Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bibi's Bhendi and Saffron Orzo

After eating mostly junk this past weekend, I wanted something semi-healthy and spicy. I decided on Bibi’s Bhendi with some saffron orzo.

Bibi used to make bhendi for me when I was a child. I LOVED her bhendi – the blend of the odd-textured okra with the spices and tamarind was too good even for a young kid like myself, who did not care for green vegetables, to pass up. Every time I make this dish now, I think of Bibi cooking in the kitchen and me alongside as her sous chef. She encouraged me so much in the kitchen, it was awesome. Sometimes I think that I enjoy cooking so much because it gives me time to just remember her.

Bibi’s Bhendi (Indian Style Okra)

3 T chopped onions

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp turmeric

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Handful of chopped cilantro

Serrano chili, diced

3 tomatoes – chopped

1 lb okra, sliced in half-inch pieces (I use frozen cut okra – it’s easier and tastes just as good)

½ tsp tamarind paste (you can find this in any Asian supermarket or at Whole Foods)

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 T water

Heat oil in a medium-sized pot; add onions and sautee until soft. Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cilantro, and Serrano chili and simmer until tomatoes are soft. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Add okra, water, and tamarind, and simmer until okra is soft. Stir often. This should take about 10 minutes. Serve with the orzo (recipe below) or with basmati rice.

Saffron Orzo (adapted from Giada DeLaurentis)

5 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 pound dried orzo
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, bringing the stock to a simmer. Add the saffron, stir, and allow the saffron to bloom, about 5 minutes. Return the heat to medium and the stock to a boil, then add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain orzo and transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss to combine.

Yield: 6 servings

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oooohh....Bibi's Bhendi looks real good.
Look forward to additional recipes
from you - especially the tomato-egg curry one.