Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vendakkai (Bhindi / Okra) with Nalla Karam Podi

My wonderful friend, Anu, introduced me to nalla karam podi a few years ago.  Her mom makes the best avakkai.  She makes it fresh every summer and will save some for all of us.  Whoever goes to India in summer will bring it back and mail it to the rest of us.  Anu mailed me nalla karam podi with the avakkai once.  I would secretly indulge in steaming hot rice mixed with this spicy powder and a little bit of sesame oil for lunch some days.

This time when I went to India, my mom’s friend was visiting from Hyderabad and she brought back nalla karam podi.  She actually brought back so many packets that I though I should find other uses for it.  So I decided to try it as a masala for my dry subzis (vegetable dishes).

Okra with nalla karam podi

I don’t know how to make this spice mix from scratch, but there are several recipes on other food blogs.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. okra, washed and cut into small rounds
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp. nalla karam podi

Here is how I made it:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan.  Add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  2. When the mustard seeds sputter, add the onions and fry till they turn slightly brown.
  3. Add the cut okra, salt, and turmeric powder.  Mix well.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, till the okra is almost cooked – about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the nalla karam podi, and toss to coat the okra well.  Cook on medium heat for five more minutes.

Serve with rotis, rice, and dal or rasam.

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