Sunday, March 1, 2009

bhindi and keema, twice

The co-op has been getting some good okra in recently, so I bought a few packages (over the past few weeks). Priya has two good bhindi recipes, so I made one on my own and one with her later.

The simplest bhindi recipe mostly consisted of okra and onions fried together, with a variety of spices and techniques. I was very careful to follow the recipe exactly, which I think kind of harmed me a little, because my instincts cried out for me to fry the onions much browner, but the recipe said, "until translucent..." When I spoke with Priya later, it turns out that her recipe language differs a little bit from my understanding, so it wasn't the recipe at fault. However, slightly not-as-cooked onions notwithstanding, I think it came out pretty good. On Priya's recommendation, I also made turkey keema (which fed me for a week afterward) and Christina showed me--finally--how to use her rice cooker. (After soaking the basmati for a half hour, you just treat it like regular rice--yeah, obvious, I know).

A while later, I was over Priya's and we decided to make the second, more complicated okra recipe: stuffed bhindi (stuffed with--what else?--onions). At first I struggled with properly stuffing them, but I swiftly got the hang of it. We burned the first batch a bit, but by the third batch they were coming out very good (and I even appreciated the crispy outside of the first batch). However, because the process involves steaming the okra in a covered pan before frying it, they come out a little slimy inside (the water is released before they are fried); I don't think there's any avoiding that, though.

Sadly, the kaddu (pumpkin) we made on the side somehow came out weirdly grainy and pasty. It tasted fine--it was better than the time I made it for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, when it came out too bitter due to excess fenugreek seeds--but the texture...the texture! No idea why it was off... maybe it was an older squash?

Priya thawed out some of her precious chicken keema store from when her mom came up and we ate that... It's so different from the keema I make, much wetter, studded with peas, no turmeric, made with a masala... delicious!

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