Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bhindi (Okra)

Another simple recipe for an achi gori bivi, is Bhindi (Okra).  Nothing that I would have ever made for myself under the typical American diet.  In fact, I am pretty sure that I had never even eaten it prior to meeting my husband, let alone even heard of it living in Chicago!  This slimy green vegetable is AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS. Once my mother-in-law made it for me, I was hooked.

Start by cutting the caps and tails off of a pound of fresh okra.  You can use frozen okra, but I find it is too mushy.  Fresh okra maintains the firmness of dish without it feeling like you are eating slime.

Your okra should look something like this.

Then chop up a small onion (or half onion if you're using large mega food grocery store onions) and add about a quarter to a half cup of oil in your pot.  Cook the onions until they are soft.

You don't have to add a tomato, but I like to add a chopped tomato.  Add half a teaspoon of tumeric powder and a teaspoon of red chilli powder.  Add almost a tablespoon of salt.  Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.

You'll notice that after 20 minutes it will become liquidy, and you'll be like, "let's boil out all that water!"  You can (and should until it looks like the above picture), but notice that when you turn off the heat, it will thicken.

By the end, it should look like the picture below when stirred.

 And that's it!!!  Can you believe it?  Easiest dish ever.  You COULD serve this as a side dish at a davat ("invitation" -- when you have guests over) or just eat it yourself for lunch.

*Note:  Be careful not to stir the okra too much or it will become slimy and mushy.  Try to use a spoon gently while stirring.

Enjoy with naan or paratha.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gobhi Aloo (Cauliflower & Potato) Recipe

Gobhi Aloo (Cauliflower & Potato) is a very popular and easy to make homemade dish that every achi bivi should have up her sleeve.  It's a great side dish for davats ("invitations" -- when you are having guests over).  Most American cauliflower dishes tend to be pretty bland, but as with most Pakistani food, gobhi aloo is not bland in the LEAST.

First you finely cut your small onion (we're talking local grocery store small, not food chain mega sizes).  Put it in a medium sized pot and add about a half cup of vegetable/canola oil.  Cook the onions in the oil on medium/high heat until they are soft.  Add about a tablepoon of cumin seeds and cook for a minute or so.

I always do my prep work first.  This saves me time so I don't have to look at the recipe and realize in a panic that I've forgotten to peel the potatoes or chop up some tomatoes or onions...  Above is about 2-3 white potatoes (chopped in ~1-inch pieces), a head of cauliflower (broken into flowerettes and sliced), and 2-3 chopped roma tomatoes.  If you are fast and want to do it while your onions are cooking, go for it!

Add the cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, about a tablespoon of red chili pepper flakes, and about a tablespoon of salt.  Add a half cup of water and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low and cook for at least 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Chop up about an inch of ginger and thinly slice 2 green chillis and add to the top of the dish for garnish.  You should also add about 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro leaves -- I didn't have any fresh, so I didn't add it this time!

 And you are finished!!!

 It is a bit spicy and delicious.  If you're new to the achi gori bivi life, don't put so many green chillis.  Eat with naan or paratha.  Enjoy! :)