Okra Sambar / Vendekayi Kozhambu


Okra Sambar / Vendekayi Kozhambu

How long it takes: 45 mins

Number of servings: 2-3

Okra (or Lady’s finger) /Bhendekayi (Kannada)/Bhenda (Konkani) is a family favourite. You can grow this in your kitchen garden with minimum water requirements if you receive a lot of sunlight (which we do not have in our garden) – a good yield can be enjoyed in 21 days.  If one has around 6-8 plants you can have okra to cook on alternate days. I have already put up okra dosa, okra stir fry, okra fry, bhenda sukke, and today I would like to put up Bhenda Kuzambu which my dear son tried out and suggested to share it with you all.  It is a tangy Tamilian-style sambar, very easy, tasty and jhat-pat recipe so to say. :-)

What you need to have:

1. Chopped okra – 3 Cups

2. Toor Dal – 1/2 Cup

Fresh chopped tender Okra

Ingredients of seasoning & garnishing

1. Mustard seeds – 1 Teaspoon

2. Cumin seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon

3. Asafoetida powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

4. Red chilli pieces – 5-6

5. Curry leaves – 2-3 Sprigs

6. Tomato – 1 (Medium )

7 Tamarind (soft) – Size of a peanut

8. Sambar powder – 2 Teaspoons (I have used home made powder)

9. Chopped cilantro – A handful

10. Cooking oil – 2-3 Teaspoons

11. Salt – As per taste

Toor dal and ingredients of seasoning & garnishing

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash and wipe okra with a clean cloth and cut into bite size pieces and keep aside as shown in image-1.

2. Wash and cook toor dal in the cooker for about 20 minutes / till smooth.

3. Place a skillet with 2-3 Teaspoons of cooking oil in it on medium flame. When hot, add jeera/cumin seeds to it. When they start spluttering, add mustard seeds. One they’re spluttered, add hing/asafoetida powder, red chillies and curry leaves to it. When well-fried, add chopped tomato and fry till mushy on low flame.

Tomatoes being fried in the seasoning

4. When tomatoes are fried, add chopped Okra from step-1 to it adding required quantity of salt to the dish. Fry it in the seasoning and close the dish with a lid – check at regular intervals.

Okra being added to the seasoning

5. When okra pieces are cooked well, add the cooked Toor dal from step-2 to it and stir well with a wooden spatula so that cooked okra pieces are not crushed.

Cooked toor Dal being added to the dish

6. Add sambar powder, and required quantity of water to bring it to required consistency. Also, check for salt and bring the sambar to boil; stir with a wooden spatula only.

Sambar being cooked

7. Finally garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.  Enjoy with white rice.  Really yummmmmm.

Ready to serve okra sambar

How long it takes: 45  minutes

Number of servings: 2-3

Good to remember:

1. Okra should be tender and fresh.

2. Sambar powder of one’s choice can be used, use quantity according to your taste.

3. Using of wooden spatula is to avoid cooked okra from turning soggy.

4. One can even use tamarind paste in place of soft tamarind.

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