Bhindi is the Hindi name for “okra.” In South Asia, okra is rarely cooked in water. Instead it is deep-fried or fried in a spiced oil–based sauce. This dish is a rather magical transformation of dull green okra into nuggets of flavor, with no sliminess, just good bite.
In Udaipur we stayed at the Jagat Niwas Hotel, family owned and very pleasant, right by the lake and just beside the imposing palace of the maharaja of Udaipur. The food at the restaurant tended to the elaborate. But the staff ate simpler Rajasthani village-style food, for that was where they came from, villages in the western part of Rajasthan. We tasted a version of this dish at the hotel on a day when the dish had been made for the staff meal. We loved it, then later were told how to make it by the family of Sangana Bai, the tandoor oven maker (see “My First Tandoor,” page 128).
As you must with all quickly cooked stir-fried dishes, you should prepare all your ingredients ahead and place them by your stove top. The heat is medium, the spicing easy to assemble, yet complex tasting.
Serve as a dry curry, alongside rice and a simmered dish such as Udaipur Urad Dal (page 189) or Cashew-Coconut Meatballs (page 262) or Simmered Kashmiri Paneer (page 171).
[Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent] (Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent )