29 January, 2016

Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry Recipe | Quick and Simple Potato and Okra Stir Fry Recipe

Learn how to make Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry ~ Spicy potato, okra and bell pepper stir fry with assorted aromatic spices

As I grow older, I have begun to admire and appreciate simple things in life, especially the simple food. When I look back and think of about my decade long culinary journey, I can’t help but smile at my younger self who believed cooking the ‘special’ dishes was the way to prove my cooking skills. Many of the simple things get lost in the day to day life as we run frantically behind the things to make it rather a special one… every single day!



Like everything in life we forget to appreciate simple foods we cook every other day! Most of the simple food gets lost in the day to day ritual of making something ‘special’ for the dinner. Unfortunately, we don’t even realise that it is these simple dishes which makes the whole meal taste delicious. It can be a smudge of pickle that livens up any boring meal or a quick vegetable stir fry that lifts the flavour of everyday dal and rice into something quite special. Initially, as a food blogger, I was always busy focusing on posting special recipes that the everyday simple recipes were kept away from the spotlight. As the years went by, my love for simple, every day food has grown by leaps and bounds and they have been making appearance in the blog quite often. These simple dishes are my priced recipes and worth to be blogged as this blog serves not only as my journal for day to day cooking and food stories, but also it will be my humble legacy, my gift to LD and to everyone who loves cooking. To my pleasant surprise, it is these simple recipes which seem to be the favourite from my blog and made me realise that I am not the only one who enjoys and appreciates simple things in life.

For the next few months, I will be concentrating on such simple food that makes regular appearance on our dinner tables. I hope you will join me in this culinary journey and enjoy cooking and tasting the simple dishes as much as I do. :) One such dish is Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry. In other words, potato, okra and bell pepper stir fry with assorted spices. Sounds too simple to be true? Well, in this case it is true!



The good old okra or bhindi or ladies finger can be one tricky vegetable to cook, mainly due to the sliminess it hides inside. Once cut open, its sliminess can put off some people from cooking it and some others from tasting it. But I have always loved this vegetable, even when I was a miserable 6 year old picky eater. I think cooking with an array of Indian spices is what makes this slimy okra such a popular vegetable in many Indian homes. Stir frying with few spices is not only the best way to tame that sliminess, but also brings out the sweet flavour of the okra.

Here are my few handy tips for those who find it difficult to cut and cook these slimy Okra. Always choose young and tender okras. The best ones are the ones that get easily snapped when you bend the tail end of the pod. Make sure that you dry the Okra completely after washing and are moisture free. Either spread them on kitchen towel in single layer and leave it for few hours or pat them dry with dry kitchen towel to remove any moisture. When cutting them, make sure that you use a dry chopping board and knife. Keep some dry kitchen tissues nearby and clean the slime from the knife every now and then while chopping the okra. I had tried stir frying the okra with very little oil and ended up with really slimy okras. So I usually use little extra oil than normal and cook it on a very high heat. This way the okras not only lose their sliminess, but also retain their crunch and that beautiful emerald green colour. You will be surprised to see how okra is one of the easy vegetables to fall in love with when cooked right.



Okra is my mother’s favourite vegetable, so it’s not surprising that she loved experimenting with this slender beauty. I have tasted okra in many forms; a quick stir fry with sliced onions, stir fry with spicy peanuts, cooked in creamy yogurt gravy, stuffed with spicy groundnuts, cooked in sweet and sour tamarind gravy, cooked in a spicy sambar, cooked with lentils, stir fried and mixed in yogurt, etc. However, it was only after marriage that I started cooking okra with potatoes. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and in my case, it was/is cooking spuds in various avatars! Given a choice, my man will sneak a spud or two if there is a way to combine potatoes with each and every vegetable in any food group! Pairing these slimy slender beauties with the starchy potatoes is something I would have never ventured into if it was not for my spud loving man! But hey, whom am I kidding! Bit like an odd couple? May be! But in all its seriousness, the earthy flavour of potatoes and sweet, crunchiness of okra were match made in heaven! Addition of peppery flavour of bell peppers just lifts the flavour to the whole new level. If you are not an admirer or okra and twitch your nose when you see it on the menu, then may be this Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry might be the one to convert you.

You can use just a couple of spices like turmeric and red chilli powder, or replace some with the spices you prefer. You can replace the potatoes with carrots or use both of them. There is no hard set rules about the ingredients used, but I do suggest you to follow the cooking technique to remove the sliminess of okra by stir frying them first in enough oil. Don’t cut down the amount of oil used if you don’t want to end up with slimy and mushy okras.



Like any other Indian dish, this Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry tastes better when it is allowed to rest for half an hour or so for the flavours to blend harmoniously as the vegetables absorb all the spices. I have made this umpteen times in the last decade and it continuous to be one of the most loved dishes in our family. I will be cooking this again today as it is a special request from a decade ‘young’ husband of mine and I sure can’t say no to the birthday boy who is going to be celebrating a rather special birthday! :) So very simple and quick to prepare, this dish is sure to win many hearts. Serve this spicy Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry as a side with rice and dal or with plain Paratha or Roti. You can also stuff and roll it in a flaky Paratha or chapatti as a quick veggie rolls on the go. This vegan, gluten free, kid friendly and bachelor friendly Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry recipe is a keeper and sure to make into your own recipe repertoire.




Aloo Bhindi Pepper Fry (Spicy potato, okra and bell pepper stir fry with assorted aromatic spices)
Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Medium
Serves: 5-7 people
Shelf Life: Best served fresh, but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days
Serving Suggestion: With plain rice and dal or with roti (read notes)

Ingredients:
15 - 18 small Bhindi/Okra/Ladies Finger
2-3 small Potato
2 medium Capsicum/Bell Peppers (I have used one each of red and green bell pepper)
1 large Onion, thinly sliced
1½ tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
¼ - ½ tbsp. Jaggery or Brown Sugar or Palm Sugar (Adjust as per taste)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Oil (I have used sunflower oil)

Spices Used:
1 – 1½ tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust as per taste)
½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
1½ tsp Dhania/Coriander Powder
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Powder
1 heaped tsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder
½ tsp Garam Masala

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
2-3 Dry Red Chillies, halved
A sprig or two of Curry Leaves (Optional, but recommended)
1 tbsp Oil


Method:
Prepare the vegetables:
  1. Peel the skin and cut the onion into thin slices.
  2. Wash and scrub the potatoes and wipe them dry with a kitchen towel. Pee the skin and cut them into two halves. Slice each halves into ¾ cm thick wedges and keep it immersed in a bowl of cold water to prevent discolouring.
  3. Slice the bell peppers into halves and remove the stem. Cut each halves into 1 cm thick long pieces and keep it aside.
  4. Wash the okra and pat them completely dry with a help of a kitchen towel. Once dry, trim the ends slice them vertically into two halves.
Proceed to cook:
  1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan on a high flame. Once hot, add the sliced okra and stir fry them continuously on high flame for 4-5 minutes until the sliminess from the okra is completely removed and the okra turns crisp and light shade of brown. Remove the okra into a plate and keep it aside.
  2. Bring the pan back on to hob and add 1 tbsp of oil on medium flame. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and dry red chillies. Once the mustard seeds start to pop and splutter, add the hing and give it a swirl for couple of seconds.
  3. Next put in the sliced onions and fry them on the medium flame for 2-3 minutes until the edges begin to brown.
  4. Mix in ginger and garlic paste and fry it until the raw smell disappears, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add thinly sliced potato wedges and increase the heat to high. Stir fry the potatoes for 3-4 minutes until they turn golden brown on the edges.
  6. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, jaggery and salt to taste and give it a good mix. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let it cook undisturbed for 3 minutes.
  7. After 3 minutes of cooking, open the lid and tip in the bell pepper slices and fried okra and mix them well.
  8. Add garam masala and dry mango powder and give them a good stir so that the vegetables are well coated with spices. Adjust the seasoning and cook them uncovered for 2-3 minutes for all the flavoures to blend well. Check if the potatoes are cooked well by piercing a piece with a tip of a knife or a fork. Cook further for 2 minutes if the potatoes are still under-cooked or appears raw.
  9. Switch off the flame and mix in finely chopped coriander leaves. Cover and let it rest for 5-10 minutes for the flavours to blend harmoniously. Serve this delicious Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry with rice and dal or with any Indian flat breads and enjoy!



Sia’s Notes:
  • You can use just a couple of spices like turmeric and red chilli powder, or replace some with the spices you prefer. You can replace the potatoes with carrots or use both of them.
  • Like any other Indian dish, this Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry tastes better when it is allowed to rest for half an hour or so for the flavours to blend harmoniously as the vegetables absorb all the spices.
  • Serve this spicy Aloo-Bhindi Pepper Fry as a side with rice and dal or with plain Paratha or Roti. You can also stuff and roll it in a flaky Paratha or chapatti as a quick veggie rolls on the go.
  • Here are my few handy tips for those who find it difficult to cut and cook these slimy Okra. Always choose young and tender okras. The best ones are the ones that get easily snapped when you bend the tail end of the pod.
  • Make sure that you dry the Okra completely after washing and are moisture free. Either spread them on kitchen towel in single layer and leave it for few hours or pat them dry with dry kitchen towel to remove any moisture.
  • When cutting them, make sure that you use a dry chopping board and knife. Keep some dry kitchen tissues nearby and clean the slime from the knife every now and then while chopping the okra.
  • I had tried stir frying the okra with very little oil and ended up with really slimy okras. So I usually use little extra oil than normal and cook it on a very high heat. This way the okras not only lose their sliminess, but also retain their crunch and that beautiful emerald green colour. Don’t cut down the amount of oil used if you don’t want to end up with slimy and mushy okras.

8 comments :

  1. Sia,
    Every post of yours is so crafted. Your work, passion and love for food shows in all of them. I love your detailed recipe and anecdotes. Keep inspiring Sia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dolphia! I always felt that an avid food blogger like yourself will understand the amount of time and effort that goes into publishing every single blog post :) I appreciate you taking time to read the blog post and leave such positive feedback. Thanks for that.

      Delete
  2. Thank you very much for this recipe Sia, i always find it hard to pair anything with bhindi but this looks delicious. Love the idea of simple recipes they are such classics !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Shilpa! Potatoes and okra are made for each other :) I hope you enjoy cooking and eating this dish. Please do leave your feedback when you try this recipe.

      Delete
  3. Wow super post . First time here. Love ur recipes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Beena! And welcome to Monsoon Spice :)

      Delete
  4. Thanks a ton for the recipe sia!! Made it for lunch today and it was lip smacking good!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks a ton for the recipe Sia!! Just made it for lunch today and it turned out lip smacking good

    ReplyDelete

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