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
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