You know how you instantly like the turquoise blue saree in Sundari Silks, you shortlist it, set it aside lest anybody buys it and then go over the rest of the shop to make sure that you are right. You then realize that this shop is not the universal set. So you drag your mother/husband/friend to RMKV, Pothys, Nalli and Kumaran Silks and go over their inventory. You shortlist some at each place but can’t take your mind off the turquoise blue saree you saw first. So you go back to Sundari Silks, and ask for your shortlisted turquoise blue saree. You decide that this is the one. You ask the salesperson to bill it. Then a peacock blue saree catches your eye. You ask him for that saree. Meanwhile the lady next to you pulls up the turquoise blue saree, inspects it and asks the salesperson to open it up. You decide immediately that turquoise blue saree it is. You swiftly pay for it and leave.
My shopping dilemmas are worse now.
I spent the better part of a Sunday scrolling through 845231 dresses across multiple sites, filtering, comparing, measuring Hasini every which way, poring over size charts, saving/liking the dresses (the online shortlisting equivalent), turning the dresses around and inside out and finally deciding on a couple of them. It is late afternoon and I already have a throbbing head-ache.
Then my sister tells me I ought to check if there are coupons I can use. I appreciate her presence of mind. I check and I find that there is a 25% off coupon if only I bought for 700 rupees more. Wow. There is something to all this online shopping thing after all.
So we scroll through 6549 dresses for my sister, filtering, comparing, measuring, checking with size charts, saving/liking dresses and turning them around and inside out and finally deciding on one. We add it to the cart triumphantly.
We key in the coupon code. It said “coupon not applicable on these items, choose from our list”. I empty the cart, close all windows and shut down my system.
If I am out shopping, I am thinking I might get a better deal online, I might have more choice. If I am online, I always feel the material is going to be cheap, it is going to look nothing like what it looks on the screen.
It is not easy, people. It is not at all easy.
What is easier is this spiced okra, baby potato fry. I like to fry the okra, potatoes and onions one at a time so that they’re each cooked through but not over-cooked, they still have some bite. I cook the spice paste and then mix in the fried veggies and add a generous dash of lovely earthy kasoori methi. I stir in quartered tomatoes just before I switch off. There. What you see is what you get! Simple, earthy, spiced bhindi and baby potato fry that can rock your roti or your rice and dal.
Happy Diwali shopping to all of you!
Happy Diwali shopping to all of you!
Spiced Bhindi and Potato fry
Spicy, lip-smacking medley of vegetables!
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- Okra/Ladies finger/Bhindi – ¼ kilo, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- Baby potatoes – ¼ kilo boiled, peeled and quartered (substitute regular potatoes if you wish)
- Tomato – 1 medium quartered
- Tomato – 1 small sized pureed
- Water – 3 tbsp
- Onion – 1 medium sizes quartered and layers separated
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – 2 tbsp crushed with fingers
- Oil – 3 tbsp
- Rinse okra, pat dry, lop off ends and chop into 1 inch pieces.
- Boil potatoes till cooked through but not mushy. Peel and quarter them.
- Heat a flat bottomed non-stick pan. When hot, add a tablespoon of oil. Tip in the chopped okra and fry for a couple of minutes. Cover, lower heat to minimum and cook for 10-12 minutes. Pierce an okra with a knife to check if it is cooked through. The knife should slide in easily. Remove the fried okra to a plate.
- To the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil and the quartered potatoes. Move things around a bit. Cover and cook on low for about 10 minutes or till the edges of the potatoes are browned. Transfer the fried potatoes to the same plate.
- To the same pan, now add quartered onions and fry for 1-2 minutes or just until it starts to turn translucent but still has a nice bite to it. Transfer to the plate.
- Turn heat to high, pour in about 3 tbsp of water, scrape the pan to loosen up the fried bits. Pour in the tomato puree and stir well. Add the spice powders and salt and mix well. When most of the water has evaporated and the masala has reduced to a thickish paste – about 1-2 minutes, add the crushed kasoori methi and mix well.
- Return the fried okra, potatoes and onions back to the pan and gently mix everything up. Cook for 1-2 minutes to let the flavours blend.
- Stir in the quartered tomatoes and switch off.
- Serve hot with rotis or rice and dal.
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