Now, this is a tricky question. Do you think Bengalis are all about fish? Whenever I meet someone who is not a Bong, he/she always ask me this question – do you eat vegetables or is it just fish? Growing up in a family with my widowed grand mom, I have seen lots of vegetables being made at home, vegetables curries without even the hint of onion or garlic – and believe it or not those tasted heavenly.
Its probably because Bengal being such a fertile land and with loads of rivers the balance between vegetables and fish is always there. Whereas in the Western parts of India though the majority of population is vegetarian they mostly stick to different types of lentils for their daily home made recipes.What is your opinion of this?
Coming to vegetables in Bengal, especially in summer, its like a fair. The different types of veggies that you get in the market is beyond imagination, and of these patol or pointed gourd and bhendi or okra are two of my favorites.
My grandmother had her way into the kitchen. Her way of balancing whole spices and ground ones had its own unique style. She used to make this dry curry with okra, pumpkin and potatoes with just a little nigella – and it was tasted out of the world. I made this the same way with just a little twist – I added a few shrimps to it.
Chingri Diye Bhendi
- 1 cup okra, split lenthwise
- 1 cup cued pumpkin
- 1 cup cubed potatoes
- 8-10 medium size shrimps
- 1 teaspoon nigella
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 3 tablespoon mustard oil
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and lightly fry the shrimps tll they turn pinkish in color and starts to curl, take out and place them in a kitchen towel to drain out the excess oil
- Heat the rest of the oil in a wok, mix a pinch of salt and turmeric to the split okra and lightly fry them. Take out and keep aside
- In the same oil add the nigella, and saute till they start sputtering. Add the pumpkin and potatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour about 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and mix the turmeric powder, chili powder and salt – mix to make a runny paste. Pour the paste to the wok and mix to coat the vegetables
- Stir till the spices start to dry, make sure it doesn\'t stick to the bottom of the wok. Pour in about 1 ½ cup of water and cook covered till the vegetables are almost cooked
- Add the okra and shrimps, cook for 2-3 minutes more. Serve hot with warm white rice or roti.
Hot Tips – Okra being a very slimy vegetables, its always better to wash and then cut the okra. If you do it the other way, the okra will be slimier making the gravy very gooey. Also, that’s the reason I fry the okra first and then put it in the curry.