Bhendi losun-miri fry/ Lady finger garlic-pepper fry

Lady Fingers/ Okra/ Bhendis is a very popular vegetable at home. If cooked properly with the right blend of spices these slimy green fingers can be turned into a delicious vegetable. I have used a combination of pepper and fried garlic to add flavor to this dish. It is truly worth trying. Served best with chappatis or curd rice.

Ingredients: Serves 4

Tender baby Bhendis: 350gms (test for tenderness- tail end or tip should snap easily when bent)
Onions: 2 medium-sized, cubed into squares of 1/2 inch
Green chilies: 3 nos slit
Garlic: 3-4 large flakes sliced
Mustard seeds: 1.5 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Urad dal: 1tsp
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Coarse pepper powder: 2 tsps
Oil- 5-6 tbsps

1. Wash the bhendis in water and then lay flat for a few minutes on kitchen paper towels to dry completely or wipe dry. This step is very important to reduce the sliminess of bhendi.
2. Next slice the dried bhendis on a dry chopping board using a sharp dry knife. First, slit the bhendis lengthwise into halves then into halves again ( each bhendi into 4 long strips), and then horizontally across through the center. This should give you 8 bhendi pieces. Make sure the knife remains slime free by wiping frequently on a kitchen towel.
3. Cube onions into 1/2-inch cubes. Slice garlic finely across the width.
4. Place a large wok on medium-high heat, add 3 tbsps oil, and add mustard seeds when hot, once they splutter add urad dal, and cumin seeds, when urad turns brown and cumin fragrant add sliced garlic and fry till garlic is aromatic and lightly browned.
5. Add slit green chilies, onions, turmeric, and salt, and stir fry till the onions turn translucent.
6. Turn the heat to high and add the bhendis , stir fry continuously. Add the remaining 3 tbsps oil at intervals pouring oil on the sides of the hot wok, rather than directly on the vegetable, sprinkle pepper powder, and continue to stir fry bhendis for 5-7 mins or more till cooked and slightly crunchy. Taste for salt. Cooking on high heat allows the bhendis to cook faster, reduce sliminess and retain their crunchy texture.
Bhendi losun-meri is ready, serve with soft chappatis or curd rice, pickle, and papad.
Note: Leftovers make excellent vegetarian sandwiches. Just spread a layer of low-fat soft processed cheese on both bread slices, place a generous layer of bhendi on one slice. A little tomato pickle on the other slice. Close the sandwich and toast in a sandwich maker till the bread is crunchy and brown on the outside.
For non- vegetarian sandwiches add slices of leftover chicken breast on top of the bhendi. Then toast as above.

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