stuffed okra

Stuffed Bhindi

Yesterday I did what no fat mommy should do. I looked through my wedding albums (after 7 years). So much younger, half the width, half the circumference… Everybody else seemed to have aged too, which was comforting. There were some who had since lost weight. That irked us a bit and in a fit of childish competitiveness, Jagan and I decided we had to exercise twice a day and eat once a day. I decided also, To not buy jeans till I lose weight. That I can’t find one that fits, and if I do and if I wear it, my behind looks like a huge parentheses is immaterial.    To not wear said parantheses jeans in the name of social good.   To not buy new clothes as they may be too large once I’ve lost weight.   To not attend parties & weddings until I lose weight.   To stay out of selfies, to avoid having to shoot 100s of photos, to avoid turning sideways or hide behind someone or hold my breath or photoshop the hell out of it.   To camouflage my fitness tracker. I wear a Garmin vivofit fitness tracker all the time. I like to believe I am fitness conscious. I am conscious that I am not doing anything about my fitness every time I look at my fitness band. Wearing it though has given me great grief. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE asks me what I am wearing and once I’ve explaied – how much I’ve walked and how much weight I’ve lost. Once they hear I’ve not achieved much yet, their reactions go from smug satisfaction to ridicule to advice. One very thoughtful lady went as far as to ask why I would even try, beyond this point, suggesting that I am married, a mommy and that I am old and I should settle into my parantheses. I will meet her once I’ve lost weight. Till then I am not telling anyone it is a fitness tracker.   Very important. To not look at the wedding albums till I lose weight. That felt like therapy, like a pact to myself. Thanks for hanging in there. Now on to today’s recipe. This recipe for stuffed okra/stuffed bhindi is really close to my heart. It is easy, slightly time consuming than your regular okra stir fry but totally worth it. I love the stuffing in this...

Bhindi Sambhariya – Gujarati syle stuffed Okra

Gujarat looks quite inviting in the tourism ads starring Amitabh – very much the Indian tourist story – colourful choli clad women shyly peeping out from behind their veils, big moustached men, skinny children running amok, all amidst serene natural beauty and huge temples. It’s at the western tip of India, above Maharashtra. I’ve never been there. I’d like to but mainly for their food and their craft. Two things I never tire of. Gujarati food I read is predominantly vegetarian. I love the elaborate gujarati thalis that they serve in some restaurants here and they’re pretty neat but I am sure the real thing is even better. I made Bhindi sambhariya today for Gujarat. Stuffed Bhindi is a thing of beauty. I love okra in all its avatars the simple unassuming vendakkai poriyal, vendakkai thokku, creamy ladies finger curries and now the stuffed bhindis. There are several versions of the stuffing and this gujarati sambhariya is one of them. These stuffed okra are super tasty with steamed rice and dal. But stuffing the okra is a time consuming task. Stuffing anything (except oneself) is time consuming. So be patient and gentle with them okra or you’ll break them. Try it when you have an extra half hour. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 20-30 mins Serves: 4 Ingredients Okra/Ladies finger/Vendakkai – 1/2 kg Grated coconut – 3 tbsp Dhania/Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp Ginger – 1 inch piece Green chillies – 2 chopped roughly Turmeric – ¼ tsp White sesame seeds – ½ tsp Cumin seeds – ½ tsp Garam masala – 1 tsp Lemon juice – 1 tsp Salt to taste Oil – 3 tbsp Method 1.      Wash okra well. Pat dry and chop off the tops and tails of the okra. Make a vertical slit through all the okra and set aside. 2.      Grind together all ingredients other than okra and oil and make a thickish paste. 3.      Stuff the paste into the vertical slits in the okra. 4.      Heat a shallow pan. Add oil and when hot, place the stuffed okras in a single layer in the pan. If there is any stuffing left over, sprinkle it over the layered okra. Cover with a lid and cook on low till the okra are tender. In between, flip over the okra to evenly brown them on all sides. This may take 20-30 minutes on low heat. Once...
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