/ladyfinger/okra
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 2 marble sized ball of tamarind, soaked
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds,
- 1/4 tsp jeera/cumin seeds,
- 1/8 tsp hing/asafetida,
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder,
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
- 2 tbsp coconut fresh scraped
- 1 tbsp Jaggery or to taste
- 1 tbsp peanuts powder, optional
- 2 tsp goda masala
- salt to taste
- Dhania/coriander leaves for garnishing
- Wash the ladyfingers and pat them dry. Usually, I do this in the night and keep them wrapped in a kitchen towel. I used to clean them with kitchen towels but my maid prefers this method.
- Cut them in bite-sized rings. The small the rings faster they cook. The size mine are cut it takes longer to cook but then they hold shape too which is very important in my family.
- Soak tamarind in water squeeze out the pulp and set aside.
- Heat a kadhai/wok with oil.
- Add the mustard seeds once they crackle add the jeera, hing, turmeric.
- Add the ladyfinger rings and sauté for a few minutes. The lady finger will change colour a little.
- Add tamarind juice, salt, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until ladyfinger cooks nicely. Add water if needed.
- Once the ladyfinger is done add jaggery, Goda masala, and Peanuts powder (if using).
- Boil for a minute or 2.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and coconut.
- Serve hot with rice or Chapattis.