I hadn't used vendakkai for anything other than sambar. I just never knew how to cook it and make a curry. And all my friends would tell me that it is the easiest to make. I did finally attempt to make it sometime back and have gotten the hang of it. FINALLY!
As a child, I didn't eat lady's finger. I mean, I would eat it, but not EAT it. I didn't enjoy it. Why? Because my brother loved it. How can I relish what he loves? We are Boy and Girl, right? So we can't like the same things. And "Eww... excuse me. How can anything he likes be nice?" But then years later, when I completed class 12, I suddenly found myself spending a lot of time with my kindergarten and elementary school friend, Priya. She LOVED lady's finger. And she told me that she could eat any amount of curry just like that. To rid her of her addiction, her mother decided to give her so much that she'd get sick of it. She made curry with 2 kilos of the vegetable. And Priya ate it all with curd rice. I thought, "Wow... if Priya can eat so much at one go, it must be nice". (Now I understand that 2 kg of this vegetable doesn't yield much anyway, once it is cooked.) And I started relishing the vegetable too.
This dish, however, is not the curry I am talking about. That's a simple bhindi fry. This is a pachadi that I love to eat.
1/4 kilo lady's finger, cut into small pieces
1 cup Curd
1/4 cup Coconut, scraped
1-2 Red chillies
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
For the Tempering:
1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
8-10 Curry Leaves
Grind the coconut along with the chillies and salt. Add the curd to this mixture. Heat the oil in a small kadhai. Add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard begins to splutter, add the curry leaves. Add this to the curd mixture.
Heat the oil in a larger kadhai or pan. Deep fry the lady's finger pieces and drain them on a tissue.
Just before serving, add the lady's finger pieces to the curd mixture. That way, they will remain crunchy throughout the meal. This is a wonderful accompaniment to many rice dishes.
You can try to crisp the lady's finger pieces in an oven to eat this dish with far less guilt. But without guilt trips once in a while, what is life?