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Cooking with Bwog: Caving to Popular Demand

In which Bwog Daily Editor Zach van Schouwen gives in to the demands of anonymous commenters and buys a plastic bag full of curry powder.

IngredientsIn a previous edition of Cooking with Bwog, our high esteem for fried okra was called into question by a number of advocates of bhindi. Bhindi is the Hindi word for okra, but also refers to a particular way of cooking it, using curry, masala and yogurt.

Anyway, it wouldn’t be cooking if we didn’t get to act like imperialists. So I promptly co-opted the Indian tradition and made some bhindi myself. It was pretty damn good, anonymous Bwog commenters, I’ll give you some props. My version of the recipe follows, with instructions and a backstory.

First, it’s necessary to cobble together the necessary ingredients. Hopefully, you have a friend with a spice rack, because you’re going to need (1) curry powder, (2) masala, (3) cumin, (4) turmeric, (5) red chili powder, (6) salt. You also need about 15 pieces of okra (go to West Side), peanut oil (vegetable is OK) and a cup or two of plain yogurt.

ComponentsCurry and masala are hard to find (although you can probably get them at West Side). I couldn’t find them at my neighborhood supermarket, so I took a nice 90-minute stroll to Jackson Heights and bought them at the Cash and Carry, which is probably the least organized supermarket in New York. But cheap! If you can find curry leaves, use them instead of the powder. I couldn’t lay hands on any, because my Hindi is… not so great. (I only know the word for “okra.” It’s “bhindi.”)

FryAnyway. Go home and get cooking. First up, chop the okra up into nice rings. Keep the crispy tail end, cut off the stub. Coat it with a pinch of cumin and a generous dollop of curry powder, toss it around. Then, churn up the yogurt in the cup until it’s lumpless, and add 1/2 teaspoon each of the masala, turmeric, salt, and chili powder. (I like the masala a lot, so I use a little more.) Set this aside.

Heat the peanut oil (medium heat); once it gets going, toss the okra in. Cover the skillet up, and let it sit for about 10 minutes, shaking it occasionally. The okra will crisp around the edges, but this only makes it better, so just chill out.

CoatUncover the pan, turn the heat down to low, and stir in the yogurt mixture. Let it cook on low for 5-10 more minutes, stirring ocasionally. If you’re using generic American yogurt (as I did, thanks, Dannon), you might want to drain some of the watery gunk out periodically.

Extract the dry okra from the pan and serve hot. Rice is I guess recommended. I served it with a little extra yogurt on the side, because I am a real wuss for spicy food. Delicious! Just like Mom never made.

Bigger, better pictures of the cooking process—and the mess that is Bwog’s kitchen—can be found here.

 

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11 Comments

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous This article is racist.

  • Goethe says:

    @Goethe Death to The West!

  • Yes sir says:

    @Yes sir I was the anonymous commenter who chided you for your ignorance of bhindi. Well done sir. Now, I would like to partake in some of its delicious goodness.

    PS you should have it w/ Mexican rice and (kidney) beans… which is the closest you can get to Indian basmati rice & Rajma.

    1. ZvS says:

      @ZvS As it happens, I bought a bag of basmati in J-Heights too, but then couldn’t be bothered to cook rice.

  • aww zach says:

    @aww zach bhindi ki subzi rules, but you don’t need to go all the way to jackson heights for masala…try the grocery stores in little India (around 28th and Lex). but now i wanna go to jackson heights, wahh sniff wahh :-( i’ve been homesick all week, all month, all year…but i’m not going to brood @ it ‘cos my mama makes the best bhindi

    1. ZvS says:

      @ZvS Jackson Heights is actually relatively close to my house — and a good bit closer than 28th. Plus it was nice out.

  • more says:

    @more articles like this please. if I am going to have a kitchen for the first time ever at columbia I need to know how to make more than easy mac

  • lucky you! says:

    @lucky you! my mama doesn’t use yogurt, but the bhindi you made looks yumm as well! i was in a miserable mood, but this post made me happy. thanks. back to the salt mines…

  • DHI says:

    @DHI YOUR HIGH ESTEEM FOR BINDHI IS CALLED INTO QUESTION BY FANS OF FRIED OKRA!

    1. touché says:

      @touché funny that, but bindhi is fried okra cooked w/ masala, and that makes all the difference

  • woah says:

    @woah i have that same cutting board. we must be related.

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