Thursday, February 15, 2018



Lady's Fingers, (more commonly called okra in the United States) is a popular vegetable all over India. This is known as Bhindi in Hindi. Elsewhere in this  blog, you will find lady's fingers recipes such as Bhindi Sambhariya from Gujarat, Bhenda Sagle made by us Konkanis from Karnataka, and Bhindi Masala done in the Punjabi style.

Today's recipe is from the South Indian state of Tamilnadu and is called Vendakkai Puli Kuzhambu after the main ingredients, Lady's Fingers ( "Vendakkai" in Tamil) and Tamarind (" Puli " in Tamil.) This recipe has been adapted from Vendakkai Puli Kulambu in the popular blog, Rak's Kitchen.

For best results, in making this dish please make sure the lady's fingers used are tender.
We use small onions which are popularly called "sambar onions."
Although the original recipe calls for the use of sesame oil, I have used regular cooking oil.

  • Lady's Fingers, 200 gms
  • Tamarind, 1 tsp, tightly packed
  • MTR Sambar Powder, 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Garlic, 3 cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
To Saute in Oil and Grind:
  • Small Onions, 12
  • Medium- Sized Tomatoes, 2
  • Coconut Gratings, 1/2 cup
To Temper:
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig
  • Oil, 1 tbsp

Wash the tender lady's fingers, pat them dry and snip off both the ends
Cut the lady's fingers into 1 " pieces and keep aside
Peel the small onions, roughly chop the tomatoes and slice the garlic pods. Keep aside.
Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup of hot water for 30 minutes
Add another 1/2 cup of water and extract the tamarind juice. Keep aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a thick-bottomed kadhai and when it gets hot add the lady's fingers and shallow fry them on medium flame, stirring from time to time till they lose their stickiness and get cooked. Keep aside.
In the same kadhai, add oil if required and fry the small onions till they become a light pink and are transparent
Next add the chopped tomatoes and fry them till they turn soft
Add the coconut gratings and fry for 1 minute
Transfer the sauteed onions, tomatoes and coconut mixture to a plate and allow it to cool
Once it is cool, grind the above to a fine paste in a mixer jar adding a little water if required
Keep aside
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the kadhai and when it gets hot add the mustard seeds, when they splutter add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves and saute for a few seconds
Now add the sliced garlic and saute till it gives off a good aroma
To this add the sauteed lady's fingers, the tamarind extract, salt to taste and another 1 and 1/2 cups of water
Add turmeric powder and sambar powder. Mix well and bring it to a boil
Let it then simmer for 8-10 minutes till the raw smell of the tamarind goes
To this add the ground onion-tomato coconut paste and again bring it to a boil (about 3 minutes) till the gravy thickens
Serve hot with rice

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